Station name changes

 
  Spletsie Chief Commissioner

Just wondering if anyone has any reliable information on when the name Melbourne Terminus was changed to Flinders Street and when Batman's Hill was changed to Spencer Street.

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Just wondering if anyone has any reliable information on when the name Melbourne Terminus was changed to Flinders Street and when Batman's Hill was changed to Spencer Street.
Spletsie

Just wondering if...

...you thought to look up Wikipedia...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Cross_railway_station

M.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

It’s hard to find anything definitive. Perhaps you have to look at it in the context of the suburban railway network development. Up until 1878 the two stations were run by different operators. Spencer Street was run by the Victorian Railways. Flinders Street was run by what, through takeover and amalgamation, ultimately became the Melbourne & Hobson’s Bay United Railways. Melbourne as a terminus name, rather than either Spencer or Flinders Streets, seems to have been used by both.

A M&HBUR 1865 monthly ticket from Museum Victoria’s website:
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/2215

An 1874 diagram of Spencer Street, labelled ‘Victorian Railways General Plan of the Melbourne Terminus’ from victorianrailways.net website:
https://www.victorianrailways.net/signaling/completedia/SpSt-EssJcn_Dec1874.pdf
Between Box E & D, there’s a signal marked ‘Batman’s Hill Station Main Semaphore’.

The last page (page 18) of this 1879 timetable, from victorianrailways.net website, has Melbourne (Spencer-street) as part of the heading, yet Batman’s Hill has listings in Signal Whistles, on page 3:
http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/VR%20WTT%201Nov1879.pdf
In the List of Stations, only Melbourne (p4) and Prince’s Bridge (p5) are mentioned. Prince’s Bridge would have been recently been reopened, having been closed in 1865 when a connection to Flinders Street was dug under Swanston Street. It was originally the terminus of the Beach (later Brighton Beach) and Hawthorn lines, which were acquired by the M&HBUR in 1865.

In 1878 the VR took over the M&HBUR so maybe that’s when the need to distinguish between the two stations became a necessity. Melbourne would suffice for ticketing but Spencer or Flinders Street would be required for timetabling.

This page from vrhistory.com has 10-year snapshots of the rail network from 1860, with Melbourne area insets:
http://www.vrhistory.com/VRMaps/index.htm
Note: The 1860 map is not listed in the Contents. You can click on it from the Historical Overview section.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

It’s hard to find anything definitive. Perhaps you have to look at it in the context of the suburban railway network development. Up until 1878 the two stations were run by different operators. Spencer Street was run by the Victorian Railways. Flinders Street was run by what, through takeover and amalgamation, ultimately became the Melbourne & Hobson’s Bay United Railways. Melbourne as a terminus name, rather than either Spencer or Flinders Streets, seems to have been used by both.
kitchgp

Indeed.

To add another layer of complexity, there is nothing that says either railway organisation had to be internally consistent at any point in time. What they called the signals may have nothing to do with what is on the platform nameboard which may bear only a passing resemblence to what is in the timetable. If you have a choice, what is the 'name' of a station?

To add icing to the cake, it's quite likely that the names 'Flinders-street' and 'Spencer-street' to distinguish the two stations by the public (and later the staff) long predate any official use of the names. The organisations would have no need to internally distinguish between the two stations until the M&HBUR was bought out, but the public certainly would have needed to.

Indeed, this may be the underlying issue. It's quite likely that the 'unofficial' names gradually became more and more official until they took over.

Even today - what is on (at least some) of the large c1910 nameboards at Flinders Street?
  Spletsie Chief Commissioner

It’s hard to find anything definitive. Perhaps you have to look at it in the context of the suburban railway network development. Up until 1878 the two stations were run by different operators. Spencer Street was run by the Victorian Railways. Flinders Street was run by what, through takeover and amalgamation, ultimately became the Melbourne & Hobson’s Bay United Railways. Melbourne as a terminus name, rather than either Spencer or Flinders Streets, seems to have been used by both.

A M&HBUR 1865 monthly ticket from Museum Victoria’s website:
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/2215

An 1874 diagram of Spencer Street, labelled ‘Victorian Railways General Plan of the Melbourne Terminus’ from victorianrailways.net website:
https://www.victorianrailways.net/signaling/completedia/SpSt-EssJcn_Dec1874.pdf
Between Box E & D, there’s a signal marked ‘Batman’s Hill Station Main Semaphore’.

The last page (page 18) of this 1879 timetable, from victorianrailways.net website, has Melbourne (Spencer-street) as part of the heading, yet Batman’s Hill has listings in Signal Whistles, on page 3:
http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/VR%20WTT%201Nov1879.pdf
In the List of Stations, only Melbourne (p4) and Prince’s Bridge (p5) are mentioned. Prince’s Bridge would have been recently been reopened, having been closed in 1865 when a connection to Flinders Street was dug under Swanston Street. It was originally the terminus of the Beach (later Brighton Beach) and Hawthorn lines, which were acquired by the M&HBUR in 1865.

In 1878 the VR took over the M&HBUR so maybe that’s when the need to distinguish between the two stations became a necessity. Melbourne would suffice for ticketing but Spencer or Flinders Street would be required for timetabling.

