Last week a new clock was unveiled at Southern Cross Station – not a brand new one, but a 130 year old ‘Water Tower Clock’ that was originally installed at Flinders Street Station.
The clock was built in 1882 for the original Flinders Street Station, and has been relocated a number of times – first to Princes Bridge Station in 1902 to allow the construction of the current Flinders Street Station, and then to Spencer Street Station in 1910. There it remained until 1967 when the old Spencer Street Station building was erected, resulting in the mechanism being given to Museum Victoria and the turret sold for scrap, but later rescued by private collectors.
Eventually the clock ended up back in public hands, when in 1999 the then-Minister for Transport purchased the clock intending for it to be placed back at Flinders Street Station, but the project stalled, resulting in it being placed on display at the Scienceworks museum at Spotswood.
In February 2014 it was revealed that the clock would be moving home yet again – this time back to Southern Cross Station.
Work on a new stand for the clock at the Collins Street station entrance commenced in April.
With a LED video screen being installed inside the stand.
On May 14 a stage, seats and lighting were all set up ready for the unveiling of the clock.
With Transport Minister Terry Mulder carrying out the official unveiling.
The screen beneath was displaying a video loop describing the history of the Water Tower Clock.
At the bottom of the screen were animated trains, each flying a flag of a corporate sponsor.
As to the industry super fund logos – it turns out the ‘IFM Investors’ (formerly ‘Industry Funds Management’) sponsored the restoration of the clock.
The same day a government media release was issued, with a telling quote from the Transport Minister:
“The restoration of the clock has been made possible by a partnership between Southern Cross Station operators and Public Transport Victoria,” Mr Mulder said.
Fast forward to May 19, and look what is displayed on the video wall – full screen advertisements!
Don’t get between the management of Southern Cross Station and their adverting revenue!
The Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure has since uploaded a video of the official unveiling, which features the video loop describing the history of the Water Tower Clock.
At the same event there were a number of JCDecaux staff in attendance – the same company manages advertising at Southern Cross Station. I should have twigged to this earlier…
June 2014 update
Looks like somebody in charge wasn’t happy about the non-stop advertising beneath the clock – a shortened version of the historical video has now been inserted into the loop of commercial messages.