Flinders Street Station’s crumbling, much-loved interior will have to wait for attention, as work begins on the station’s dilapidated, water-damaged exterior.
Earlier this week, the Victorian government announced it will invest $100 million to maintain the exterior of the building and improve customer experience. But in the meantime, the inside of the heritage-listed building may suffer. “In some places [like the ballroom], water is leaking into the building and causing plasterwork to crumble,” says Jeremy Gronow of Major Projects Victoria, the organisation overseeing maintenance.
Over the past decade, sections of the roof have been waterproofed and repaired, while funding has gone into building retail stores and refurbishing offices and lifts. The interior has mostly been left abandoned.
Work cannot begin on the inside until the building is made “structurally sound and waterproof”, Gronow explains. This could take as long as four years, during which more water will seep through the roof and the ballroom and administration buildings will be left to deteriorate.
Flinders Street Station has been in use since 1910 and is Victoria’s oldest, busiest transport hub. It accomodates around 26 million people every year, and 100,000 people every day. As an already dilapidated building, Gronow says it “requires constant maintenance.”
Melburnians hanging out for the chance to celebrate in the iconic rooftop ballroom space are just going to have to wait. Maybe down at the newly reburbished George Ballroom in St Kilda.