In 2012, rural gold-mining town Clunes became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to be awarded ‘International Booktown’ status. Located in Western Victoria, Clunes has a population of just 1,656, which swells to a staggering 18,000 each May during the Clunes Festival. The annual festival hosts 50 book traders from all over Australia and sees the six local bookshops triple their usual profits over one weekend. Specialising in second-hand and antiquarian books, the town’s bookstores are worth a fossick through.
Learned two fun facts today. 1. Melbourne is a designated UNESCO City of Literature. 2. There is a little town called Clunes near Ballarat, that is also known as booktown because of its many bookshops! (Some may argue that they're trying to rebrand, but it is a bibliophile's dream, I can tell you that!) One afternoon was simply not enough! 😍
Once upon a time, writers Marcus Clarke, Henry Kendall, George Gordon McCrae and Adam Lindsay Gordon frequented Australia’s first bohemian club, The Yorick Club, to recite poetry and smoke pipes in Collins Street. With a human skull as a mascot, the club encouraged free-thinking men of literature, art or science to come together in a place of self-expression. In 1894, the club amalgamated with the Melbourne Savage Club.
You may be wondering what an Irish pub is doing on this list, but step inside the Peel Street venue, and it will soon make sense. Voted one of the top ten Best Irish Pubs In The World (Outside Ireland) by The Irish Times, The Drunken Poet isn’t overtly themed; instead, portraits of poets from Ireland and around the world adorn the walls. The venue hosts weekly events and live music, plus they serve the best toasted sandwiches in West Melbourne.
The Drunken Poet, 65 Peel St, West Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, +61 3 9348 9797