Lord Mayor Sally Capp made an early visit to Lonsdale Street Wednesday morning alongside the City of Melbourne’s general manager for infrastructure Roger Teale, to survey ongoing works revitalising the Greek Precinct.

The two were joined by Antonia Tsamis, Precinct Coordinator for The Greek Quarter and Nicole Papasavas, director of the iconic Stalactites restaurant.

Ms Sally Capp was enthusiastic about the revitalisation of the street.

“The street is a cornerstone of Melbourne’s cultural development and a continuing part of the multicultural story,” the Lord Mayor said to Stalactites director Nicole Papasavas and precinct coordinator Antonia Tsamis from The Greek Quarter.

At one time the heart of Melbourne’s Greek community, Lonsdale Street is still remembered fondly by Greeks young and old as a central hub for Greek’s of Melbourne.

Now it’s widely known as the site of the annual Greek Festival “Antipodes”. A week-end long “glendi” which usually takes place around March 25, Greece’s National Day.

Melbourne Council team including Roger Teal (third from left) and the Lord Mayor Sally Capp (fourth from left) with Stalactite’s owner Nicole Papasavas (second from right) and the Greek Community’s Antonia Tsamis coordinator of The Greek Princict. Photo: Kostas Deves.

But with two years of COVID lockdowns, the Antipodes hasn’t run to its usual schedule since 2020.

That’s set to change with the announcement that the festival, organised by the Greek Community of Melbourne, will return this year in late October.

The City of Melbourne has provided $1 million through the Melbourne City Reactivation Fund towards a series of works, spanning from Russel Street to Tattersalls Lane designed to refresh the historic strip.

Among the upgrades will be the removal of now ageing café shelters, with the space redesigned to provide traders an open space to set up permanent outdoor dining facilities. This may strengthen the promenade as an open air cultural and entertainment setting.

Repairs to the bluestone footpath will be carried out, as well as the reinstatement of the iconic Hellenic Meander or Greek Key pavement edge stones.

Existing café screening will be replaced with stainless steel planter boxes and a new irrigation system will supply water to proposed Rosemary plants, natives to the Mediterranean and a staple herb in Greek cuisine.

These improvements will see Lonsdale street’s Greek Precinct revitalised and ready for October’s Antipodes festival.