City Organizer: Annie Bolitho
Walk Leader: Kath Walters, writer and journalist with a speciality in urban design
Text by: Kath Walters
Photographs by: Kath Walters
Amess St Promenade was a free Jane’s Walk event in which Amess Street residents promenaded along the street in a nod to our rich Italian heritage.
Why a promenade
Amess Street has a rich heritage. Carlton is built on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people. By the 1950s and 1960s, the suburb became known as ‘Little Italy’. Until 1971, the Italian population of North Carlton was 28.5%. Today it is around 4%. The lovely Italian tradition of la passeggiata inspired this event. It’s a simple way for us to meet our neighbours and feel a little more at home in our community.
“As dusk softens in Italy, something in the air tugs people from their homes and workplaces for one of the enduring traditions of Italian life: la passeggiata (the promenade). The main purpose of this evening promenade is to see and be seen (vedere e farsi vedere).” (Source: Fordor’s Travel)
How we promenaded
It was easy. On Saturday 5 May at 5 pm we simply came out our front doors and went for a walk on Amess Street. As we walked slowly, enjoying the sights and sounds of this remarkable street, we met neighbours and shared stories about our street and its history.
About 14 people came out onto the street. They were current residents, friends of residents and interested folks. It was a beautiful, balmy autumn evening.
Why I organised this event
I moved to Amess Street two years ago. I am a writer and I love stuff that makes living in the city more fun like Jane’s Walk. I wanted to meet my neighbours, and create a very simple event.
What I learned
I learned a lot about the intimate history of the street, who lived where, why and for how long. I learned that one house used to be a dance hall, and had since been bought by one child of a couple who met there. I discovered that one of Melbourne’s iconic Italian restaurants, Enoteca, started in my street, and its old facade remains. I was invited to snip off the overhanging leaves of a bay leaf tree by the residents. One of my friends met up with an old acquaintance who she hadn’t seen for years and now plans to meet for coffee. It was a great evening. All in all about an hour or so of pleasant walking and chatting.