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Flinders Street Railway Station

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Flinders Street railway station is a railway station on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne, Australia. It serves the entire metropolitan rail network. Backing onto the city reach of the Yarra River in the heart of the city, the complex covers two whole city blocks and extends from Swanston Street to Queen Street.

It was the first railway station in an Australian city and the world's busiest passenger station in the late 1920s.

1854 The first railway station to occupy the Flinders Street site was called Melbourne Terminus, and was a collection of weatherboard train sheds. It was opened on 12 September 1854 by the Lieutenant-Governor, Charles Hotham. The terminus was the first city railway station in Australia, and the opening day saw the first steam train trip in the country. It travelled to Sandridge (now Port Melbourne), over the now redeveloped Sandridge Bridge, travelling along the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Co line.

The first terminus had a single platform 30 metres long, and was located beside the Fish Market building on the south-west corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets.

1877 An additional platform was provided along with two overhead bridges to provide passenger access, followed by additional timber and corrugated iron buildings and a telegraph station in 1879.

The first signal boxes were opened at the station in 1883, one at each end of the platforms.

By the 1890s a third island platform had been constructed.

In 1882, the government decided to build a new central passenger station to replace the existing ad-hoc construction.

1899 A design competition was finally held with 17 entries received. The competition was essentially for the detailed design of the station building, since the location of the concourse, entrances, the track and platform layout, the type of platform roofing and even the room layout to some extent was already decided.

The £500 first prize went to Fawcett and Ashworth, whose design named Green Light was of French Renaissance style, and included a large dome and tall clock tower. The train shed over the platforms was intended to have many arched roofs running north-south, but only an alternative plans depicting impressively high three arched roof (running east-west) over the concourse survive.

1900 Work began on the rearrangement of the station tracks, while the final design of the station building was still being worked on. Work on the central pedestrian subway started in 1901, with the foundations of the main building completed by 1903.

The plans were extensively modified by Railway Commissioners in mid construction in 1904. The changes included replacing the proposed train shed with individual platform roofs and it was decided not to include a concourse roof. To increase office space a fourth storey was added to the main building, which resulted in the arches above each entrance on Flinders Street being lowered, decreasing their dominance.

By 1907, the station had eleven platforms, with the decision made to construct platforms 12 and 13 east of Swanston Street in 1909.


1900 Report from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways on the proposed Central Railway Station at Flinders-Street: together with the appendices and minutes of evidence[1]

Corporate Author: Victoria. Parliament. Standing Committee on Railways

Other Authors:

  • Abbott, Joseph Henry, 1830-1904,
  • Ashworth, Henry Patrick Chandos, 1871-1903,
  • Cameron, Ewen Hugh, 1831-1915,
  • Craven, Albert William, 1855-1913,
  • Davidson, William, 1844-1920,
  • Deane, Henry, 1827-1924,
  • Fawcett, James W., 1863-1934,
  • Grimwade, Frederick Sheppard, 1840-1910,
  • Harris, Albert, 1842?-1910,
  • Moncrieff, Alexander Bain, 1845-1928,
  • Morey, Edward, 1832-1907,
  • Norman, Charles Ernest, 1854-1922,
  • Rennick, Francis T., 1838-1915,
  • Stanley, Henry Charles, 1840-1921,
  • Styles, James, 1841-1913,
  • Tayler, Lloyd, 1830-1900,
  • Trenwith, William Arthur, 1846-1925,
  • White, John Samuel, 1837-1926

Published: Melbourne: Robt. S. Brain, Government Printer, 1900.

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