Where did CAPP come from? Our origins and history

CAPP was born in late 1990s inspired by the spirited resistance to the amalgamation of Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda into the City of Port Phillip in 1994.

Amalgamation was forced upon the three cities by the Liberal state government led by Premier Kennett. The state government overrode one hundred years of vibrant local democracy, merging the three distinct cities and replaced their 33 councillors with three unelected and unrepresentative commissioners who administered the new City of Port Phillip for the three years after amalgamation.

Each of the three fiercely resisted the government intervention through a sustained campaign of civil disobedience. Disgruntled ratepayers protested outside childcare centres, marched upon city libraries and burnt their rate notices. The most inspired civil disobedience was the formation of TOPP, The Other Port Phillip, a parallel democratic ‘Council’ of residents drawn from all three municipalities. TOPP’s alternative Council meetings only highlighted the commissioners’ complete lack of democratic legitimacy.
TOPP was the immediate antecedent to CAPP. However, TOPP had, in turn, been inspired by earlier progressive traditions that had existed in each of Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda.

  • The revolutionary provision of social services like Melbourne’s first Meals on Wheels program and the first local government social worker that were pioneered in the City of South Melbourne in the 50s and 60s
  • The bohemian radicalism of St Kilda’s Turn The Tide which fought quick-buck property developers who sought to transform St Kilda’s foreshore into a Melbourne’s Gold Coast of low-quality high-rise
  • The much-needed family assistance and youth outreach auspiced by Father Bob Maguire and associates at St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in South Melbourne
  • The valiant, tireless Save Albert Park which opposed and – twenty years later – continues to oppose, the bastardisation of public green space into private racing track

A diverse tradition united by the commitment to progressive social values and ideals.

View this document in the CAPP Library.