Melbourne’s Yarra River cuts through the city and its surrounds offering a tranquil backdrop against the bustle of the city. Stretching for more than 242km from Port Phillip Bay, it snakes its way up through to Mount Baw Baw in the state’s northeast. Like many cities built on the banks of a river the Yarra is the thriving lifeblood of this ever-changing city, yet it’s inadvertently created a culture of snobbery dependent on what side of the river you reside.
The river itself has apparently long been regarded by psychological barrier for Melburnians living south of the river and as such has created a culture whereby those on the southside are adamant to steer clear of the northside. They dare not to cross the river and do only for necessity (such as getting to the airport).
It’s an “us” versus “them” mentality that has lasted for generations. However, I think that as time goes on, younger Melburnians are tossing such notions out the window with the easy accessibility of the city. There is more to this city than the surrounding proximity of your own home and getting to places to see and be seen is not quite the chore people used to make it out to be.
This northside/southside culture has become so ridiculous that I have heard cases whereby people vehemently refuse to cross the river to even see friends or family who have moved to the other side. The other side… it almost sounds like the Twilight Zone. Yet, it’s so true that people from the southside will scoff at anyone who suggests they try something north of the river. Oddly enough, I have never heard anyone from the northside oppose having to cross the river.
I can’t help but feel that these very people are stuck in a distorted reality and are truly missing out on what is on offer across the city, both southside and northside. In the north there is an abundance of restaurants and cafes, galleries (including the famous art movement Heidelberg School) and the gateway to the Yarra Valley and the snowfields. While in the south, there are restaurants, galleries, the beaches and more.
There is so much on offer that those who refuse to cross the Yarra are truly missing out. I suppose that it is really their loss. By choosing to be ensconced in their own little world south of the Yarra, then that’s their choice. But if that means missing out on experiencing all that the city has to offer, then you have to feel a little sad for them. Don’t you?