This little-known suburb in Melbourne’s north has a full range of attractions, from historic sites to relaxing pockets of nature.
It was once home to Ford Australia’s Broadmeadows assembly plant, but there’s more to Campbellfield, located 16km north of the Melbourne CBD. Tour it and you’ll discover a suburb that has a mix of residential streets, business parks and industrial areas spread out on either side of Sydney Road.
One of Campbellfield’s major attractions is Scots Church. It opened in 1842 on a parcel of land that was a gift from Neil Campbell, who’d arrived in the area from the Isle of Mull. Its graveyard, established two years later, was the final resting place for many of the district’s first Scottish settlers. The bluestone structure on the current site — Victoria’s oldest church — was built in 1855 and is now heritage listed.
Those who love the outdoors should head to either edge of Campbellfield. To the east of Sydney Road is Merri Creek Parklands. The creek stretches through the northern suburbs and acts as a corridor for the preservation of native plants and wildlife. At all times of the day, you’ll find locals enjoying its beauty, jogging along its banks or taking their dogs for a walk. Across Sydney Road and on the border of Broadmeadows is Jack Roper Reserve. At its heart is a lake, where people often fish or observe the water birds that call it home. You’ll also find an excellent playground, soccer field, barbecue areas and trails for walking and cycling that connect into Moreland and to the Western Ring Road bike path.
All that outdoor activity can spark an appetite, so head to one of Campbellfield’s many dining options to sort out hunger pangs. Grab some takeaway at Burgies and head to the park. The Flaming Burgie has beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fresh chilli salsa and jalapenos on a bun, but there’s also chicken, lamb and veggie burgers available, along with waffle fries, chips and thick shakes.
The Pizza & Grill Co is a relaxed spot with sport on the big screens, a selection of beers on tap and variety of dishes, including wings, steak, burgers, Italian classics and wood-fired pizza. Another type of pizza is served at Sehzade. Pide is the Middle Eastern version, its thin bases topped with lamb and spices or folded around egg and Turkish cheese. You can also choose a banquet menu, kebabs or, earlier in the day, a traditional and tasty Turkish breakfast.
Got a hankering for something sweet? Dr Donuts offers up brioche-style puffs of deliciousness filled with Nutella, jam and custard, or simply dunked in cinnamon sugar. There’s also churros, for those who like their donuts dipped in chocolate sauce.
Campbellfield has two major shopping areas: the Campbellfield Plaza on Sydney Road, and a strip of shops on Barry Road called Fordgate. Stop by Balci Sweets for traditional Turkish treats like baklava and lokmas (sweet fried dough soaked in syrup). Guys wanting to update their look should head to Menswear Warehouse on Mahoneys Road, where you can pick up designer brands — Levis, Awearness by Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein — at a fraction of the normal retail price. There’s also a big and tall section, as well as the option to rent a tuxedo.