Melbourne’s median house price hits record $1 million. Here’s what you can buy for that


The median house price in Melbourne has just has passed the $1 million mark for the first time, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

REIV’s quarterly report for March showed the median price for a house in metropolitan Melbourne jumped by 8.8 per cent, to $1,004,500.

It was the biggest quarterly increase in the median house price since December 2009.

REIV president Leah Calnan said the level of buyer interest across Victoria was unprecedented, following the lifting of restrictions that saw thousands of auctions cancelled in 2020.

“House prices have been boosted by incentives for first home buyers, mortgage repayment holidays, and low interest rates.”

There was also growth in regional Victoria, where the median house price passed $500,000 for the first time — a growth of 12.3 per cent over the last 12 months.

Cassandra Huett and her partner were among thousands of people who tried and failed to break into Melbourne’s housing market in 2020.

Cassandra and her partner rented a one-bedroom apartment for seven years while saving for a deposit.

They were on the verge of buying an apartment in Hawthorn last year when the pandemic hit.

When they resumed their search for a property, they found prices had escalated beyond their reach.

“I like apartment living, but I don’t want to spend my whole life in an apartment.”

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week urged the Victorian government to swap stamp duty for land tax to reduce some of the burden on first-time buyers.

Cassandra and her partner have since bought a property in Launceston and are relocating to Tasmania.

“If we had a house here we would look to stay here.”

A million dollar house isn’t what it used to be when the parents of today’s first-time buyers were entering the market, but it’s still noting to be sniffed at.

These houses are all listed for sale at just under $1 million but, as anyone who’s been to an auction in Melbourne will tell you, that doesn’t mean that’s what they’ll end up selling for. 

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms: 1

Suburb median price: $1.12 million

Quarterly price change: -11.2%

This house in Kensington, in Melbourne’s inner-west, is fairly typical of what you’d get in the inner suburbs for $1 million. 

With just two bedrooms and one bathroom, it’s not exactly palatial, but its proximity to the city makes it desirable for many buyers.

Kensington was one of the few suburbs where the median price fell in the March quarter, down 11.2 per cent.

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 2

Suburb median house price: $960,000

Quarterly price change: +12.3%

If space is what you’re looking for, this five bedroom house in Sandhurst, in Melbourne’s outer south-east, sits on a 659 square metre block, with a landscaped garden.

The median property price rose 12.3 per cent in Sandhurst over March, but hasn’t yet tipped into the $1 million range.

Bedrooms: 2

Bathrooms:2

Suburb median price: $1.41 million

Quarterly price change: -3.6%

Richmond was another inner city suburb where the median house price fell in March, but not to the same extent as Kensington.

Unit prices, however, rose by 7.5 per cent in Richmond, which was above the average for metropolitan Melbourne of 4.8 per cent.

The asking price for this two bedroom, two bathroom unit is around $1 million, putting more than $300,000 above the median unit price for the suburb.

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2

Suburb median price: $555,000

Quarterly price change: +5.2%

Darley is a suburb of Bacchus Marsh, about 50km north-west of Melbourne’s CBD.

It’s technically in regional Victoria, where the median house price grew by 4.1% in March.

This property boasts four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and some stunning views of the Lerderderg State Park.

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How AFL coaches deal with constant losing as North Melbourne’s David Noble prepares to take on Geelong Cats


Shaw said he sometimes tried to surprise opponents with unorthodox positions, for instance. “You can’t do that now because of 6-6-6,” he said. “And you can’t just keep changing things around without everyone losing confidence in the direction you’re taking.

“All you can do is keep testing them out, maybe find something that gels. You’ve got to be honest and upfront with them. And the players have to be honest with themselves. Are they that bad, or are they making excuses in the back of their heads?”

Denis Pagan in his Carlton days.Credit:Vince Caligiuri

Schwab said a proper understanding of your side’s capabilities mattered. “Hard as it is, you’ve got to be realistic,” he said. “Do we expect North to beat Geelong? Well, no. Then it’s a matter of how you monitor losses. Is it a really bad loss, or did we learn a bit?

Schwab noted that Noble was new to coaching, but steeped in the game. That would help. So would his expertise as a list-builder.

“You know there are a lot of holes to fill. That can become overwhelming,” he said. “You start to think you’ve got so many gaps. But you’re never going to fill them all straight away. You’ve got to be careful you don’t let it drown you.”

