Thoughts on new metro station names

Thoughts on new metro station names
Thoughts on new metro station names

Over the weekend, the Premier announced a naming competition for the five 'new' stations that are to be built on the route of the Metro Tunnel project. The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority has reported, via its twitter account, they've received 10,000 suggestions as of Tuesday.

In what looks like an effort to avoid a situation akin to the 'Boaty McBoatface' that occurred in the UK, name suggestions will be shortlisted before being decided upon by a panel chaired by the MMRA's chief executive.

There's been a lively discussion through social media channels about new station names, from the absurd & hilarious to the thoughtful & evocative; from the conservative to the progressive.

I think there's room for both a conservative and progressive view and it's mainly based on geography.

Conservative

For me, the stations currently referred to in all public domain documentation as 'CBD North' and 'CBD South' are clear cut -  let's not complicate the new maps nor confuse existing train users and just call them what they are.

CBD North - Melbourne Central.

CBD South - Flinders Street.

Everyone in Melbourne has heard of or knows where Melbourne Central and Flinders Street are located, as they've been a fixture of Melbourne's rail network for multiple generations.

At these two sites, the existing stations are expanding - Melbourne Central's platforms 5 and 6 and Flinders Street Station's platform 14 and 15.

Progressive

Beyond the two stations mentioned above, there's far more freedom because all three remaining stations are of course brand new.  Absolutely they're in places which have readily identifiable names - Parkville in particular.

However Arden is named after a street, yet will see a completely new TOD suburb spring up around it - is that name, of the existing area, relevant to what it will be in the future?  Why wouldn't you give this new area a completely new name - just like a new suburb on the fringe?

I don't think it's a coincidence the state government launched this competition in the middle of the broader history and public statue debate; a debate that is polarising and at the extreme ends on both sides there's a lot of loopy ideas and bluster.  

With that said, however, there's nothing wrong with debating the kind of city we want, and naming places is one part of that.

There's a petition on change.org which has attracted 8,500 signatures at time of writing, stating that all five stations should be named after the Kulin Nation. While there are five new stations and five nations which make up the Kulin alliance, for the reasons stated above, it's going to be problematic.

Rather, naming the station currently referred to as Parkville as Kulin might be a good compromise.

Thoughts on new metro station names
The original tribes that make up the Kulin nation - map: wikipedia

The station now known as Parkville will one day, if the heavy rail network development plan released in 2012 comes to fruition, have a second underground rail line run through a second set of platforms underneath those that are not far off getting built.  

And those two rail lines will traverse three of the five original tribal lands and connect with each other at Kulin station (currently known as Parkville).

Many of Melbourne's suburbs (and therefore stations) are named after blokes with some exceptions - especially if royalty is involved (such as the Duchess of Brunswick) - and it's this fact that makes me think the argument for refraining from naming stations (and suburbs) after people is weak.

Henrietta Dugdale springs to mind as a candidate for renaming the station currently referred to as Arden.  An activist and founder of the Victoria Women's Suffrage Society in 1884, the first such society in Australia, she lived to see women get the vote in Federal Parliament in 1902 and in Victoria in 1908.

Have you provided suggestions through the Metro Tunnel website?  Share them with us in the comment field below!

Over to you.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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Comments (13)

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CarsRuleOK
A newspapers today said that other names including KIRNER station are popular with a few thousand people who put in naming submission. However anyone under 40 year of age would have little idea who she was but I do as she was Premier of Victoria for a few years until 1993. While being the first female Premier of Victoria I say "so what" as her government brought a $32 billion debt to the newly elected Liberal government. She and John Cain sold the state savings bank, started closing technical school and under her Victoria lost its AAA credit rating amongst other disasters. Name some small park after her in Williamstown if the ALP want it but not a station. Once again a rail station should be named after a suburb or town it is located in, as most stations in Victoria are, or the road it is on like Flinders St or after a prominent building like PARLIAMENT station in the CBD.
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CarsRuleOK
The three station out of the CBD should use the current names Domain,Parkville and Arden. Incidentally Southern Cross station should revert back to its original name Spencer St station. If a visitor asks were the station is we say in Spencer St not up in the sky.
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CarsRuleOK
LIBRARY station and ST PAULS station for the two stations in Swanston St. Prominent reference points help visitors find the station. To the visitor just say "Walk to the state library along Swanston St and Library station is next to it"
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theboynoodle's picture
The transport users association has recommended that the names reflect the locations rather than people (etc) and I tend to agree. The primary purpose of these stations is to enable people to get around, after all. I've said it before, but nobody will ever persuade me that North and South shouldn't be regarded as parts of the existing significant stations they are connected to. I like the idea of giving the Arden precinct a new name, and naming the station accordingly. Kulin sounds great to me, assuming there are no reasons why that is 'problematic' for anyone more sensitive to such matters than I. Parkville is a no-brainer. For Domain, both St Kilda Road and Gardens/Botanical/Botanical Gardens seem more prominent location-based identities than Domain. The tram interchange should be renamed to be regarded as part of the station. So I'll go with: Flinders Street Melbourne Central Parkville Kulin Botanical Gardens
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Rohan Storey's picture
Arden Parkville (or University) LaTrobe (or Library) Swanston (or Catheral) Domain

Lookingupatbuildings

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