These days Strathmore is home to eight-and-a-half thousand friendly locals, a concept that – if told to the area’s first landowners in the 1840s – would have likely confounded them greatly. Formerly known as North Essendon, it wasn’t until 1936 that the land now known as Strathmore was given its current name. While relatively unknown across Melbourne – despite being bigger than neighbouring (and better known) suburbs Essendon and Pascoe Vale – the suburb is well-loved by its residents for its cafes, parks and refined demeanour.
Before you start exploring Strathmore, fill up at The Corner Cafe on Woodland Street, just across the way from Strathmore Train Station. Open seven days a week (the 7am opening time on weekdays makes it very popular with local commuters), their all-day menu is always a hit – picture the Woodland Stack (potato rosti topped with wilted baby spinach, double smoked bacon, haloumi, tomato and avo salsa and a poached egg!) or freekeh salad – and the coffee is a sure-fire winner. If the feeling strikes, you can also grab a beer or wine to wash down a hearty lunch.
Hero image credit: Adam Elwood heraldsun.com.au
Image credit: cornercafe.net.au
Once you’ve loaded up, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Strathmore is Napier Park. In 1926 the ten-acre block was gifted to the public by resident Thomas Napier, who included in the terms a clause stating that none of the original vegetation was to be destroyed and the area would be left to exist in its natural, woodland state. It makes Napier Park a beautiful, natural destination for families, walkers, joggers and picnickers. Resting under the River Red Gums, the city hustle and bustle seems a million miles away.
Another great spot in Strathmore to spend some time – especially if you have a dog who needs a run around – is the brand-spanking new Alf Pearce Dog Park. Located just south of the Tullamarine Freeway (if you’re driving out of the city, it’s opposite Essendon DFO but accessible via Bulla Road), your fur baby will have the time of its life. Having opened only in July 2017, the design features gravel and rocky areas, an agility area for training, bushland planting for a different type of doggy exploring, and even a time out for those older (or smaller) dogs. For humans, there’s plenty of seating and also a toddler playspace with basketball half court.
At the end of the day, or if you like to do your exploring after the sun goes down, stop in at The Pizza Bar Strathmore. Open until 10pm Tuesday–Sunday, you’ll settle in with some of the best pizza, pasta and one of the best schnitzel burgers you’ll have this side of the city centre. Wash it down with an icy beverage and serve with friends and family, or make it an exclusive suburban dinner date with that special someone. Whoever you’re there with, be prepared to finish your meal by enjoying one of their famous cannoli (or three).