Balaclava is a residential suburb 7 km south-east of central Melbourne. It was named after the battlefield in the Crimean War (1853-56), and has street names such as Nightingale, Inkerman, Raglan and Sebastopol.

It was described in the Australian handbook in 1903:

It is well served by public transport, having trams in Chapel Street (1886) and Carlisle Street (1913) and a train line from Melbourne to Brighton (1859). There is also a busy tram route nearby in St Kilda and Brighton Roads, running past the St Kilda town hall (1890), now the council offices of Port Phillip city. The town hall is an impressive building in a garden setting, with a white portico added in 1925. The council library (1973) is in Carlisle Street, a short walk west from Balaclava’s Carlisle Street shopping area.

There is St Kilda primary school to the west and two Jewish campuses and a Catholic school to the east. A notable educational institution is the Free Kindergarten of St Kilda and Balaclava (1911) in Nelson Street.

The median house price in Balaclava was 28% above the median for metropolitan Melbourne in 1987, and in 1996 it was 79% above the metropolitan median.

Balaclava’s census populations have been:

census date population
2001 4931
2006 5035
2011 5383

In 2011 occupied dwellings were:

Type % of total occupied dwellings
  Balaclava Australia
Separate house 23.6 75.6
Row house 15.7 9.9
Flat, unit 60.1 13.6

Further Reading

Simon Smith, Looking after the little ones: the first 90 years of the St Kilda and Balaclava kindergarten 1911-2001, Balaclava, 2001