Originally known as "City Square" (1968), Melbourne's first public square was considered to have been a failure. The seven acre space between the Central Business District and the Yarra River previously had been home to a fish market, the City Morgue, corporate offices, and rail yards. In 1997, the City Council sponsored an intense design competition intended to make this area more appealing. The U-shaped result became known as "Federation Square", and is bordered by the Flinders Street Rail Station, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Yarra River. Its anchor buildings include the Australian Center for Moving Images (ACMI) - which includes the SBS television station-, the National Gallery, the Yarra Building, a Jumbotron screen/stage area for major public events, and (more importantly for us) the Melbourne Visitor Center( where we were able to explore various walking tours of the city). Reminding us of the debacle surrounding Boston's "Big Dig", the final costs of constructing Federation Square ran more than four times the original estimate. According to Melbourne's own statistics, more than 80 million visitors per year pass through this square. Recently, Melbourne authorities revealed that they had stopped a coordinated terror attack on Federation Square, planned for Christmas Day. This news was partly responsible for our posting about the Square at this time.
This seven acre, U-Shaped Federation Square attracts more than 80 million visitors per year.
The Australian Center for Moving Images (ACMI) building is one of the anchor tenants of the square. It also houses the SBS television station...
...as is the National Gallery...
...and the uniquely designed Yarra building.
For us, the most important building was the Melbourne Visitor Center. Here, we were able to explore what city attractions we wanted to see and what free walking tours we wanted to take.
Directly opposite Federation Square is the Flinders Street Rail Station, a tourist attraction in its own right.
Diagonally opposite the Flinders Street Rail Station, St. Paul's Cathedral also borders the square.
Across the Yarra River, and within sight of Federation Sqaure, is the Eiffel Tower-looking Melbourne Art Center, dedicated to the performing arts.
The Jumbotron screen/stage area is used for special public events...including major sports broadcasts.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.