North of Bourke Street, and running parallel to it, is Little Bourke Street, with the majestic Law Courts by William Street at the western end, and Chinatown in the east between Exhibition and Swanston streets. Australia’s oldest continuous Chinese settlement, Melbourne’s Chinatown began with a few boarding houses in the 1850s (when the gold rushes attracted Chinese people in droves, many from the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong) and grew as the gold began to run out and Chinese fortune-seekers headed back to the city. Today the area still has a low-rise, narrow-laned, nineteenth-century character, and it’s packed with restaurants, stores and some of Melbourne’s best-hidden laneway bars and restaurants.

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