Schwab said it was only natural for self-doubt to creep in. “You start to think, is the game plan right?” he said. “He won’t worry about the players, because he can’t, because that’s his list for the year. He’ll be thinking about how do we want to play? What’s best in the long term?”

Peter Schwab is surrounded by the media when coaching Hawthorn.

Peter Schwab is surrounded by the media when coaching Hawthorn.
Credit:Vince Caligiuri

Shaw and Pagan both remember how vulnerable they felt. “Have a look at how close a good coach like Damien Hardwick was to getting the flick,” Shaw said. “He could have been one board member, or one ordinary administrator, one hour away from getting the sack. He would never have got the opportunity to do what he’s done.”

Pagan agreed. “You’ve got to have strong leadership, and I hope the people who are leading North understand that,” he said. “Most board members don’t really have an understanding of what goes on.”

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In hard times, especially, everyone becomes an expert. “It’s like real estate [Pagan’s job now]. You give a price to the vendor. You sell,” he said. “Five minutes later, someone says you should have gone to auction, you should have sold before auction, you should have got $500,000 more. The same thing happens in football.”

Pagan said Noble had to trust himself. “You can do all these things and it will still be mission impossible,” he said. “But when you’re an AFL coach, that’s what you’ve got to do. Not many people will understand that. You’ve got to please yourself. That’s what I did at Carlton.”

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Melbourne’s Must Eats



Supernormal

Organic bone broth ramen with chicken, soy egg & dumplings, plus an Asahi. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Fancy Hank’s

Your choice of BBQ sandwich served with fries, plus beer, wine or cider. Wed to Fri from 12pm.

Farmer’s Daughters

Gourmet Gippsland tasting platter, plus juice and a housemade pastry. Weekdays 11.30am-2.30pm.

Magic Mountain Saloon

Chicken potato massaman curry, papaya salad and choice of IPA or wine. Wed to Sat, 12pm-3pm.

Hemingway’s Wine Room

Coq au vin with a twist served alongside a glass of Beaujolais. Enjoy Tue to Fri, 12pm-3pm.

Asado

A 200g steak of the day with patatas bravas, gourmet salad and beer or wine. Tue to Fri, 12pm-3pm.

Calia

Luxe aburi salmon or crispy pork rice bowl with a glass of Chandon sparkling. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Cumulus Inc

Enjoy black cabbage and feta fataya, pumpkin salad and a glass of white wine. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

San Telmo Restaurant

Enjoy an Argentinian steak sandwich or chorizo roll, empanada and a beer. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Butchers Diner

Grab a gourmet bacon cheeseburger, hand cut chips and local lager. Weekdays 11:30am-3:30pm.

Rooftop Bar

Fried green tomato sourdough sandwich with a mezcal, grapefruit & rhubarb paloma. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Daughter in Law

Order a tasting plate of four popular dishes, sides and a glass of cooling cava. From 12pm-2.30pm.

Gradi

Visit Italy with a pizza or pasta main and house wine, beer or soft drink. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Greta Melbourne

Pesto, mozarella and beef cheek baguette with red, white or sparkling. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Flovie

Best-selling fondue triple cheeseburger with a beer, wine or cocktail. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Maverick

Sage gnocchi with brown butter, plus a glass of red, white or sparkling. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Protagonist

Two serves of pork belly bao, slaw and sriracha, with two glasses of house wine. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Ging Thai

Enjoy Modern Thai food with house wine, beer or soft drink on arrival. Wed to Fri, 12pm-2:30pm.

Gai Wong

Malaysian share plates served with chicken rice and chilli garlic sauce. Weekdays 11:30am-2:30pm.

Niubi

Enjoy a rotating lunch special from a list of fusion faves with a drink. Weekdays 11:30am-3pm.

Neo Lemonade

Blue eye with summer corn, veg and wild rice. Served with a cocktail or mocktail. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Palermo

Choose two courses from a list of foodie faves and a famous alfajor to finish. Tue to Fri, 12pm-3pm.

Musou

Create a 6 ingredient mala stir fry from the menu, plus plum juice and rice. Weekdays 11am-3pm.

Ca de Vin

Dine on pizza, a glass of house wine and donuts in this iconic laneway spot. Weekdays, 12pm-2pm.

