South Melbourne Commons

The South Melbourne Commons closed in August 2013 as we were unable to secure a new lease from our landlord.  We have kept this website alive so you can see the wonderful space that thousands of volunteers helped create.

cafe garden

The South Melbourne Commons (‘Commons’) was a family friendly community hub.  The Commons helped to bring back the sense of living in our local South Melbourne neighbourhood – It was a public place where you bump into your friends and neighbours. You could enjoy a meal and coffee in the cafe or just sit in our beautiful cafe garden and read the newspaper whilst your kids were engrossed in a gardening workshop -everyone was welcome at the Commons.

The Commons provided the local community of South Melbourne with valuable goods and services:

  • a community café serving hot organic fair trade coffee and meals made using seasonal produce
  • beautiful community food gardens which supply produce for our café and food cooperative
  • children’s space featuring playgroups, gardening club, parties and after school activities
  • a community hall that you can hire for your functions and events
  • affordable office and meeting spaces for community groups
  • a playground and much more.


All enterprises at The Commons had to adhere to strict environmental guidelines outlined by Friends of the Earth.  All enterprises must have a social purpose and give something back to the local community.

The Commons was also a place for education.  Targeted signage displayed around the site educated our visitors about the sustainability features present.  Apples and Jam also ensured that our kids minds are engaged and switched on to sustainability thinking.

The Commons aimed to be a sustainable community hub, and act as a model to motivate residents, community groups and facility managers perform sustainable retrofits on their homes and buildings.

The Commons is the first project to be delivered by the FoEA Eco-Market campaign that aims to explore issues in Australia’s food & grocery retail sector and provide Australians with a sustainable alternative to supermarket shopping.

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