The Man and I were in Melbourne CBD over the weekend. That is a major trip for us, we have friends who travel overseas more often than we go to the city. It is only 70km away but may as well be on another planet!
Whenever we go there I always vow to go more often, I love the buildings and the history. Once we get home though, I remember why we moved out here, no crowds and we can park the car somewhere we actually want to go….
Anyway, todays post is about the building I love to look at the most in Melbourne, Flinders Street Station.
The original station was opened in 1854 but the building we all know today only began construction in the early 1900’s.
By 1926 it was the worlds busiest passenger station. Yep, little old Melbourne…. Even now over 100,000 people pass through there daily, apparently it is the busiest station in the southern hemisphere.
The station, and the row of clocks inside the arch above the main steps, are an icon of Melbourne. The saying “see you under the clocks” became part of the local lingo, and is still used today.
I think that the reason I love Flinders Street Station so much is because it is so unusual. In a city mostly made up of natural stone (and corrugated iron back in the day) Flinders Street Station stands out proudly, all red brick and cream stucco, capped with a series of copper domes and a huge clock tower at the far end.
I have fond memories of catching the train there as a child. The ramps to the freezingly windy platforms, the tiles and the Do Not Spit signs along the subway pedestrian tunnel wall (that even as a child I knew would only incite the spitting!)
I love this photo of the holiday traffic at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets, taken from the front yard of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1916. It looks like quite a free-for-all doesn’t it, and that was 10 years before it became the busiest in the world!
What a beautiful structure. I’m not sure where architectural trends have gone in Australia, but they don’t put up buildings like that anymore here in the States. It really is amazing the craftsmanship that went into some of the older structures, isn’t it? We’ve definitely lost something with the move toward utilitarinism, where there’s lots of glass and steel. I’ll take bricks and copper any day.
It is just beautiful isn’t it. Don’t get me started on the other building I cropped out of that photo though …grrr..
On the nearest corner I took that photo from is the beautiful St Pauls cathedral and on the other corner the lovely and historic Young and Jacksons Hotel. The other corner, the one on my right, contains the controversial Federation Square (known as Fed Square). It looks like a couple of camouflaged cubes dropped from the sky. I hate it, as do many others. The precinct contains many interesting things but just looks awful!
The building where the Man and I went going to dinner had a great 25th floor view of that whole area at night and it was the only time I thought that Fed Square looked good, partially in darkness and partially lit in an atmospheric way. It was still an anomaly but it looked much better that way.
I’m totally with you, traditional buildings always look so beautiful 🙂
I don’t know if you’ve been to San Francisco, but it’s interesting because after the 1906 earthquake so much of the city had to be rebuilt. Over the next two to three decades, many beautiful structures were put up, and there still there.
Had it not been for the earthquake, many of the buildings that had been in place at the time likely would have been torn down in the 50s and 60s and replaced by the ugly glass and steel boxes. So, in a strange way, the city’s architecture benefitted from the disaster.
And because of the threat of another quake, most of the building put up after the ’06 quake were reinforced, so many are still standing today, making the city one of the more attractive.
I haven’t been there, but I have seen it in movies. It seems that there are some similar building styles in both places. I suppose that they were both under construction in the same era so those builders would have been influenced by the same sources.
Thank goodness they aren’t building Melbourne now, it would be horrible, all the buildings would be like Fed Square and the NAB headquarters at Docklands, a building that looks to me like a lego factory, not the HQ of one of our biggest banks.
I hate seeing beautiful buildings falling into disrepair. I suspect that often the owners hope that they will just get to the point where people want the eyesore pulled down more than they want to preserve history.
I love that building. When I think Melbourne, That’s what springs to mind. 😀
It is such an icon isn’t it. I just love it. I hope they never change the facade. I could hope they would never change the inside but I know that has already been altered from how I remember it as a child. Still much of it there, but so different as well.
I love the CBD as well but like you, going into ‘the city’ now feels like a day trip and after a couple of hours I can’t wait to get home. I take the back roads through Donvale and there is a spot, just past Auman’s orchards where suburbia suddenly falls away and even the quality of the air changes. As soon as I hit that spot I can feel my shoulders relaxing as I breathe out and in with relief. Ain’t no place like home. 😀
It is funny isn’t how we have that spot where out little inner voice says “aaahhh”.
If I am heading down the line I always find that coming over the top of Montrose hill, where you have the Dandenongs on the left and the beginnings of real suburbia spreading out in front of you, my head starts to hurt.
It doesn’t get any better until I am on the way home and have turned through the roundabout at Clegg rd and Warburton Hwy and see our valley starting to spread out in front of me. “Aaahhh, home” 🙂
The Man and I must look like real hicks when we go to the city as we walk around looking up. We aren’t amazed by the tall buildings, we are just trying to ignore everything at ground level and look at the buildings one level higher. That is where the real buildings can be seen, it is like a completely different city up there.