Pepe’s Italian & Liquor

A pasta main and Aperol spritz followed by a refreshing Bocca gelato. Weekdays 12pm-2pm.

Oriental Tea House

Chilli wagyu dumplings, pork and chive dumplings and a Moon Dog Pale Ale. Tue to Fri 2pm-3pm.

Taxi Kitchen

A steamy serve of chef’s selection dumplings with a refreshing pot of Kirin. Wed to Sun, 12pm-3pm.

The French Brasserie

Signature coq au vin with a glass of red in Melbourne’s Paris end. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

The George On Collins

BBQ chicken Vietnamese rolls and a mini gin sour, made with pineapple & mint. Tue to Fri, 12pm-3pm.

JiYu Thai Hot Pot

Satay roti pancake, veg curry, Thai milk tea and signature pudding. Weekdays 11.30am-2.30pm.

Soul Soul Cafe

Try a high-end wagyu beef burger or soft shell crab slider with an avo smoothie. Weekdays 12pm-2pm.

Akaiito Restaurant

Order nigiri, toothfish or sashimi meal sets with a house beer or wine. Weekdays 11.30am-3pm.

The Moat

King prawn pappardelle or rustic lasagne with local, small batch wine. Tue to Fri, 12pm-3pm.

The Quarter

A triple serve of bao, housemade beetroot hommus and a new take on a Mojito. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Caffé E Torta

Enjoy tagliatelle bolognese ragu, your choice of house wine and a coffee. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Unabara Lobster and Oyster Bar

Deluxe lobster ramen with trimmings plus a grapefruit and lime mocktail. Wed to Sun, 11:30am-2pm.

The Olive Jar Cafe

Enjoy a hearty main of the day with a glass of house Cab Sav. Thu to Sun, 12:30pm-3pm.

La Camera

Thin crust pizza, decadent Venetian-style tiramisu and coffee to finish. Wed to Sun, 12pm-3pm.

+39 Pizzeria

Grab any pizza or main with a soft drink, pinot grigio, shiraz or Peroni. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Mörk Chocolate Brew House

Choc ganache & fennel tart plus a layered chocolate drink topped with custard. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Royal St Collins

Enjoy a hearty salad from the seasonal range, with wine and tea or coffee. Weekdays 11.30am-3pm.

Cargo

Enjoy unlimited tacos and tap beer for 60 minutes. Vegos welcome! Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Dohtonbori

Visit Japan with fresh seafood okonimiyaki and a juicy apple mojito cocktail. Weekdays 12-3pm.

BangPop

Order veg, pork or chicken pad thai with Fat Boy lager or house wine. Mon to Thu, 12pm-3pm.

Din Tai Fung

Eight xiaolongbao plus shrimp & pork wonton noodles with a soft drink. Weekdays 11.30am-2pm.

Hawker Chan

Dine with a mate and score two deluxe duck dishes and traditional drinks. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

Miyako Japanese Cuisine and Teppanyaki

Premium bento (sashimi, tempura, meat and sides) plus house wine & dessert. Weekdays 12pm-2.30pm.

Da Guido 365

Bruschetta, your choice of pappardelle, homemade bread and chianti. Weekdays 11:30am-2.30pm.

Bar Carlo

Enjoy arancini, hearty panino, wine of your choice and coffee to finish. Wed to Fri, 12pm-3pm.

Ippudo QV

Choose from the world famous ramen menu, plus a side dish and a drink. Weekdays 12pm-2.30pm.

Chilangos Mexican Cantina

Feast on chili con carne, nachos and elotes then finish with choc churros. Weekdays 12pm-3pm.

ShanDong MaMa Dumplings

Visit for a huge serve of dumplings, aged black vinegar salad and a beer. Weekdays 11.30am-2.30pm.

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Melbourne’s property boom spreading to Sunshine, Tootgarook and Launching Place


Melbourne’s property market boom is now spreading to once affordable outer suburbs.

Property sales are surging in Melbourne’s west with the prices of units in Sunshine soaring 47 per cent, making the median price $570,000.

People are also flocking to fringe suburbs to secure more land.

Prices in Launching Place, which is 54 kilometres east of Melbourne’s CBD, have jumped 21 per cent.

