Graffiti on the streets of Melbourne: Pictures | History | Suburbs and Streets | City Laws

Graffiti on the corner of Union Lane and Bourke Street, opposite Myers, Melbourne CBD. This work of art is massive and was actually hard to fit in the frame of the camera because Union Ln is narrow.
Graffiti on the corner of Union Lane and Bourke Street, opposite Myers, Melbourne CBD. This work of art is massive and was actually hard to fit in the frame of the camera because Union Ln is narrow. | Source

Graffiti on the streets and laneways of Melbourne make the city streets come alive. It is something that can be enjoyed whether you are an artist or not. The city of Melbourne has also accepted street art and deemed in legal in certain designated areas. Here's a brief overview of its history, rules and city laws and pictures of graffiti in Melbourne CBD, including a photo tour of Hoiser lane and Union lane.

History of graffiti in Melbourne

Street art first cropped up in Melbourne in the form of tagging and marking on the city's train and tams lines. It is generally considered that artists during the 80s took a lot of inspiration from graffiti in New York and pictures of street art in other countries. The tagging later evolved into full fledged street art after popular artists from around the world began to visit this art loving city to leave their mark.

Even today, besides the graffiti that is done in the form of street art, there is a lot of tagging going on in the suburbs. Tagging is now seen as an act of vandalism. Although this is not allowed, tagging and impromptu graffiti is prevalent in the suburbs, done mostly by the youth.

Suburbs and Streets

Some of the popular suburbs in Melbourne that are known for street art and graffiti are Melbourne CBD, St Kilda, Richmond, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Northcote, Brunswick and Carlton. No, this does not mean that street art in Melbourne is limited to these suburbs, but you are likely to stumble upon fantastic works of art in these suburbs than the others.

Top 3 suburbs for graffiti in Melbourne in order of preference are

  • Melbourne CBD
  • St Kilda
  • Collingwood / Northcote

Walking through laneways in Melbourne CBD spotting graffiti

Walking by graffiti on the streets of Melbourne is something that should be done and experienced by every art loving soul on this planet because pictures just don't do justice to it. If you are new to Melbourne or are a tourist wanting to catch up on the graffiti scene, there's no need to panic because you really don't need to look too hard to spot outstanding street art. Here's a quick guide on how you can walk through the two most vibrant streets in Melbourne CBD.

  • Make your way to Melbourne CBD by taking a tram or train towards the city from the suburb you are in
  • Grab a hot coffee from the Starbucks at the corner of Swanston St and Collins St
  • Get back on Flinders St and walk up to Hoiser Lane which is just before the intersection of Russell St and Flinders St
  • This laneway is known for some fantastic works of art – Be prepared to spend at least an hour or two here if you are an avid photographer and want to spend time taking some killer shots that you will admire for life
  • Once satisfied, make your way back to Swanston St and walk up to Bourke St then take a left towards Elizabeth St
  • Halfway down the block is entrance to Union Lane, right opposite to Myers Melbourne – This laneway too is a gem of a gazing ground for graffiti lovers

Both the above laneways are an art lover's paradise. If you go on a sunny weekend, chances are that you may even spot a street artist making a work of art as you walk by and take pictures. You are free to sit down and spend the day watching the artist create a magical piece of street art. In these quaint laneways, you will also spot fellow art lover gazing at graffiti and discussing various elements, just like how movie critics get together and watch a movie. At the end of this article, maps have been provided which give you the location of Hoiser Lane and Union Lane.

There are other places on Flinders Lane, Swanston St, Russell St, Lonsdale St and other scattered laneways in and around Melbourne CBD that you can cover on foot or on tram.

City laws and rules regarding street art in Melbourne

The city of Melbourne has accepted street art and even takes pride in the throbbing tourism that it drives. In fact, the city council has even designated certain streets where street art is considered legal. Tagging and other forms of spray painting are considered illegal or acts of vandalism. Here are the highlights of graffiti and street art laws in Melbourne.

For budding artists

  • You can seek permission from the city council if you want to develop a new street art
  • You must also contact the property owner and get their approval
  • Street art is regularly cleaned by city cleaners – If you think that your own or another artist's work should legally stay, contact the property owner and the city council to get the relevant permissions

Here are some of the pictures of Graffiti in Melbourne CBD that have been taken by Princesswithapen. You should note that artists are continuously working on new projects on these streets so you may not find the same graffiti when you visit again. The below pictures will give you a tour of Hoiser Lane and Union Lane in Melbourne CBD, two of the best hot spots for street art lovers.

