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 Post subject: Flinders Street Station
PostPosted: 05 Jul 2003, 10:58 
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I have a question....I was talking to an architect in a bar last week (I assume that happens a lot), and our discussion turned to the subject of colonial architecture. He happened to mention an apparently oft quoted story that the architectural plans for Flinders Street Station were shipped out from England - I suppose that happened a lot in the mid to late 1800, but in this case they got mixed up with some plans intended for a station in India (don't know which). I think this is a rather charming story, if it's true - can anyone substantiate it? Would the answer lie in the original drawings? :?:

Dominic

PS great website by the way.


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PostPosted: 06 Jul 2003, 03:16 
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I've never heard that one before. Don't believe an architect in a bar methinks.

"For more than a century the grand Edwardian baroque building of Flinders Street Station has dominated Melbourne's southern boundary. The design was selected by an architectural competition held in 1902, and the red brick and golden cream stucco building was constructed between 1905 and 1910."

http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/marvellous ... dersst.asp


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PostPosted: 08 Jul 2003, 07:37 
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Welcome to the forum dommoor

I have heard this rumour before also

The station does have a very east indian look, and it is the only significant building in the city by Fawcett and Ashworth

Image

I guess the truth is out there ...

I find it even harder to believe that there were actual plans to demolish this building in the 1960s, but Victorians love it so much that they fought to have it kept.


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PostPosted: 08 Jul 2003, 22:08 
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I think the legend goes that the plans were mixed up with those for Bombay in India.

Also remember seeing somewhere once that the station as it is is incomplete. The facade facing onto Swanston St (where its under corrugated iron awning) is actually meant to be semi circular roofs (its hard to explain, but they'd look like bumps) like railway stations in Europe. Don't think they will ever finish it though (like they'll never stick the dome on top of Parliament House).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 18 Jul 2003, 10:28 
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I've not only heard this legend, but I've seen pics of the "other" station in Mumbai (what used to be called Bombay, India). It's the most garish gothic-style building, and was originally proposed for Melb's Flinders St Station. The reason the plans were swapped was becos the length of the Yarra River prevented the original design from being located there. The only problem with this story is that Flinders St Station was designed by award-winning architects Fawcett and Ashworth, but Victoria Station in Bombay was designed by Frederick Stevens. Can anyone else shed some light on this?

Flinders St Station is also widely known as not being complete. I can't remember what the final plans were going to be, but if I recall correctly there was meant to be another tower (?) or dome or something like that - quite substantial. What I do know is that it was supposed to be roofed over, which is why the side of the building along the length of Flinders St that faces south (ie the river) is a "temporary" facade, and I've even heard that it's not even made of the same stone as the Flinders St frontage.

It's a shame that there were so many uncompleted grand buildings in Melbourne - including, notably, the GPO, the magnificent Parliament House (which would've made Melbourne look like the new Rome!) and Flinders St Station. But Flinders St Station has the longest train platform in Australia, was the starting point of Melbourne's first train line (Sandridge line to Port Melbourne) and of course it was the starting point of the now topical Sandridge Bridge which was the first rail bridge in Aust, from recollection.

As you've noted before, Flinders St Station is noted as being a major Edwardian building in a city marked by its Victorian buildings. The only other major Edwardian public building of note was the somewhat unremarkable Queen Victoria Hospital (current site of the massive QV development), which should not have been demolished before they knew for certain what was going to replace it.

Please feel free to correct my unsubstantiated understanding of what I've posted on this topic.

Here's a little about Mumbai's Victoria Station from http://www.planetgypsy.com/destinations ... umbai.html:

Victoria Terminus (VT) train station is the city's most exuberant, Gothic building. It looks more like a lavishly decorated palace or cathedral than anything as mundane as a transportation depot. Also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the station was designed by Frederick Stevens as the head-quarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company and was completed in 1887. The first train in Asia ran from this spot to nearby Thana in 1853.

The terminus is a highly embellished roit of buttresses, pinnaclas, domes, towers and spires. Gargoyles spring from it's walls, peacocks perch beneath it's eaves, monkeys and mongooses frolic on piller cornices. An imperial lion and Indian tiger guard the front gate, and allegories decorate the main gables. There is also a 4 mt high torch bearing figure of Progress.

Some pics of Victoria Station from http://www-ccs.cs.umass.edu/cris/bombay ... ombay.html:
Image
Image

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 Post subject: also...
PostPosted: 03 Aug 2003, 01:55 
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other things about the old station that someone may know more about...

i) I there was a creche in the dome above the clocks at Flinders Street. I heard that this space was no longer used for anything because of the problems with access. As far as I know this space is not used.

ii) The long wing of upstairs offices along Flinders Street - with the brick facade to Flinders Street and a metal facade cantilevered to the south over the first platform - this is a very unique long and narrow structure - I last heard that the office were mostly quite dilapidated and unable to be used because they don't conform to modern fire regulations. There is also a ballroom up there somewhere that I'd love to see - perhaps this should be the venue for the Walking Melbourne Christmas Party?

It's unfortunate that the parts of Flinders Street that actually get used are mostly refurbished and not very interesting. The listed facades however contain under-utilised spaces.

Here's something I found on he designers,

"A first prize of 500 pounds was awarded to J. W. Fawcett and H. P. C. Ashworth, both of the railway's Existing Lines branch. A few changes were made to their plans but generally Flinders Street Station today is the same concept the two railwaymen designed in their entry.

The entry was a successful example of stylistic eclecticism which blossomed during-the late Victorian era and continued into the twentieth century. Stained glass work adopts the contorted patterns of the art nouveau era, resulting in the ray of weird light patterns onto the floor of the booking lobby. "

http://www.buslines.com.au/hillsidetrains/history.html

This is an interesting article that also says that some of the verandahs from the earlier station were relocated to Hawthorn.

B


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