There's a decaying ballroom in Flinders Street Station. Really. Once used as a lecture theatre, a dance hall and even a private boxing ring, the ballroom is hidden up the western end of the station’s third story. You'd be forgiven for missing it, the whole site's been closed to the public since 1985. But now, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a facelift for Flinders Street Station, with $100 million allocated to upgrades and repairs — and the crumbling ballroom.
Speaking on 3AW radio this morning and reported by The Age, Andrews stated that work on the refurbishment would begin as soon as possible, with areas of focus including upgrades to the platforms, information displays and toilets, as well as repairs to the iconic clock tower and crumbling ballroom. The restoration is expected to take between four and five years, and includes plans to accommodate additional commercial tenants.
So what's to become of the grand ol' ballroom? The government plans to have chats with the private sector and universities to find new uses for the ballroom, as well as various other vacant rooms within the 110-year-old station which are currently in a state of disrepair. Previous proposals for the station’s upgrade have included a railway museum, an art gallery, as well as bars, cafes and retail spaces.
"It needs to be restored to its former glory," said the premier, whose government has already scrapped his predecessor's plan for a costly (and rather hideous) redesign. "This is not a design problem, this is a disrepair problem," Andrews said.