Suburbs on the Mornington Peninsula also continue to surge with Crib Point recording a 17 per cent increase and Tootgarook with a 19 per cent increase.

Bittern has seen a 14 per cent increase in property prices and Capel Sound is at 13 per cent more.

In the southeast, Lynbrook and Aintree have had a 13 per cent and 15 per cent price increase respectively and Wallan is a star performer in the north at 15 per cent.

“Instead of maybe two or three people at an auction bidding, at this stage at many of the properties that we’re seeing, we’re having five, six, seven people bidding,” Leah Calnan from REIV told 7NEWS.

With home sales going well above reserve week after week, claims of underquoting continue.

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How the women of Melbourne’s Metropolitan Sewerage Farm helped pioneer ladies footy in the ’50s


When Werribee took to the field against the Metropolitan Sewerage Farm in 1950, a huge crowd gathered to see something few Victorians had seen before — two women’s Aussie Rules teams squaring off against each other. 

More than 70 years later, Werribee captain Monica Carlton remembers the excitement in the Chirnside Park rooms that Sunday.

“You got changed and all of a sudden you realise that you’ve got to run out in front of all these people,” Mrs Carlton said.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking.”

The crowd was gathered around the oval at least three people deep.

“The noise was unbelievable, it was fantastic,” Mrs Carlton said.

Two women in their 80s standing on a suburban street with a footpath on one side and paddocks on the other
Lifelong friends Monica Carlton and Margaret Hassett.(

ABC News: Matilda Marozzi

)

The women had learnt their craft playing with their brothers in the paddocks around Werribee on weekends — and some of them were talented footballers.

“Monica was best and fairest that day,” Mrs Hassett said.

Sewage farm fields a team

Researcher Monika Schott came across these early women’s Aussie Rules matches when she was investigating the “sewage ghost town” just outside of Werribee.

The old Metropolitan Sewerage Farm is now known as the Western Treatment Plant.

A woman in an orange jumper stands in front of a paddock. She has curly hair and black glasses.
Monika Schott was researching the sewage farm when she discovered it had a women’s footy team in the ’50s.(

ABC News: Matilda Marozzi

)

“These ghost towns are essentially communities that have developed around the industry of sewage treatment,” Dr Schott told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“In the 1950s that was probably the boom time for the Metropolitan Sewerage Farm, where the population reached about 500.”

Ladies footy a great fundraiser

The first women’s match came about when the Werribee hospital needed money — Monica Carlton wanted to help.

“It turned out far better than we expected.”

They put a notice in the local Werribee Banner newspaper calling for ladies to volunteer for a footy match and were overwhelmed with applications.

Two teams were recruited and well-known local footballer Alan “Apples” Preston volunteered to coach the teams.

They started training two nights a week at Chirnside Park.

“They had pie nights after training, but they had to supply their own pie and soft drink,” Dr Schott said.

A group of young women gathered around a table with a middle aged man in a football club room
The women enjoying a pie night with VFL player Charlie Sutton in the Chirnside Park clubrooms, 1950.(

Supplied: Monika Schott

)

After gathering sponsors and organising a cake stall, the match raised £300 for the hospital — an impressive sum considering they only charged two shillings for entry.

“Not one single person said, ‘That’s not nice, ladies playing football’,” Mrs Hassett said.

“They were all with us and helped us along the way. It was great.”

The game proved so successful that they continued to play until 1954, raising money for the Royal Children’s Hospital.

“They were asked to play a charity game at the Geelong Football Club where Bob Davis was involved, and a game at Footscray Oval umpired by Jack ‘Chooka’ Howell.”

A black and white photo of a group of young women gathered around a cast iron hospital bed with a small child in it
Some of the players visiting the Royal Children’s Hospital after donating money raised from their games.(

Supplied: Monika Schott

)

Marriage puts an end to footy

When Mrs Carlton and Mrs Hassett each became engaged to marry, they stopped organising and playing in the women’s charity matches.

“No-one put their hand up to take it on after us,” Mrs Hassett said.

While they might have been pioneers of the game, they did not think what they were doing was radical.

“The ladies’ football was the best thing you could think of to raise awareness,” Mrs Hassett said.

Ahead of this Saturday’s AFLW Grand Final, Mrs Hassett and Mrs Carlton are surprised how well the professional women’s game has done.

