Culture transport

Happy birthday, Flinders Street Station

The current Flinders Street Station is 100 years old today.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station as seen from Fed Square

Flinders Street Station - to platform 9

Rush hour at Flinders Street

There’s a newish book on the history of Flinders Street Station called Beyond the Facade by Jenny Davies. Recently I was walking through the Degraves Street subway and noticed a display for the book. Then something in one of the windows caught my eye; amongst the cartoons, a familiar logo:

Flinders St station history display

Below this was a copy of the press release marking the PTUA’s 30th anniversary.

The display continues until Saturday.

Also something I recently noticed underneath the concourse: Maybe the book would explain it, but I haven’t yet worked out why these archways are shaped like this:

Architecture, Flinders Street

Perhaps the ramps from the concourse down to the platforms (now replaced with escalators and lifts) necessitated the lower height on one side. Any other guesses?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Happy birthday, Flinders Street Station”

Had no idea this was coming up. I like to think I have a slight affinity with Flinders Street Station; My Grandparents (my mothers parents), both now deceased, met for the very first time on the Flinders Street Steps, probably like many others, just after the end of WWII. So I guess in a way I kind of owe my life to Flinders Street Station :)

Like the famous dome on State Parliament that Jeff Kennett revived for a while, Flinders Street was never finished either to my knowledge – I recall seeing a sketch of a triple arched train shed covering all platforms that would have had wrought ironwork and glass facing the St Kilda Road end. All never constructed I guess as the money ran out.

Here you can see a few construction photos …

And the famous roof …

The 1880s predecessor was a small building with its own clock tower at Elizabeth Street which was moved to the Prices Bridge side after construction of the main station. The corner itself was the original Melbourne Fish Market I think before moving to the bend in the viaduct (itself demolished late 1950s)

Original Station … first image is from St Kilda Rd with the old fish market building

The St Kilda/Port Melbourne roof from the original station was considered too good to throw away so it was rebuilt at Hawthorn and remains today. Presumadly busier there when the short branch line to Kew was running, although that died away quickly as services were cut back

Clock tower moved …

I also remember seeing a 1960s plan to demolish most of the station except the dome on the corner and replace it with several Gas-and-fuel style high rise and covering the platforms – thankfully also never to see the light of day.

On another note I see the gazillionth photo of the derelict ballroom and plans to do it up – won’t be waiting with baited breath there for anything to be done!!!

The book looks very interesting, hope they see sense and restore the ballroom if only to hire out for business functions.
Poor old Spencer Street Station didn’t get a peep, it’s birthday was January 13th, 1859.

Today’s ‘Transport Plan’ e-news from the Department doesn’t even mention the event. Did commuters see anything special this morning when arriving at Flinders Street?

If you look closely, you can see that that archway was made narrower on the left hand side, after it was built.

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