The entrance to Hoiser Lane, looking from Flinders street. The premise next to where the little black scooter is parked is actually a quaint restaurant and cafe
The entrance to Hoiser Lane, looking from Flinders street. The premise next to where the little black scooter is parked is actually a quaint restaurant and cafe | Source
Street art in Hoiser Lane, Melbourne CBD. This piece of work is more than 6 feet high and at least 10 feet wide
Street art in Hoiser Lane, Melbourne CBD. This piece of work is more than 6 feet high and at least 10 feet wide | Source
Maybe this artist took inspiration from Lady Gaga's track Telephone? This is on Hoiser Lane
Maybe this artist took inspiration from Lady Gaga's track Telephone? This is on Hoiser Lane | Source
This street art shows everyone kneeling down to the television - it is a great metaphor with which the artist tries to symbolize how humans are devoted to TV. This graffiti is on Hoiser Lane.
This street art shows everyone kneeling down to the television - it is a great metaphor with which the artist tries to symbolize how humans are devoted to TV. This graffiti is on Hoiser Lane. | Source
Source
If you are lucky, you may spot a street artist like the one in this picture. This was taken on Union Lane while the graffiti was being done. The below picture was taken on a later date of the finished work of art.
If you are lucky, you may spot a street artist like the one in this picture. This was taken on Union Lane while the graffiti was being done. The below picture was taken on a later date of the finished work of art. | Source
This is the completed work of art. Isn't it amazing how the artist started with a blank wall on the streets of the city and converted into something so magical? These exotic touches make the quaint laneways in Melbourne simply delightful!
This is the completed work of art. Isn't it amazing how the artist started with a blank wall on the streets of the city and converted into something so magical? These exotic touches make the quaint laneways in Melbourne simply delightful! | Source
This graffiti is done on the entrance of a premise on Hoiser Lane. However you will no longer find 'the living wall' as it has been replaced by another work of art that the owners commissioned recently
This graffiti is done on the entrance of a premise on Hoiser Lane. However you will no longer find 'the living wall' as it has been replaced by another work of art that the owners commissioned recently | Source
Droopy faces
Droopy faces | Source
One of the most obscure entrances to a gallery in a bylane right off Hoiser lane, called Until Never. The below picture is the actual entrance to the gallery.
One of the most obscure entrances to a gallery in a bylane right off Hoiser lane, called Until Never. The below picture is the actual entrance to the gallery. | Source
This is the entrance to the gallery that was pictured above. You will not be able to see the same graffiti as the owners have commissioned another work of art on these walls recently
This is the entrance to the gallery that was pictured above. You will not be able to see the same graffiti as the owners have commissioned another work of art on these walls recently | Source
This is actually a graffiti done on the shutter of a shop which you can see only when the shop is closed. It is on Union Lane
This is actually a graffiti done on the shutter of a shop which you can see only when the shop is closed. It is on Union Lane | Source
The door below the graffiti is actually an entrance to a shop
The door below the graffiti is actually an entrance to a shop | Source
The colors on this graffiti are amazing
The colors on this graffiti are amazing | Source
Graffiti on one of the back doors of a shop on Union Lane, Melbourne CBD
Graffiti on one of the back doors of a shop on Union Lane, Melbourne CBD | Source
Graffiti on Union Lane
Graffiti on Union Lane | Source
The beautiful face at the entrance of Union Lane, opposite Myers in Melbourne CBD
The beautiful face at the entrance of Union Lane, opposite Myers in Melbourne CBD | Source
A markerHoiser Lane, Melbourne -
Hosier Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
[get directions]

A markerUnion Lane, Melbourne -
Union Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
[get directions]

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Comments 12 comments

davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

That is more like art to me... The talent is certainly there! A very beautiful hub that shows how art is more then just dimensional because it picks up where we humans leave off and lives.


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Dave

Yes, these street artists are extremely talented. The speed with which they make these works of arts is simply amazing. It is as if they have an intricate map of the graffiti in their brains and their hands start working like robots with their spray cans.

Thanks heaps for your appreciation of this hub. I'm glad you liked it.

Princesswithapen


EssentialGreeting profile image

EssentialGreeting 5 years ago

Incredible expression through these pieces. And the city accepts them no less? That's something special. Great hub!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

EssentialGreeting

Yes, artists use street art in Melbourne to express themselves. The city acknowledges this, and as mentioned above, has given artists the freedom to legally do street art in certain laneways and streets in the city. This is, of course after prior approval of the city council. In fact, owners and artists can also commission newer works of art on their premises. It is a win-win situation because it gives birth to a splendid art form and makes these quaint laneways vibrant. Can you imagine how dull these laneways would be if they were only blank walls?

I'm really glad you liked this hub. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Princesswithapen


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Princesswithapen,

So it is art since it is allowed, permitted and even commissioned. Right?

JT


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

JT Walters

A lot of these works of arts may have been given a retrospective legal status simply because the artists or owners of that premises applied for permission from the city council after the work was done. So what was originally graffiti has now become street art. I'm glad you were impressed. Thanks for your appreciation!

Princesswithapen


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

You had me confused for a moment as I am fro Florida and I thought I haven't seem these in Melbourne but then I checked again and it is Australia.

All My Best,

JT


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Wow, this is spectacular. Street art really livens up a place!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

steph

"..Street art really livens up a place!" Rightly said. It is amazing how a splash of color and art can transform the streets of a city into something absolutely magical. Streets and laneways of Melbourne CBD are marred with quaint little cafes and shops. On a rainy day, you can spend hours sitting outside these coffee shops under an umbrella and a side heater and simply watch the world go by. Add to this warm moment, the view of street art. Sounds splendid, doesn't it?

Thanks heaps for your appreciation and I'm really glad you liked it.

Princesswithapen


femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

Princess -

This is wonderful! I enjoyed it so much and thanks for taking the time to put it together!

I'm sure you're right in that the artwork is even more fantastic viewed in person, but your shots were spot-on, and fascinating!

Great job on this!


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 5 years ago Author

Ang

I'm glad you liked the shots. All of them had been taken on many of my wandering walks in the CBD, with the iPhone. The pictures turned out pretty decent for a phone camera, don't you think?

I'm glad you enjoyed this hub.

Princesswithapen


femmeflashpoint 5 years ago

PWP,

My sister does nearly all of the photography for my hubpages "stuff". She's a professional in "raw photography", and no kidding, some of the coolest shots in her portofolio that people want to purchase are shots she got years ago with either a disposeable cam, or a phone cam that she happened to be carrying when she didn't have a camera with her.

Yours came out really good, and I'll be sure to have her have a look at them!

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