Speaking of looking at the real buildings there’s one building I see from Southbank that really intrigues me. It has that greeny copper? dome similar to Flinders street but towers so much higher and has a sort of ethereal feel to it – as if it had been transplanted from somewhere else. I doubt I’ll ever find it at ground level though. 😦 There are times when I’m not that enamored of ‘modern’.
I don’t know what that one might be, could it be ‘The Dome’ on Collins Street? Tall light coloured stone building with a flattish dome? I’m not sure if you can see it from Southbank though.
I have only been to Southbank the once. Abhor the casino and can’t afford to shop at Prada or Louis Vuitton so what is the point of looking in the windows down there! We only wandered through this time because I had to see if the shoes that matched my dinner ensemble would make the walk from the hotel to the venue! (the shoes made it, my poor feet though…oww… 😉 )
lmao – we used to go to Southbank as a family outing. Get an ice-cream, watch the free performances, watch the people, go for a walk along the river, go home. 😀
The Dome you think? It is fairly light but it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. I might go for a walk along Collins Street next time to see if I can spot it.
I’m not sure what it could be, I looked up Melbourne domes on the net and that was one that came up within cooee of Southbank. It does stand out, I took a photo of it from near the end of the Bourke St Mall not knowing what it was but thinking I would never see it if I was any closer as it was kind of nested into other buildings.
I’m hopeless though, I could walk right past such a splendid place and not even see it if there was some run down bit of interestingness on the other side of the street! 😀
You’re a genius! I just googled The Dome and found a picture of the outside and – that’s it! I knew it sort of made me think of the Empire State building. 😀
I now have a new destination – 333 Collins street. Next time I’m in the city I’m going to go have a closer look – maybe even sneak inside if I’m dressed up enough.
Thank you, thank you!
😀 You’re welcome! When I was looking for it I stumbled across some prices for having an event there. You might have to take out a mortgage to pay the entry fee 😉 I suppose you could just stride in snootily and act like you owned the place, they might be too scared to stop you…
-giggles- Yup, that was my idea. Get all dressed up, pretend I’m a lady of means and go in for a sticky beak.:D Might even stay for a coffee if it costs less than double digits.
I love Melbourne CBD, especially the old buildings like Flinders St Station, St Pauls, The Princess Theatre, and the Palais at St Kilda, all interesting and different. Great post, and glad you enjoyed your visit.
Thanks 🙂 There are so many wonderful buildings in Melbourne, it is just a pity that so many of them seem to be crumbling into ruin 😦
I couldn’t resist taking a few photos of the roof of the Forum just up the road from Flinders Street, I just love the spires and towers and patterns on it. What I really needed was a crane or access to the upper floors of the building across the street to get some good shots!
I always wonder what is inside the towers on some of those old buildings.
I remember hearing that in the dome of Flinders Street there’s a ballroom, but it’s been in disrepair for years and no one bothers fixing it. Could you imagine how awesome it must be?
One of my friends lives in the Majorca Building, an amazing one just off Flinders Lane right near the station. It still has the old insides – when you move in they fill the original lift with padding so you don’t scratch it with your stuff. The apartments themselves are modern, but I’d accept a dishwasher and heating over ye olde housing.
I have to confess I loved going up Eureka Tower and looking down at the entire city. But I love it all, old and new. Over near my work there’s some really interesting new buildings going up.
There is a ballroom in Flinders Street, it was also a lecture room. They often start making plans to do something with it and then people start arguing about what and it all falls by the wayside. By the time they decide the pigeons will have taken it over and the battle to remove them will probably destroy the whole building…
I just looked up the Majorca Building, it looks beautiful. I don’t mind the shiny new buildings, I just hate it when they knock down an old one instead of looking after them. And I hate it when they look like Fed Square 😉
I know a few people from NYC visiting Melbourne right now. I must ask them if they saw that wonderful old station. Fabulous architecture and a good subject for a photo.
It is a great photographic subject, it is unusual to go past there and not see a photographer set up on the corner, probably hoping the crowds don’t knock over their gear!
I hope your NY friends are enjoying the cooler weather 🙂
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Years since I was in Melbourne (nearly 30) so I bet it’s really changed. Partner worked at the Queen Vic in the early 80s which I gather is no longer a hospital. Is the building even there? It’s good to see Flinders St station is still there 🙂 it’s certainly what springs to my mind when I think of Melbourne.
It is lovely to see they’ve left Flinders Street station alone although the new ticketing system means you walk under the clocks and are quickly confronted with a row of the stupid MYKI barriers. Horrid.
A lot of building has gone on in the city, we don’t go much so I can’t tell you exactly what has changed, but it seems as though there have been so many of the beautiful old buildings torn down in the name of progress. Lots of facade saving going on now so you see a new tall building rising up directly behind a low, old, facade. Better than complete destruction, but I’m still not happy.