“I didn’t think AFLW would last very long,” Mrs Carlton said.

While neither of them would have volunteered to play in the rough-and-tumble game women play today, both look back fondly on their time as footballers.

“We loved it. We love football,” Mrs Hassett said.

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Man facing more than 40 charges over alleged crime rampage in Melbourne’s north


A man who allegedly stabbed another man, pulled a knife on police, stole a patrol car and drove dangerously during a pursuit in Melbourne’s north has been remanded in custody.

Elias Natano, 27, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today charged with more than 40 offences, including attempted murder, after Saturday’s alleged rampage.

Mr Natano’s lawyer, Chen Yang, told the court that his client was withdrawing from drugs and alcohol and needed to be assessed by a medical professional.

“There are some mental health issues that need to be explored — this is the first time in custody for Mr Natano,” he said.

Police said the alleged rampage began after two men got into a fight at Kalkallo, north of Melbourne, about 10:00pm on Saturday.

A 26-year-old man was stabbed and hit by a car, causing him to suffer life-threatening injuries.

He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and underwent surgery on Sunday.

Police said the man then fled the scene and returned to his Mickleham home to find officers waiting for him.

“He left the scene very quickly with police in pursuit,” Superintendent Nigel Howard said on Sunday.

Police alleged Mr Natano lost control of his car while travelling along Mickleham Road and crashed into the wire barriers.

It was on the roadside that police alleged he took out a knife and stole the highway patrol car that had been chasing him.

The officers drew their guns but did not fire any shots.

Police say Mr Natano then crashed the police car into three other vehicles in Campbellfield and waved a knife at members of the public before he was eventually arrested.

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Daisy Pearce injured in Melbourne’s AFLW win over Brisbane as Kangaroos qualify for finals



Melbourne will be anxiously awaiting an update on Daisy Pearce’s fitness ahead of the AFLW finals after the Demons captain suffered a knee injury in her side’s two-point win over Brisbane.

Meanwhile, the six finals teams are locked in after North Melbourne sealed its spot with a gritty one-point victory over Fremantle.

Pearce was injured when she was tackled while attempting to kick a goal in the opening two minutes of Saturday afternoon’s match at Casey Fields, and immediately headed down to the rooms.

The 32-year-old was ruled out of the remainder of the match with “knee soreness”, leaving the Demons a player down.

From there, Brisbane took the ascendancy before Melbourne mounted a brave fightback to secure a 6.2 (38) to 6.0 (36) victory and a home qualifying final.

The match was a missed opportunity for the Lions, who kicked out to a 17-point lead in the third quarter but let the match — and with it their shot at top spot on the ladder — slip in the final term.

Young tall Eden Zanker dominated for the Demons with 25 disposals and Shelley Scott kicked three goals, while Brisbane’s Ally Anderson (22 disposals) continued her excellent season and Lions forward Dakota Davidson booted two goals.

Lions sensation Courtney Hodder made her mark when she burned off her opponent, kicked the ball up to herself and steered through a goal on the run to give Brisbane some breathing space in the second term.

Brisbane looked in control when Lauren Arnell extended their lead to 17 points in the third term, before Scott’s third kept the Demons within touching distance at the final change.

Alyssa Bannan cut the deficit to five points with a long-range goal early in the final term, while Tyla Hanks put Melbourne in front barely a minute later.

Brisbane’s Greta Bodey received a free kick on the paint of 50-metre arc and lined up after the siren to win the match, but her shot fell short.

Roos through to finals

North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker said the Kangaroos’ thrilling one-point win over Fremantle was “a great dress rehearsal” for their upcoming finals campaign.

The Kangaroos had to dig deep to overcome the Dockers at Arden Street Oval on Saturday afternoon, with Daisy Bateman’s late goal seeing them snatch a 4.6 (30) to 4.5 (29) win and a finals spot.

The result crushed Carlton’s faint finals hopes and means the top six — Brisbane, Collingwood, Adelaide, Fremantle, North Melbourne and Melbourne — is locked in, although their positions can change.

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“It’s a great dress rehearsal for us, to come up against a team that have been a really formidable force for a number of years now,” Crocker said.

“They play a really high-pressure game of football which is going to be really similar to finals football.

“For our girls to have to be able to absorb it and go again, I think it’s a really good dress rehearsal for finals.”

