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 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.
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.