Part III: The final boundaries - Prahran
- In Prahran the EBC aimed to allow for the diverging population trends of neighbouring electorates while following communities of interest as much as possible. The western boundary was advanced from St Kilda Road to Queens Road, partly to absorb Albert Park district’s excess numbers, while in the east Toorak was transferred to Malvern district to compensate for that district’s relatively declining numbers. In the south, areas were swapped to create a clearer boundary. There have been disparate objections to all three proposed boundaries, which are best dealt with in turn.
- Regarding the western boundary, several writers objected to the change from St Kilda Road to Queens Road, arguing that this would change the district’s character from a collection of established local villages to a district that is half in the CBD and lacks cohesion. The Australian Greens suggested that the pocket between Albert Road and Kings Way be restored to Albert Park, because residents would identify more with Albert Park. In contrast, the St Kilda Road Precinct and Promotion Committee suggested that the triangle between Kings Way, St Kilda Road and the Yarra River be transferred to Prahran on the ground that this area has more in common with St Kilda Road than with Albert Park.
- Any argument that the proposed boundary in this area would change the character of Prahran district ignores the fact that the eastern side of St Kilda Road is already in Prahran district. The Queens Road boundary unites an area that has much in common, and that is cut off from Albert Park district by Albert Park Lake. The numbers preclude the EBC from adopting the St Kilda Road Precinct and Promotion Committee’s suggestion, which would put Prahran’s enrolment well above the 10 per cent threshold. Consequently, the EBC has decided that the proposed western boundary of Prahran will stand.
- In the south of the district, a group of residents of East St Kilda objected to the change of boundary from Carlisle Street to Inkerman Street, which would transfer them from Prahran district to Caulfield. They argued that Carlisle Street is the boundary between East St Kilda and Balaclava, that it is a far more used traffic artery than Inkerman Street, and that residents have a stronger affinity with progressive, diverse Windsor and Prahran than with conservative Caulfield. They were concerned that the boundary would split a cohesive community and marginalise those ending up in Caulfield. The Australian Greens supported their views, and also stated that the proposed boundary would divide the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community.
- The EBC cannot agree with all these arguments. The boundary between St Kilda East and Balaclava is on Inkerman Street, not Carlisle Street. Carlisle Street has a significant shopping strip, which is divided on the existing boundaries and united on the proposed boundaries. In relation to the representation of community groups, it might be argued that the proposed boundaries better capture Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community than the existing boundaries do.
- On the eastern side of the district, the EBC proposed to transfer all of Toorak from Prahran to Malvern, except for a small triangle south of the Dandenong railway line. There were two opposite responses to this change. The Australian Greens submitted that “the strength of identity for Toorak residents is such that the whole suburb should be included in Malvern”. In contrast, the Liberal Party requested that the boundary be shifted east to Grange Road, keeping the Toorak Village shopping centre in Prahran district. The Liberal submission pointed to strong links between Toorak Village and South Yarra, stating that the Village is the primary shopping strip for South Yarra residents, and that residents around the Village use services located in South Yarra. The Liberals further stated that residents of the eastern part of Toorak tended to go to shops on Glenferrie Road, Malvern rather than to Toorak Village.
- A number of submissions supported the Liberals’ point of view. Cr John Chandler of Stonnington City Council wrote that residents around Toorak Village “share the vibrant and cosmopolitan lifestyle of the western end of Stonnington – a more densely populated area with a community more generally composed of younger and/or single people and young families with children, many of whom attend local schools including Toorak Primary located just behind the Toorak Village”. Ms Elspeth Sharp of South Yarra wrote that Toorak Village was her local shopping area. The South Yarra Public Tenants Association stated that Toorak Primary School had long welcomed children from the housing estates. A key point is the varying housing stock in the different parts of Toorak; while the environs of Toorak Village are an area of residential apartments and worker cottages, the section east of Grange Road is characterised by larger allotments and big single houses.
- Considering the connections between Toorak Village and South Yarra, and the differences between Toorak Village and areas to the east, the EBC has decided to shift the boundary between Prahran and Malvern districts from Williams Road east to Grange Road.