Immigration Museum at night lit up with red lights. Other buildings can be seen in the background

Neighbourhood Circle

The Neighbourhood Circle operates as a hyper-local network connecting residents, small business operators, building owners, social and creative entrepreneurs and the Immigration Museum. Drawn from the four blocks bound by Collins, Flinders Street, Queen and William Streets, it brings together representatives from this corner of the CBD to discuss their aspirations living, working and playing in this unique part of Melbourne.

For Open House Melbourne 2021 the Neighbourhood Circle got together to present a panel discussion, Hey Neighbour- Building community one block at a time.

The discussion revolved around how the multiple communities already existing in the area are working together to collectively reinvigorate this precinct.

Watch a recording of the discussion below to hear how this group have been working together to connect often siloed communities by fostering collaboration amongst businesses, public venues and resident communities; utilising public and private spaces to create opportunities for connection and engagement; and advocating for creative, accessible and sustainable design in our city.


Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne

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Sally Capp

Sally is the first directly-elected female Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne. She was the first woman to hold the post of Agent-General for Victoria in the UK, Europe and Israel. She has also served as the CEO for the Committee for Melbourne.

Robert Buckingham, co-director Turning Circle Collective

Robert Buckingham

Robert has a long association with Australian design and the arts, and has created, curated and coordinated hundreds of art and design events and exhibitions. Robert co-founded the Fashion Design Council of Australia, was the founding creative director of the Melbourne Fashion Festival and in 2004 established Mr Buckingham, a consultancy specialising in business and project development through strategic creative planning, brand development and event direction. Since 2012, Robert has worked with Melbourne entrepreneur and philanthropist Naomi Milgrom AC to establish the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and MPavilion.

Rohini Kappadath, General Manager Immigration Museum

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Rohini Kappadath

With a diverse career history spanning business, technology and global engagement, Rohini has deep experience in establishing technology start-ups, leading high performing teams for multinational companies and navigating complexity in international markets and government. Alongside managing the Immigration Museum, she is a contributor to a number of non-profit, private and academic boards including Swinburne Innovation Precinct, Research Unit into Public Cultures (University of Melbourne), International Women’s Federation of Commerce & Industry and Free-to-Feed.

Jaison Hoernel, CEO Good Cycles

Man smiling
Jaison Hoernel

Currently CEO of Good Cycles, one of Australia’s leading social enterprises, Jaison has over 30 years of professional experience in the micro mobility industry in Australia and internationally. He is a founding board member of Social Enterprise Network Victoria and has enjoyed success in establishing some of the world’s most successful bike share programs.

Wendy Lasica, co-director Turning Circle Collective

Wendy Lasica

After decades of producing across the performing arts, Wendy retrained as an urban planner and in 2014 established a niche practice working at the intersection of cities and culture. In 2021, she co-led an RMIT Design studio, Creative Spaces and Precincts and has tutored Urban Design Theory at University of Melbourne. She is also an award-winning theatre producer, been a director and board member of Next Wave and has trained and worked as a dancer and choreographer.

Nene MacWhirter, founding member Market Street Gardeners

Woman smiling
Nene Macwhirter

Nene has lived in the Port Authority Apartments for 13 years and is a founding member of the Market Street Gardeners communal garden at the Immigration Museum. She currently lectures in Education at ACU in Fitzroy and in her spare time enjoys going to the Opera, the Recital Centre and the Football in equal measure and gardening with her grandsons whenever possible.

Walking Tour

To explore the precinct in person, please use our self-guided walking tour.

This precinct boasts significant heritage buildings including Immigration Museum and Port Authority Building, as well as the oldest men’s barber, and the building that housed the first pub in Melbourne. The new Market St Park has transformed the public realm, the completed Collins Arch has brought more residents and businesses as well as a new hotel. And once the Social Enterprise Hub led by Good Cycles opens, 16 new small-scale businesses move into the area. It’s the opportunities to build programs that improve the experience of how these spaces are used, that drives the Neighbourhood Circle.

Neighbourhood Circle amplifies the nuances of this neighbourhood, one part of a larger CBD area, by drawing on hyper-local experience. The re-introduction of creative production into the precinct, builds on existing activity and aspires to generate new local economies and communities – both imperative for Melbourne to continue as a creative capital.

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