|What is significant?
The Williamstown line and the first section of the Echuca Railway (to Sunbury) were opened simultaneously on January 13, 1859. North Melbourne Railway Station was the junction between these two lines. The first passenger station, with two platforms was opened at North Melbourne on December 6, 1859, and the present six platform station, constructed further towards the city, was opened on June 9 1886. The existing low-level lines leading to Essendon were regularly used by suburban trains until 1923. The high level tracks now used by suburban services were opened on January 20, 1924. North Melbourne Railway Complex as built in 1886 consisted of six platforms with four platform buildings containing ladies toilets and a ladies waiting room. A booking office and station masters office were situated over the entrance to the ramp of platform one. The bridge over the railway line was originally a road bridge, and arcaded with attractive stonework detailing. There were porters rooms and male toilet facilities under each of the ramps. Sections of the 1886 station that still remain include, three platform buildings, four platforms and ramps and remnants of the original bridge. A new station building at the top of ramp one was constructed in 1974, replacing the 1886 building. The 1886 platform buildings are constructed of red brick with cream brick banding. Each has a verandah, which extends to the end of the ramps and cantilevers over the platforms. The verandahs have low profile cast iron lace work. The ramps also built in 1886 are constructed of red brick and are supported by a series of brick arches, they still retain the rooms below, however the interiors are in poor condition.
How is it significant?
The North Melbourne Railway Station Complex is of architectural, aesthetic, social and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The North Melbourne Railway Station Complex is of architectural and aesthetic importance for its series of elegant platform buildings. The buildings, which each contain a ladies waiting room and toilets and include large verandahs are unique in Victoria. Other details of note are, the splayed form of the buildings and the retention of interior details such as the pressed metal fire surround in the waiting room of platform 4-5, overhead water tanks in platform 4-5 and 6-7 and ceiling roses in all of the remaining 1886 platform buildings. The substantial ramps and the rooms situated under them are important structures. Although the interiors have deteriorated the floor plans are intact and remnant partitioning and details remain. Of particular note are the extant timber louvres used in the windows.
The North Melbourne Railway Station Complex is of social and historical significance as the platform buildings demonstrate the priority given to ladies' comfort during the Victorian era and are reminiscent of social attitudes at the time. Each platform building includes a waiting room and closets for the ladies, while the gentlemen were not provided with waiting rooms and their closets were situated under the ramps. The North Melbourne Railway Complex is important for its potential to yield information on the changing nature of railways, locomotive technology and public transport use in Victoria. The elegance of the buildings is indicative of the romantic nature of rail travel in the 1880s. The North Melbourne Railway Complex is historically important for its association with the early establishment of railway networks in Victoria. North Melbourne was the junction between the Williamstown line, and the first section of the Echuca Railway. These were both opened in 1859 and were the first lines to be opened by the Victorian Railways Department.