A History of the Future

There’s no such thing as a new idea.  This image from “The Age” of June 6, 1918 shows that the current generation is not the first to want to move commuters underground.

The caption reads: “This block illustrates a section of subway for tram and ‘through’ vehicular traffic proposed by Mr A.T. Clark, of the Public Works Department, as one means of relieving the congestion of traffic in Spencer St and Flinders St.”

“Mr Clark’s idea is that the subway should run under Spencer St, from Lonsdale St to Flinders St to a point beyond Spring St.  Direct communication would be given underground to Flinders Street Station, and there would be numerous entrances and exits along the route.”

The illustration is one of many exhibits on display as part of the A History of the Future: Imagining Melbourne exhibition at the City Gallery at the front of Melbourne Town Hall in Swanston St.

Curator Clare Williamson has compiled an exhibition of building plans, underground roads and public art projects proposed by city planners, architects, artists and writers over the last 180 years that would have changed the city and how we engage with it.

The exhibition also features a 14-metre long panoramic wall drawing by artist Lewis Brownlie whose imagined Melbourne’s cityscape brings some of these dreams and schemes to life.

Ms Williamson said the exhibition contained food for thought for anyone interested in Melbourne’s past, present and future.

“In recent years, Melbourne has been transformed, not by towering landmarks, dramatic demolitions or elevated walkways, but by subtle adjustments to the fine grain of its urban fabric,” Clare said.

The exhibition is open until Friday, August 12. For more information see www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/citygallery

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