Swanston Street runs north from the Yarra River after crossing the river on Princes Bridge, gently rising and deviating when it reaches Franklin Street just short of Carlton. At the top is the massive educational institution, RMIT, the City Baths and the underground Melbourne Central Station, which certainly is not central. For much of its length it is for pedestrians, bicycles and trams. This is widely ignored and rarely policed. At any time of the day you can find private cars, delivery vehicles, tradesmen, taxis, emergency vehicles, horses and carts (up to a dozen of them lined up). Trams ringing their bells at constantly straying pedestrians and cyclists ringing their bells at pedestrians wandering along the cycleways create background music to the chaos.
This is the corner of Flinders Street. On the north eastern corner is the historic and lovely St Pauls Cathedral.
NW, the historic and loved Young and Jacksons Hotel, aka Princes Bridge Hotel, replete with inappropriate electronic advertising.
SW, the grand, historic and much bastardised Flinders Street Station. The façade is still good, but it does need a repaint, last done in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Often photographers can be seen across the intersection at St Pauls, lining their lens up with the station and at night on a tripod.
SE we have the very modern Federation Square, disliked by many people but as a public space, it is very popular with lots to interest within and out. I'll 'explore' Fed Square with the camera one day.
We head north up Swanston Street, across Flinders Lane to the NE corner of Collins Street where Melbourne Town Hall takes pride of corners.
The terrific Manchester Unity Building is on the NW corner.
The SW corner is rather unfortunate.
The SE corner has the small City Square. It has been re-invented many times, land stolen, well sold, for Westin Hotel to be built and mostly used for commercial purposes. There are a couple of elevated grass areas to sit, but that is about it. The grassed areas are so popular, each area has to be rotationally roped off to have a rest and the grass rejuvenate.
North we go again, across Little Collins Street to Bourke Street. To the left is Bourke Street Mall with pedestrians and trams and much less violated by other vehicles than Swanston Street. To the right is a large tram platform stop. NE we have this art deco building which has been extended upwards, in the early 1980s I think. My dominant memory of it is huge advertising down the corner of it advertising the brand new Windows 95, a huge change from Windows 3.1! Last time I visited Step Mother, she was still using Windows 3.1. Surely she has upgraded by now. The dominant logo is for Telstra, our major privatised telecommunications company, previously known as Telecom.
Some nice buildings adjacent on the NW corner, but the actual building on the corner is rather ordinary. At least it does not dominate.
The old Leviathan Store on the SW corner, once a clothing retailer. It needs painting but its a nice building.
Who said this might look good on the SE corner? It doesn't, although it does look better when it is illuminated at night.
I just slipped in this one further along Swanston Street as an example of how old buildings can be re-used, with modern flats built on top to ensure more profits.
It is hard to say which of the three featured corners is the nicest. Flinders Street with east west and north bound traffic turning into Flinders Street rather overwhelms the corner. Collins Street has cross traffic too, but it's less manic traffic. The ambience is Bourke Street is probably the best. I will pick Collins Street though, with the Town Hall, Manchester Unity Building and the openness of the City Square.