ABOUT OUR STATION FLINDERS STREET

Flinders Street Coloured Elevation

This website represents a further stage in the development of The Flinders Street Station Project which was conceived and instigated by Jenny Davies, researcher, writer and ‘provocateur’ (The Age Magazine Dec 2011).

The Project began with the publication of Jenny’s architectural, social and commercial history of the station in May 2009 entitled, Beyond the Facade: Flinders Street, more than just a railway station.The launch of the book was intended to apply public pressure to both the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government to celebrate the forthcoming Centenary in 2010.

Flinders Street Station was the hub of Melbourne’s social and cultural activity until the 1980s when the heritage listed building was deemed unsuitable for tenants. The space occupied by the Victorian Railways for the operation of the suburban train network had been maintained in a minimal manner while that allocated to non railway tenants representing nearly 2/3rds of the building was left to decline in the post war era. Since the privatisation of the railways in the 1990s, rail operators Connex, then Metro, have retained the traditional rail facilities at the station while undergoing some cyclic maintenance of the entire building.

The Flinders Street Station Project gained the support of the Baillieu Government and influenced the development of the Design Competition which was launched by the Minister for Major Projects, Dr Napthine, on 29 June 2012. The Design Competition calls for the development of a vision for the whole station precinct which stretches from the Swanston Street concourse to the west end of Banana Alley and from Flinders Street across to the Yarra River. This is the first time that a competition has embraced a vision for the whole precinct.

Entries to the Competition have closed. Six entrants have been short-listed and the Competition Jury will announce their decision on 8 August 2013. The submissions will be available online from 23 July to 5 August to allow the public to vote. ‘The People’s Choice Award’ will not be known to the Jury and both outcomes will be announced at the same time. For online viewing and voting during this period, please go to www.voteflindersst.com.au.

This website seeks to promote the history of the station and the multitude of social and commercial activities that occurred there and to encourage the submission of additional stories that further weave the threads of the cultural network that is such an important part of Melbourne’s history.

The development of this website extends the aims of my original Project by reinforcing the importance of the station infrastructure to cater for the increasing demands on public transport and the public facilities required to enhance those demands. ‘Meeting people’s needs’ was the binding theme of Beyond the Facade and this included the consideration of public amenities and services that the railway commissioners of the day believed to be intrinsic to a viable public transport system. This included such facilities as waiting rooms and public toilets, the availability of services such as porters and information personnel, the incorporation of adequate directional signs and indicator boards and clocks, provision of cloak and luggage storage, and in terms of rail operations, suitable shunting yards and maintenance facilities near to the site. Most of these have since disappeared and even the public toilets are a now just a secondary consideration.

It is an exciting time for Melbourne and all who have ever used the station. It is possible that the whole of the building could be returned to public use and that the requirements of the rail operations are better served by the creation of new specifically designed spaces on the precinct. The Design Competition enables the world’s most innovative designers and planners to create a site which will have an enormous impact on increasing the efficiency of the ebb and flow of the city and surrounds just as significantly as the building of the current station did for most of the 1900’s.

 

Sound of Buildings: Flinders Street Station http://soundofbuildings.com/Flinders-Street-Station

Flinders Street Elevation