Ding dong the Gatwick is dead


The infamous Gatwick Hotel is set to close its doors for the last time this weekend.

Fitzroy Street is one of Melbourne’s prime locations; efficient transport into the CBD, wide footpaths for outdoor dining and seafront views. So why is the retail hotspot struggling to keep the doors open?

Clusters of vacant retail shops surrounding Gatwick Hotel (Photo: Greta Waters)

Fitzroy Street local and 62-year restaurant owner of Leo’s Spaghetti Bar shows no sympathy for the soon-to-be displaced residents.

Leo said yesterday that the issue is much deeper than shutting down the hotel notorious for housing some of Melbourne’s most vulnerable.

“The Gatwick houses the disadvantaged, mentally ill and criminal offenders. We need to stop pretending that it [Gatwick Hotel] is helping them,” Leo said.

“I have watched decade after decade the behaviour of these people, it has always come in bearable waves. Everything changed four or five years ago with the increasing prevalence of ice on our streets.”

On Saturday night a glass door at the front of Leo’s Spaghetti Bar was aggressively damaged. The perpetrator was caught on CCTV and police later revealed high on ice.

Leo’s shopfront violently vandalised by a Gatwick regular high on ice (Photo: Greta Waters) 

“I don’t want him to get arrested. But I am not going to support a cause that tolerates continuous destructive behaviour,” Leo said.

MP Martin Foley argued the installation of CCTV cameras along Fitzroy Street would minimise crime.


St Kilda local Ree Gleeson has been avoiding the Gatwick vicinity for over 20 years due to fear of antisocial behaviour.

“I would never walk on that side of the road if I am walking along Fitzroy Street,” Gleeson said.

“I hope when all the residents have been relocated somewhere else that shops can start thriving again.

“It is a dry zone of shops… no business can survive in that vicinity because everyone is too scared to be there.

“Everything gets vandalised and there is a huge amount of violence.”

A letter was sent to Gatwick tenants on 6 March 2017 explaining the process had begun with no new bookings accepted.

Housing Minister Martin Foley said some residents have been relocated.

St Kilda Community Housing chief executive John Enticott said four months was adequate for residents to find different housing.

A police officer with local knowledge said “with the closure of the Gatwick Hotel it will hopefully free up police resources.”

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said the council does not support the demolition of the hotel building.








Finding the Perfect Hangover Cure at Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival

With a pounding headache and tired eyes I took my dreaded hangover to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. In the dying days of March on my not so fun-day Sunday, rivers of people were running to the River Graze. The one kilometre stretch along the Yarra is a playground of food and drink covering a range of price points.

Personal experience has taught me the science behind beating a hangover is through greasy food. I found myself at the Food Truck Spot putting my faith in the hands of Sliders on Tyres.

Food truckSliders on Tyres food truck at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Photo: Greta Waters) 

For those that are indecisive, the small sized menu does not give you room to dwell. It was a no brainer to dish out $15 for the truck combo; two sliders and hand cut chips. These mini burgers give you the perfect excuse to eat double. The Fisherman and Classic beef cheeseburger has me licking my lips.

The kitchen churns out sliders quickly. The service is friendly and busy.

A generous calamari fillet is fried lightly and yielding, pleasantly resonating with the lemon mayonnaise. The crunch of the calamari and fresh cos lettuce combined with the creamy house-made sauce and soft golden mini bun melts in the mouth. Much like the crisp ocean air, The Fisherman is blowing my hangover away.

CalamariThe Fisherman slider (Photo: Greta Waters) 

Traditionalists might guess the contents of the classic beef cheeseburger. Grilled beef is dressed with cheddar cheese, small cubes of red onion, thin slices of dill pickle and burger sauce. The ingredients make pleasant synergy, rightfully balancing the sweet with sour.

CheeseburgerThe classic cheeseburger slider (Photo: Greta Waters) 

Bragging rights among the two are placed with The Fisherman. Only God knows what is happening to my body right now. But I do know the freshness of the fish slider fruitfully pulled me out of my slum, while the heaviness of beef slider has added to the delirium of my hangover.

Thick crunchy fries are crowding my plate, an impeccable side dish that compliments the sliders. Irrespective of your slider choice, be sure to have napkins handy. Similar to my hair, these small goodies are not tidy.

trucker combo
My truck combo: the fisherman, classic cheeseburger and hand cut chips (Photo: Greta Waters) 

Unfortunately, my buck did not extend past the trucker combo thus I wasn’t able to indulge in a $4.00 soft drink.

Sliders on Tyres glistens under the Eureka Tower. The mixture of good food, live performances and falling autumn leaves is brightening up the grey skies and my hangover.

Eureka towerThe Eureka Tower brightening up the grey autumn sky (Photo: Greta Waters) 

Amongst the swarm of crowds, the bank side is a design hot spot of stalls and precincts. I have plonked myself on colourful industrial style chairs, while some are puppy watching from bar stools or drinking champagne on picnic rugs. With my food in hand and hope of cure in heart, I graze with a sense of tranquillity.

Sliders on Tyres is a powerful promise. The simple, fresh ingredients make for big flavours all served with a smile at an affordable price. Take it from me, The Fisherman cures hangovers. It’s science!

PeopleThe crowd enjoying the fresh autumn air at Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival  (Photo: Greta Waters)