Commons Closure The South Melbourne Commons closed in August 2013 as we were unable to secure a lease renewal from our landlord . If you loved the Commons or loved what it stood for, then we invite you to make a donation to Friends of the Earth Australia to support future innovation and create more much needed unique initiatives like the Commons.  The Commons was a community hub that featured: Let Me be Frank cafe serving hot organic fair trade coffee and meals made using seasonal produce.  LMBF is still running at their existing location. Apples and Jam children's space featuring playgroups, gardening club, parties and after school activities.  Apples and Jam are still operating in their existing location an organic food cooperative selling fruit, vegetables, drygoods and groceries beautiful community food gardens which supply produce for our café and food cooperative a community hall that could be hired for functions and events affordable meeting spaces for community groups a playground . Back2bikes bicycle not-for-profit and much more.  Back2Bikes have moved to 525 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne. health and fitness classes  for to keep bodies and minds active We also invested in solar hot water, solar electricity, rainwater tanks and put in place practices to minimise waste and recycle. If you loved the Commons or loved what it stood for, then we invite you to make a donation to Friends of the Earth Australia to support future innovation and create more much needed unique initiatives like the Commons as well as helping to make a stand on important environmental and social justice issues. If have any questions regarding the South Melbourne Commons, you can This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The Commons was an initiative undertaken by Friends of the Earth Australia in partnership with the Father Bob Maguire Foundation and Parish of St Peter and St Paul. The Commons was forced to close due to being unable to negotiate an extension of its 3 year lease. The Commons team wishes to thank the thousands of community members who supported the project.
Film Night: The Man Who Stopped The Desert Time ticks away as we approach the end of the Commons as we know it, but that doesn't stop great things from happening! We've partnered with Transition Port Phillip for this film event. We can't wait to see it and share with you all! The Man Who Stopped The Desert tells the remarkable story of Yacouba Sawadogo, an illiterate peasant farmer, who transformed the desert and the lives of thousands across west Africa. This film screening is followed by a short talk with Mariam Issa, social entrepreneur and author of A Resilient Life. Where: South Melbourne Commons Hall When: 6.45pm, Thursday 15th of August Tickets: $10 online or $12 on the door
Swing High, Swing Low, Swing Go! EVENT CANCELLED Sadly we could not go ahead with our event, Swing Go, scheduled for this Saturday night, August 10th.

Welcome to the
South Melbourne Commons

The South Melbourne Commons was a family friendly community hub.

The Commons helped to bring back the sense of living in our local South Melbourne neighbourhood - It was a public place where you could bump into your friends and neighbours - It was a place you can visit to buy your fresh organic fruit, vegetables and groceries whilst your kids are engrossed in a gardening workshop. You could enjoy a meal and coffee in the cafe or just sit in our beautiful cafe garden and read the newspaper - everyone was welcome at the Commons. 

Pantry apples and jam hall


The Commons provided the local community of South Melbourne with valuable goods and services:

  • a community café served hot organic fair trade coffee and meals made using seasonal produce
  • beautiful community food gardens supplied produce for our café and food cooperative
  • children’s space featured playgroups, gardening club, parties and after school activities
  • a community hall that you could hire for your functions and events
  • affordable office and meeting spaces for community groups
  • a playground and much more.




Support Friends of the Earth to invest in future projects like the The South Melbourne Commons by making a donation.  It's hard work starting a new enterprise like The Commons, so we really need your help and support. 

Please consider giving a donation to the South Melbourne Commons via the Friends of the Earth Give Now website.  All donations over $2 are tax deductable.

Health & Wellness

We need to take care of our bodies, mind and spirit. Weekly classes in Pilates, Martial Arts and Bokwa are available at the Commons to help restore some balance to your life.

Martial Arts - Learn self defense and self discipline through this unique style of western martial arts.

Pilates - Look long, lean and lengthened! Improve your strength, balance, flexibility and posture.  Classes for students of all levels and a unique 'Walking wounded'  for those who need to move with more care and guidance.

Kids Yoga - Yoga clases for Toddlers & parents and pre-school age children.

View our events calendar to see when the next classes are scheduled.


Back2Bikes at the South Melbourne Commons

Back to Bikes have found a new home at 525 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne.  The organisation supports group of volunteers who are learning to fix bikes.

We sell the bikes we fix, and we can also service your bike for you. We have a full set of tools, and a guru bike mechanic to advise the students.

Learn more at

Servicing Classic bikes

Community Garden

The South Melbourne Commons was the home of over 80 square meters of beautiful food producing gardens.  Whilst we have had to leave the site, the gardens should still remain and if you want to help maintain them, then please visit the site and contact the Let Me Be Frank Cafe.  

Click here to read more about our community garden.

Commons Cafe

Let Me Be Frank Cafe - Now Open

Zappa’s, sister-café, LET ME BE FRANK is now serving fresh and healthy soup, sandwiches, and salads in The Commons.  Did I mention the outstanding coffee…and my personal favorite, Eddie’s chai lattes?  

The Let Me Be Frank Cafe is a venue to meet, enjoy delicious home cooked dishes and fairtrade hot coffee. You'll feel like a part of the neighbourhood as you meander down and take a seat in the beautiful gardens of the South Melbourne Commons, or dine within the walls of the old school building.

'Let Me Be Frank' is run by Eddie Inostroza, a barista with over 10 years of cafe and mobile coffee service experience.  Eddie says that  'Let Me Be Frank' differentiates itself because “from decor to service, you feel at home.”  The family-style staff are happy to modify anything on the menu to suit your taste buds and already know customers and kids by names and coffee orders. 

'Let Me Be Frank' is currently serving fresh and healthy sandwiches, soup and salads.  They are in the process of hiring a chef to provide a full service breakfast and lunch menu focusing on healthy and fresh foods that reflect the ideology of South Melbourne Commons and 'Frank's' staff’s desire to live active and healthy lifestyles. 

'Let Me Be Frank' is still in a transitional phase but will be a full-service cafe serving interesting, healthy food at affordable prices in no time.

The Fast Supper

The Fast Supper no longer runs out of the South Melbourne Commons.

The South Melbourne Commons proudly supports the Fast Supper, a community project initiated and powered by InterAction. Run entirely by young volunteers from various faith and non-faith backgrounds, the Fast Supper provides healthy meals and fresh groceries for those in need within South Melbourne area.

Every Wednesday evening, the volunteers gather at the Commons to prepare fresh produce. The International Society of Khrisna Consciousness, Second Bite and Let Me Be Frank Café donate the meals. Then, the volunteers deliver the meals and groceries in Hope Mobile – the iconic food van of the Father Bob Maguire Foundation’s community outreach program.



There are no more coordinated volunteer positions at the former site of the South Melbourne Commons.  If you want to volunteer, then we can suggest you volunteer at Friends of the Earth or visity the City of Port Phillp volunteer site.



The Commons is all about engaging with the community to promote sustainable living.

We have just produced a series of resources to help you make your home more comfortable whilst reducing your ecological impact.  We've also released a guide to help community groups undertake sustainable retrofits on their buildings as well as showcasing the educational signs that will be installed at the Commons.

We've already run a whole series of workshops and themed days on a variety of sustainablity topics.  If you're passionate and want to know, please click here and read more details.

Photo Gallery

The South Melbourne Commons is now closed,but we wanted to keep the photo gallery alive so you could see how beautiful the space was.  We renovated and restored the site from a derelict neglected state to what you see in the gallery.