Thoughts on new metro station names

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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.


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.


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 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.

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Discussion (13 comments)

Laurence Dragomir's picture

I think the CBD stations are the only one's that need new names. Domain, Arden and Parkville all make sense in terms of their respective locations.

I'm not sure about just using Melbourne Central and Flinders Street even if the new metro stations have a connection to them - i think it could become confusing from a wayfinding and legibility point of view.

Looking at the MURL stations and their naming convention (Parliamemt, Flagstaff, Melbourne Central) they're named after a key landmark in their respective locations.

With CBD South having multiple entries along Swanston Street, at City Square, at Fed Square and CBD North at the corner of LaTrobe/Swanston and Franklin St it makes it a bit trickier.

You don't want to name CBD North after RMIT or call it University but the other most notable landmarks in that part of the CBD are the City Baths, the State Library, Melbourne Central and the Queen Vic Market.

For CBD South you have key civic buildings Fed Square, Flinders Street Station, St Paul's, the Town Hall, and a rebuilt City Square.

My take which features a mix of everything and is probably inconsistent with what I wrote above haha.

CBD North: Madame Brussels Station (just for the hell of it)
CBD South: Civic Station
Domain: stays but if i had to pick an alternate name I'd go for Memorial Station
Parkville stays or Peter MacCallum Station
Arden stays or Willam Station (means camp in the Woiwurrung language)

Michael Berquez's picture

For me....
CBD North - University
CBD South - Federation
Domain as is
Parkville as is
Arden as is

Aussie Steve's picture

CBD North can either be Melbourne Central or City Baths or State Library. It can't be University, as "The University" is The University of Melbourne and not RMIT. Using the word "university" will cause confusion, as there are many university campus' in Melbourne.

As for CBD South, it can also be Flinders Street or St Paul's. Federation Square is a possibility.

johnproctor's picture

I have thought about this a lot over a number of years...

Agree with Steve - I can't see how any station can be called University on the basis that Melbourne Uni would want Parkville to be named that and RMIT would want CBD North. (and Monash would want Caulfield and...).

For the wayfinding reasons I tend to agree with Laurence that Melbourne Central and Flinders Street are more problematic than people realise.

Especially Flinders Street Street where platforms 1-12 run from north to south (including a couple of platforms actually east of Prince Bridge) and then 13/14 would be the most northern platforms.

My names would be:

Arden - something of relevance in a local aboriginal langage. Willam isn't bad (although could be confused with William), not sure what the Moonee Ponds Creek was called by aboriginal people etc.

Parkville - Parkville

CBD North - Melbourne Central 5/6

CBD South - Town Hall

Domain - Remembrance (I like the resonance of the word Remembrance but can't see it actually winning maybe Shrine)

You'd be surprised how many people don't really know what the 'Domain' is or refers to. Domain interchange is the tram stop, but the Kings Domain parkland is really the park surrounding Sidney Myer Music Bowl with the nearest parkland to the station being the Shrine or even Botanical Gardens. Obviously Domain Road is right there which also helps with naming if Domain were picked.

I would also consider calling Domain Station - "South Melbourne Station."

While I concede it is on the edge only it is only 1km walk to Clarendon Street, meaning all of South Melbourne east of Clarendon is pretty walkable to the station. Throw in the fact passengers would have direct tram connections to Kings Way, Clarendon Street and possibly further west to the Bay and a lot of 'South Melbourne" would have good access to the station. A complication would be the old South Melbourne station now on Route 96 at South Melbourne Market.

Maybe just "St Kilda Road Station" would broaden peoples thinking on where they would get to than just "Domain" or "Shrine" station.

ford wong's picture

I think the South CBD station should call "Port Phillip"
The Gov forced aquired Port Phillip Arcade (which was Port Phillip Hotel in the 19th century) to build this station.
In front of the Arcade wall, there is a sculpture of the King of the seas "Neptune" holding a sea folk protecting the safety of Port Phillip Bay where on the front entrance a cast iron gate with 19th century sailing ship sailing peacefully in the Bay.
I believe that these 2 sculptures should be kept and re-install in the new station which was the gate to the Bay and call this station "Port Phillip"

James Adams's picture

My thoughts:
Arden - Arden or perhaps an opportunity for an indigenous name which should match the new suburb
Parkville - University (lots of cities have university stations for their main universities, and Melbourne Uni is named directly after the city, unlike Monash and others)
CBD North - Melbourne Central
CBD South - Flinders Street
Domain - unsure, but I don't think Domain is such a terrible name

pdoff's picture

Melbourne Central
Flinders Street

Michael Bell's picture

From a wayfinding point of view, stations should be named for either their recognised location, or a significant and lasting landmark in that location. That's why Flinders Street and Parliament work, but Southern Cross and Melbourne Central suck.

Parkville - call it Parkville. It represents its location.

Arden should be called North Melbourne, but it can't because that name is taken. So call it Arden. It's a reasonable compromise - the name has a longstanding association with the area, the street and the sports ground.

Domain - call it Domain. It represents its location, and is already used as the name of the significant Tram interchange at that location.

CBD North and CBD South should be called Melbourne Central and Flinders Street. Because they will be accessible - directly interchangeable - with those existing stations without leaving the paid area. They will simply be additional platforms at an existing location. (If travellers had to leave the station to move from one to the other - common in Tokyo when moving between subway and above ground metro stations, at exactly the same location - them by all means, call them different names.)

The argument about them having entries all over the place, a long way from the current stations, is irrelevant. All stations should have entries a long way from their centroid. We shouldn't let Melbourne's lazy attitude to providing Station access get in the way of naming a station.

Rohan Storey's picture

Parkville (or University)
LaTrobe (or Library)
Swanston (or Catheral)


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
Botanical Gardens

Adrian Jackson's picture

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"

Adrian Jackson's picture

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.

Adrian Jackson's picture

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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