Jasmine Garner starred for the Kangaroos with 25 disposals and a goal, while skipper Emma Kearney (24 touches) and ball magnet Ashleigh Riddell (33 disposals) were also excellent.

Kiara Bowers (19 disposals) and Steph Cain (15 touches) were busy for the Dockers.

Cats hand Suns wooden spoon

Geelong have avoided the ignominy of a winless AFLW season, instead inflicting that fate on Gold Coast with a 17-point win over the Suns in their wooden spoon playoff in Carrara.

The Cats made the most of a three-goal first term on Saturday to secure a 6.5 (41) to 3.6 (24) win and finish the year with a 1-8 record for 2021.

Defeat for the Suns however means they end the season bottom of the ladder with an 0-9 record in a year where they’ve made history for all the wrong reasons.

The Suns not only posted the lowest score in AFLW history this season, they also set a new mark for the heaviest defeat in the competition’s history.

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Veteran Richelle Cranston scored two goals for the Cats, including a sensational solo effort in the third quarter where she sold a dummy to her opponent before kicking home from just inside the 50m arc with the outside of her right boot.

Cranston had earlier scored one of the first two goals of the game for the visitors in an opening quarter which ended with a bit of push and shove.

That led to a 50m penalty against the Suns which allowed Rene Caris to kick the Cats’ third after the siren and take a 19-point lead into the opening break.

It was one of 11 free-kicks conceded by the hosts in the opening term, which was spent largely inside their defensive 50.

Suns’ star Kalinda Howarth kicked two goals for the Suns, who were unable to get the margin under a goal despite battling hard following a poor opening quarter.

The Cats iced the victory with a goal on the siren that sparked jubilant celebrations with a pack of players falling on goalkicker Rebecca Webster.

AAP/ABC

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Melbourne’s public housing tower residents file class action over coronavirus lockdown



The state government is facing allegations of false imprisonment and battery over the controversial public housing tower lockdowns in Melbourne.

A class action has been filed against the government over the mandatory coronavirus lockdown of nine public housing towers last July.

Residents who have joined the action are seeking damages for false imprisonment, battery and assault, claiming they were left humiliated, degraded and in physical pain after being detained in their buildings and COVID tested.

Documents filed in Victoria’s Supreme Court allege residents were threatened with an extra 10 days in lockdown if they did not submit to coronavirus testing, and that residents may not have given free and informed consent to undergo swab testing, or did so under duress.

The suit also alleges intimidation by Victoria Police officers may have triggered pre-existing trauma for some residents, including lead plaintiff Idris Hassan who came to Australia from Somalia after the civil war there.

Documents say some police acted “in an intimidating or aggressive manner, with a lack of cultural sensitivity”.

Some tower residents said they were intimidated by armed officers controlling who came and went from the buildings, while others had negative reactions to cyclone fencing being used to set up exercise spaces, reminding them of migration detention.

Mr Hassan lives in one of the North Melbourne public housing towers with his wife and three children. The Muslim family only eat halal foods which do not contain processed sugars, excessive fats or processed flour, and have a child with gluten and lactose allergies.

It’s alleged the Hassan family received a delivery of partially defrosted sausage rolls several days into the first lockdown.

Lawyer Serene Taffaha claims the food appeared to have spoiled, was not halal and did not meet the child’s dietary requirement.

“(They) were not fit for human consumption,” the lawsuit says.

It also alleges the government failed to consider relevant human rights.

A review by Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass found in December that detaining residents without notice “appears to have been contrary to the law”.

Residents were not told in advance that the lockdown would be happening, something also raised in the class action lawsuit.

“The decision not to inform the residents of these matters was not governed by questions of practicality, but was a deliberate decision made to ensure that the residents did not go elsewhere,” it’s alleged.

The suit also names Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese Van Diemen and Public Health Commander Finn Romanes.

A judge alone trial has been sought.

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Melbourne’s fringe festival of flour: a sweet mix of home bakers and hipster culture | Life and style


Melbourne has a deserved reputation for artisanal subculture, cafe society and somewhat self-conscious hipsterism, but when I heard about Flour Market – “the seasonal, specialty, artisan and underground bake sale” – my mind quickly conjured a flour-dusted Ned Ludd hurling choux into the machines, and conspiratorial tarts with Morse-coded messages arranged in their raisins.

