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Flinders Street Railway Station: Historic Railway Station In Melbourne

December 12, 2023
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Tucked away in the center of lands down under, Flinders Street Railway Station is a stunning example of Melbourne's rich past and continuing cultural legacy. Since its founding in 1854, the station, with its recognizable yellow façade and unique dome, has stood witness to Melbourne's evolving tapestry. Let’s go on an engrossing journey through the history of the Station, revealing fascinating details and the secret treasures that are kept within its sacred corridors.

Flinders Street Railway Station

Flinders Street Railway Station History

With origins dating back to the middle of the 1800s, Flinders Street Railway Station is the oldest railway station in Australia. Weatherboard buildings made up the station's modest origins, a far cry from the opulence that now graces the Melbourne skyline.

Flinders Street Railway Station History

The station has seen multiple restorations over the years, reflecting the expansion and progress of the city it serves. Flinders Street Railway Station history comprises combined efforts of James Fawcett and H.P.C. Ashworth, who envisioned a fusion of French Renaissance and Victorian styles, and produced the architectural grandeur that we love today. This architectural wonder represents Melbourne's personality in addition to fulfilling its practical duty as a transit hub.

Flinders Street Railway Station Facts

Flinders Street Railway Station Facts

As we are now familiar with all the historical insights about this marvel, here are some quirky Flinders Street Railway Station Facts:

1. Oldest Railway Station: The railway commission invited everyone to enter a competition to design a new and improved station. The first-place winner would receive 500 pounds. The pioneers, J.W. Fawcett and H.P.C. Ashworth designed the station that remains in place to this day. The station's complete reconstruction took ten years and about 514,000 pounds to complete.

2. Busiest Station in the Southern Hemisphere: The Flinders Street Station is not only a significant historical site, but it is also a thriving transportation center that is proud to be the busiest train station in the Southern Hemisphere. The station, which connects suburban, regional, and interstate train lines, is an essential hub that reflects the vibrant daily life of Melbourne.

3. Historical Clocks: The distinctive clocks at either end of the main entrance are impossible to miss as you make your way through the busy concourse of the station. Beyond being simple timepieces, these clocks at Flinders Street Railway Station have become popular gathering places and cultural icons for generations of Melburnians.

4. Fourth Longest Platform Worldwide: The Degraves Street subway from the station was extended to the north side of Flinders Street in 1954 to accommodate the growing traffic and the 1956 Summer Olympics, resulting in Campbell Arcade. Platform 1 was extended to 708 meters in March 1966. Stretching two city blocks from Swanston Street to Queen Street, platform 1 is 708 meters long and presently serves the south Morang and Hurst bridge lines. It is the longest in Australia and the fourth longest globally.

5. World’s popular 13 Clock Display: The original design included a clock, which is still located in nearly the same location. Its prominent location and the easily recognizable design have made it a very popular gathering spot for the locals. Although they are now controlled by computers but there was a time when the clocks used to be manually operated and a railway staff officer had to change the time approximately 900 times every eight hours.

6. The Electrifying Staircase of the Station: The broad stairway that rises beneath the clocks is a well-liked gathering spot. Because of the electrical circuits embedded in the main steps, they are immensely popular. These steps underwent renovations in June 1985, adding heat to ensure that the seats would stay warm throughout the winter.

7. Children’s Nursery on the Second Floor: The management department opened the children's nursery in June 1933. It had a kitchen, two playrooms, three cot rooms, and a rooftop playground. It was rumored to be a location where mothers who travel by train could leave their infants and kids with skilled and knowledgeable nursing staff while they went shopping in the city. As a result, it became one of just three in the world of its kind. Regretfully, a polio outbreak forced the nursery to close in 1937; as a wartime precaution, it was permanently closed in 1942. A large portion of the nursery was destroyed during renovations in the 1980s.

Exploring the Hidden Gems in the Station

Lying within the deep labyrinthine corridors of Flinders Street Station, lies a hidden gem – the enigmatic photo booth. Offering visitors, a chance to capture the essence of the station in a tangible keepsake, this booth is a charming nod to the nostalgia and historical significance embedded in the station's walls.

Exploring the Hidden Gems in the Station

Though few are aware of it amid the daily commotion, the Flinders Street Railway Station Ballroom is a pleasure for the eyes! The ballroom, while not easily accessible to the public, is evidence of the station's diverse role in Melbourne's social scene. It carries the laughter of bygone days and murmurs stories of glitzy occasions. With 400 seats, the once-grand Ballroom hosted dance classes, ballroom competitions, and concerts. It was one of Melbourne's most well-liked dance halls in the 1950s and 60s and hosted dances for Allied servicemen during World War II. The venue was closed to the public after the final dance on September 10, 1983.

Behind the Scenes: Inside Flinders Street Station

Once you pass the facade's attraction, Flinders Street Railway Station's interiors reveal themselves as a rich tapestry of architectural wonders. Every crevice has a sense of history, from the polished floors to the elaborately carved ceilings. The station is more than just a place to go; it's a living, breathing thing that captures the various daily rhythms of Melbourne's population.

Behind the Scene

Every platform represents the vibrancy and connectedness that the station offers to Melbourne. It serves as a stage for the regular departure and arrival of trains from different lines. The vibrant pulse within the station's walls is influenced by the ebb and flow of commuters, each with their own story to tell and destination to reach. The railway station isn't just a relic of the past or a conduit for present-day journeys; it's a living cultural tapestry. The station's significance goes beyond its architectural grandeur and functional role; it's a dynamic space that has adapted to the changing tides of Melbourne's cultural landscape.

Conclusion

To sum up, Flinders Street Railway Station is more than just a hub for transportation—it's a living record of Melbourne's history. The station welcomes residents and visitors alike to immerse themselves in its rich history, from its architectural splendor and historical roots to the hidden treasures tucked away within its walls. Flinders Street Station is still an iconic representation of Melbourne's past, present, and future as trains continue to zigzag through it. Thus, the next time you're in the thick of things at this famous station, stop to consider its rich history and the distinct tales that reverberate through its halls. Explore our Melbourne, Victoria itineraries when preparing for your trip to Australia, ensuring a well-planned and memorable getaway.

Author
Anamika Chauhan
Anamika Chauhan is a Senior Content Writer at TBO Academy. Specializing in B2B content, she works closely with the marketing team to bring out the outlook about the industry in her write-ups. Connect with her on LinkedIn or write to her at anamika.chauhan@tbo.com