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Flinders Street Station, Melbourne Overview

The Flinders Street Station is the central railway station of Melbourne and an icon of the city’s culture and history. Designed in the historical Art Nouveau style in 1910, it is Australia’s oldest and busiest railway station.

The Flinders Street Station, once the busiest station in the world, today attracts over 90,000 daily passengers, and many more tourists who come to admire its iconic green copper dome and beautiful facade. However, the most popular feature of this structure are the Clocks and the Steps, found at its famous arched entrance. These clocks are a row of clocks above the entrance which shows the departure for times for each train line and has long been a popular meeting spot and a symbol of Melbourne, as are steps of the wide staircase that sit beneath them. Before the development of Federation Square, this was the primary hangout spot for Melbournians, making the phrases ‘meet me under the clocks’ and ‘meet me on the steps’ popular in the city. It was granted Heritage Listing in 1982.

The nearby Australian Centre for Moving Images Gallery (ACMI), was created from terminals of the Flinders Street Station in 1980. Currently, this building occupies two city blocks from Swanston Street to Queen Street, where you will find the longest platform of Australia and the fourth-longest in the world. Its upper floors house remnants of a ballroom, gymnasium and nursery, all designed to meet the need of the people of the city.

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Flinders Street Station History

The Flinders Street Station opened in 1854, called the Melbourne Terminus at the time. It was the first railway station in an Australian city. The opening of the Princes Bridge station on the opposite side of Swanston Street led to the building of the giant structure of Flinder Street Station as we know it today. With the design being finalised in 1899, the building was officially opened in 1910. It had three floors above ground and two below, with the top floor dedicated to multi-purpose use. Thus, a library, gym, ballroom and nursery were set up, which were used by soldiers and civilians during World War II, after which they were abandoned, and remain the same to this day.

Flinders Street Station Architecture

Opened in 1910, the Flinders Street Station is a beautiful combination of Art Nouveau and French Renaissance styles. Many elements of the building like the broad arches, symmetry in the main sections and use of pressed metal are all indicators of the original architectural design of the place. It is rumoured that the original design was switched with the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai, which currently shows off a Gothic style of architecture. To this day, many of the original elements, including the Victorian facade of the building, the large mirror in the ladies room and the timber signboards, are intact and enjoyed by all kinds of visitors. The large arched entrance of the station is perhaps its most popular feature due to the row of clocks along the top of it, famously called the Clocks in Melbourne. Beneath this entrance is a wide staircase, commonly called the Steps, still used by many people as a meeting spot or a place to chill. The large copper dome of the station is one of its most defining physical features, noticeable throughout the street.

How to Reach Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station is situated along Flinders Street, extending from the Swanston Street - Princes Bridges intersection all the way up to the Queen Street intersection, with the pristine Yarra River flowing behind. Being the Central Railway Station of Melbourne, every train line in the city leads to the station. If you are already in the CBD of Melbourne, you can either use the free tram network to reach the station, or go to one of the following stations: Flagstaff, Parliament or Melbourne Central, and catch a train that will take you to the station through the City Loop.

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