I obviously had to go, both to satisfy cultural curiosity as well as instant appetite for experimental sweet and savoury treats.

Chocolate cakes at the Moonbeam Kitchen stall – a single stall at the market usually sells about 900 items during the day. Photograph: Van Badham/The Guardian

Flour Market was started by four friends and now takes place four times a year. The Melbourne organisers brought a travelling Flour Market to Sydney last year and, with sold-out, queues-around-the-block results, rumours are they’ll be doing so again in February.

A Melbourne Flour Market was on last weekend at Collingwood town hall. It’s less a breaded cabal than a sugary warehouse party to celebrate the enthusiasm of an artisanal community for inventing new products and reinventing old ones. The bakers assemble a circle of stalls around the hall perimeter early, with “early bird” pre-booked customers admitted at 8.30am and doors opened to the public for a $2 entry at 9am. The Flour Market lasts as long as it has goods left to sell; with a crowd of a hundred punters lined up when I arrived before 8am to shoot photos, it was unsurprising when not a cream puff was left out by midday. Typically, a single stall shifts 900 items each time the event’s held. Queues out of the building for “hot” items are usual.

The bakers are a fascinating mix of creators, with diverse experiences of the baking life. Some are attached to premises – not only bakeries but in residence within cafes, takeaways and restaurants. Others are suppliers to existing restaurants and franchises, running distribution businesses from their cars. Others still are home bakers using Flour Market as a supportive environment to test products and make contacts for a foray into professional opportunity. It’s like a fringe festival of flour.

Black Forest choux buns – a steal at $9 each
Luxbite’s Black Forest choux buns – a steal at $9 each. Photograph: Van Badham/The Guardian

Linh Dang is in this last group. She’s 25 and has been baking since she left school. She’s preparing to launch her own baking brand, Amabelle, and she brings her signature wares to the Flour Market: lemon meringue pies adorned with edible flowers, a “Not a Carrot” cake that looks like a carrot in soil but is actually a banana and chocolate confection, and a remarkable salted caramel tart decorated with popcorn and gold leaf.

She’s looking for the kind of niche buyers who have been found by Morgan Hipworth, a stallholder a couple of tables down now known as Melbourne’s Doughnut King. Morgan may only be 14 but he’s been channelling his passion for avant-garde doughnuttery into a thriving small business that’s now supplying numerous Melbourne cafes. He is showcasing a white chocolate, rose petal and pistachio doughnut alongside his existing lines at Flour Market. His signature is a plastic syringe filled with addable jam stabbed into the heart of each dough ball.

Bistro Morgan is a hot stall at Flour Market and it’s his queues that are spilling out the door when I attend. He tells me that his passion for baking was the discovery that his creations “made people really happy”. It’s a sentiment shared by the bakers I talk to for why they’ve been up since 1am baking, why they’re often in bed by 8pm, why their lives revolve around ovens, car deliveries and lost weekends. Received happiness is perhaps why they’re so supportive of one another, and recommend each other’s goods – conspicuously, no one is jealous of young Morgan, despite his queues and reputation; they’re cheering him on.

It’s also perhaps why the bakers are able to mobilise such devoted labour from their supporters at Flour Market and beyond. While Morgan’s mother shifts doughnuts at the market, his father is out doing delivery rounds. Linh Dang’s Flour Market staff are a bustling gaggle of her friends, while Simone Clark, the baker from from Butterbing, has her partner, Trevor, on the table. Clark was a designer who left her desk job to bake full-time and her brownie cookie-sandwiches with cream filling have cult status among the customers of the cafes they supply. “I know this cake!” I blurt when I meet her. Butterbing’s love story – with careers given up and happiness found – is a popular flavour at the market.

Baker’s wife Toula, who’s selling her partner’s vanilla-slice doughnuts and infamously tasty cinnamon scrolls for the Candied Bakery tells me she fell in love with him for his baking. After a bite of my cinnamon scroll, I fall in love with him, too.

Rosewater meringues
North Melbourne’s Beatrix bakery selling rosewater meringues. Some stallholders are well established bakeries, others hope to find a niche with the dream of pursuing baking full time. Photograph: Van Badham for the Guardian

It’s a heady morning – not least for the cake fans who queue, taste, pile their trays with treats and spend the afternoon hashtagging photos of their finds on Instagram with #flourmarket before scoffing the lot.