This page from vrhistory.com has 10-year snapshots of the rail network from 1860, with Melbourne area insets:
http://www.vrhistory.com/VRMaps/index.htm
Note: The 1860 map is not listed in the Contents. You can click on it from the Historical Overview section.
kitchgp

Thanks kitchgp

I have also found that the name Melbourne or Melbourne Terminus was used for both stations. It makes sense that there was no need for the distinction of names until they were both part of Victorian Railways. Everyone on a particular train would have known where it was going and where they were getting off. The actual name wasn’t so important. They obviously were not thinking about people who in 2020 would be trying to discover the history of station names.

Thanks for sharing those links. Following are some links to documents I have been looking at.

The annual report of the Board of Land and Works refers to ‘Batman’s Hill’ in several places in its listings of ‘Contracts in progress’ in the report for the year ending 30 June 1875, but there are no references to ‘Batman’s Hill’ for the half year ending 30 June 1876. Both have various references to ‘Melbourne Terminus’ but none to ‘Spencer Street’.
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1875-76No62.pdf
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1877-78No21.pdf

The annual report for the year ending 1877 has a listing of stations on page 45, which lists ‘Melbourne’ as the as the first entry, which seems to refer to Spencer Street.
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1878No6.pdf

The 1878 report has one reference to ‘Spencer and Flinders Street stations’ and one to ‘Flinders Street Terminus’. There are various references to ‘Melbourne Terminus’.
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1879-80No9.pdf

The annual report of the Board of Land and Works for the year ending 31 December 1879 has various references to ‘Melbourne Terminus’, two references to ‘Spencer and Flinders Street stations’ and one to ‘Spencer Street station’. The listing of stations on page 39 still has ‘Melbourne’ as the first entry. ‘Princes Bridge’ is also listed but I can’t see Flinders Street.
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1880-81No14.pdf

The annual report of the Board of Land and Works for the year ending 31 December 1880 has various references to ‘Melbourne Terminus’, and one reference to ‘Spencer and Flinders Street stations’. The listing of stations on page 33 seems the same as for 1879.
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1881No20.pdf

By the annual report of the Board of Land and Works for the year ending 31 December 1881, the list of stations on page 39 has ‘Melbourne (Spencer Street)’, ‘Melbourne (Princes Bridge)’ and ‘Melbourne (Flinders Street)’, although ‘Melbourne Terminus’ is referred to in other sections of the report.
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1882-83No48.pdf

So, my current interpretation of the available information is that ‘Batman’s Hill’ went out of use as a station name by 1876 with ‘Melbourne’ continuing to be used for a few more years. ‘Spencer Street’ and ‘Flinders Street’ came into usage from about 1878, overlapping with ‘Melbourne’ or ‘Melbourne Terminus’. Over time the names ‘Spencer Street’ and ‘Flinders Street’ became the general usage in Victorian Railways documents.
  Spletsie Chief Commissioner

It’s hard to find anything definitive. Perhaps you have to look at it in the context of the suburban railway network development. Up until 1878 the two stations were run by different operators. Spencer Street was run by the Victorian Railways. Flinders Street was run by what, through takeover and amalgamation, ultimately became the Melbourne & Hobson’s Bay United Railways. Melbourne as a terminus name, rather than either Spencer or Flinders Streets, seems to have been used by both.

Indeed.

To add another layer of complexity, there is nothing that says either railway organisation had to be internally consistent at any point in time. What they called the signals may have nothing to do with what is on the platform nameboard which may bear only a passing resemblence to what is in the timetable. If you have a choice, what is the 'name' of a station?

To add icing to the cake, it's quite likely that the names 'Flinders-street' and 'Spencer-street' to distinguish the two stations by the public (and later the staff) long predate any official use of the names. The organisations would have no need to internally distinguish between the two stations until the M&HBUR was bought out, but the public certainly would have needed to.

Indeed, this may be the underlying issue. It's quite likely that the 'unofficial' names gradually became more and more official until they took over.

Even today - what is on (at least some) of the large c1910 nameboards at Flinders Street?
historian

Thanks historian.

Yes, I have seen the lack of consistency in other areas. For example, the government railways in New South Wales from 1932 to 1972 were officially the ‘Department of Railways, New South Wales’, but during this time they were often called by the earlier name of ‘New South Wales Government Railways’, even in railway documents.

The usage of the names ‘Spencer Street’ and ‘Flinders Street’ by the public before official usage is reflected in newspapers at the time. Searching through Trove, I have found various newspaper articles were using ‘Spencer Street station’ by 1872, with some references extending back to 1860. Several references to ‘Flinders Street station’ were in newspapers in 1878, with at least one recorded in 1861. I suspect ‘Spencer Street’ and ‘Flinders Street’ were names used by many members of the public well before they came into official usage.

  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Spletsie; you just put 10 years on me. I saw your name on the thread and thought, "Please don't tell me he's done a quiz on station name changes."Laughing
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Spletsie; you just put 10 years on me. I saw your name on the thread and thought, "Please don't tell me he's done a quiz on station name changes."Laughing
Valvegear
Quiet VG, you'll give him ideas! Cool. That one would sort out those who know their stuff!!!!
  Spletsie Chief Commissioner

Spletsie; you just put 10 years on me. I saw your name on the thread and thought, "Please don't tell me he's done a quiz on station name changes."Laughing
Valvegear
Cheers Valvegear. You can relax.

I'm working on some more quizzes, but not on station name changes. Hmmm. Not yet anyway. Laughing

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