Melbourne presumably also has an artisanal wellness circuit of kale pushers and quinoa gurus but it’s hard to beat the happy feeling provided spiritually and materially by the joyous bakers at an underground baking festival.

As I finished my day at Flour Market, I experienced at least one radical miracle. I ate every scrap of a 1,000-calorie beef pie without feeling guilty at all.

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Residents of Melbourne’s hard tower lockdowns mobilise against off-radar COVID misinformation


Every day, Abdiwasa Ismael and a small group of other North Melbourne public housing residents set up and run a grassroots stall designed to counter COVID-19 misinformation.

In the lobbies of a number of housing towers, the stalls offer local residents easy access to masks, sanitiser, and the latest updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In July last year, these same towers, located in Flemington and North Melbourne, went into hard lockdown amid the early stages of the state’s second wave.

Many residents expressed concern about the tight restrictions, heavy police presence, lack of access to in-language information, and shortage of essential supplies.

The speed and severity of that lockdown was strongly criticised in a report by Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass, but not all residents agreed an apology from the Victorian Government was necessary. 

Now, ahead of next week’s second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations — Phase 1b for the broader public — which kicks off on Monday, Mr Ismael told the ABC there’s been a spike in residents eager to learn more about just what that means for them.

“A lot of elderly people have confirmed they want to get vaccinated,” Mr Ismael said.

Em Taylor, a community engagement manager at cohealth — the community health service that trained Mr Ismael — told the ABC the sudden and hard lockdowns of those towers served as a “catalyst” for recognising the missing pieces in engaging the broader community about the coronavirus.

Mx Taylor said the situation last year prompted Cohealth, who manage the program, to recruit a small group of residents to be “health concierge”.

They band together to craft accessible messages about the coronavirus, intended to cater for people who might not have a mobile or speak English as a first language.

“It’s really good,” Mr Ismael said, “because we are of the same community, we can understand each other — same backgrounds, similar cultures.”

A Department of Health spokesperson told the ABC that on top of the government’s $31 million COVID-19 vaccine public information campaign, $1.3 million had been allocated to multicultural organisations to help reach Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.

Last August, the Victorian Government announced the creation of a CALD Communities Taskforce, a $14.3 million initiative aimed at providing culturally-specific support and communication.

While government materials are tailored for multilingual purposes, there are concerns from community members around the accuracy and consistency of the messaging.

“And for them, to get the information they need, they’re asked to do things like scan a barcode [or download an app] and they can’t do that if they’ve got no phones or the phone doesn’t have a camera.

“So it’s really hard.” 

Reliable sources of information are critical, and experts have long noted the abundance of misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines spreading on non-English channels is putting Australian communities at risk. 

Alaa Elzokm, an imam at the Elsedeaq Heidelberg Mosque in Melbourne, is one of the community leaders who has been working to make sure people are getting the right information about coronavirus.

Since the pandemic started, Mr Elzokm told the ABC he’s seen a lot of misinformation spreading on social media and being shared, circulated and spoken about within Muslim communities. 

Mr Elzokm said that while questions about vaccine safety remain the most common concern throughout the community, “conspiracy theories” generally suggesting that the vaccines will inflict some type of harm on humanity — like genetic mutations or causing infertility — is another critical issue. 

Along with other organisations, such as Muslim Health Professionals , Mr Elzokm has been working to make sure his mosque’s members receive the right information directly from health experts.

One of the ways they do this is by running online Q&A sessions with Muslim doctors, where participants can ask about anything they want to know in relation to COVID-19 or its vaccines.

Earlier this year the Australian Fatwa Council released a fatwa — or Islamic verdict — confirming that Muslim doctors and experts have “scientifically confirmed that vaccines do not contain any prohibited substances or ingredients”. In other words, it’s halal — or permissible to be taken by Muslims.

The fatwa council said they have been “actively” researching and discussing the vaccine with Muslim doctors and medical experts who specialise in vaccines and viruses.

“We discussed the issue of the vaccine in the Australian Fatwa Council, six or seven weeks before the government decided which vaccine even to bring here.” 

Mr Elzokm said that they also use prayer gatherings on Friday — Islam’s holy day — to clarify the truth and facts about what had been medically accepted and understood to date. 

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