Victoria’s sham ‘new station name’ contests

There seems to be an ongoing theme every time a new railway station is built in Victoria – fake community engagement with a station naming contest.

VLocity VL32 and classmate pass the future Caroline Springs station on an up Ballarat service

The tradition of sham naming contests started back in 2004 with the announcement of the new railway station at Grovedale, in the southern suburbs of Geelong.

The Minister for Transport, Mr Peter Batchelor today announced Marshall would be the name of the new train station to be located in the southern suburbs of Geelong.

Mr Batchelor said it was an appropriate name for the station, which was located on Marshalltown Road, in the locality of Marshall.

“There were some very compelling entries submitted into the naming competition for this station. We received the most nominations for the name Marshall and it has received positive backing from the local community,” Mr Batchelor said.

“Marshalltown Road was previously the site for a station named Marshall, so this name is really in keeping with tradition.”

Marshall wasn’t exactly an imaginative name, but it did differ from the original ‘Grovedale’ working title for the station – so the naming contest actually achieved something.

The pretence of community engagement rose again in 2007, when a new railway station was announced for Wendouree, on the outskirts of Ballarat.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky today reminded Ballarat residents that entries for the new Ballarat Station naming competition closed soon.

“Entries for the competition close on April 16, so there is still time to send in your ideas,” Ms Kosky said.

Ms Kosky said the entries would be judged on their relevance to the local area as well as ensuring the name was easily recognisable for both local residents and visitors. The winner will be asked to attend the official opening of the new station in 2008 and share in the festivities of the day.

The obvious name of ‘Wendouree’ was the winner – being both the name of the suburb, the name of the large lake located nearby, and the name of a railway station that occupied the site decades ago.

We now skip forward to 2010, when the “community engagement” sham reached new heights with the launch of two naming contests – one at Caroline Springs.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula was today joined by the Member for Kororoit Marlene Kairouz to turn the first sod at the site of the new station which is part of a $220 million package for new stations in Melbourne’s growth areas.

“The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to ensure people in Melbourne’s west have good access to public transport services,” Mr Pakula said. … “The station, due to open in 2012, will serve current and future public transport needs and help people access jobs, study and also stay connected with family and friends.”

Over 200 suggestions were received following a competition to name the new station. The name of the station will be announced later this year.

And a second for Cardinia Road station:

Residents in Melbourne’s growing south-east will have access to improved rail services with the start of construction of a new station at Cardinia Road.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula was today joined by the Member for Gembrook Tammy Lobato to turn the first sod at the site of the new station which is part of a $220 million package for new stations in Melbourne’s growth areas.

Over 200 suggestions were received following a competition to name the new station. The name of the station will be announced later this year.

New stations are also being built at Williams Landing, Caroline Springs and Lynbrook.

The level of consideration given to the above naming contests is apparent when you take a look at the media releases for both projects – the same “200 suggestions” figure appears in both!

In any case the suggestions went nowhere – no follow up media release was ever issued to announce a winner, and both Caroline Spring and Cardinia Road stations retained their original working titles for the entire life of the project.

Finally, we arrive at 2015 where Public Transport Victoria appear to have learned the lesson of their predecessors and dropped the entire idea of running a naming contest – with the new Southland station on the Frankston line, PTV just calls out “feedback from the community” as the driver behind the name.

We have considered the feedback received from the community, public transport users and stakeholders about the name of the new station and can confirm that it will be called ‘Southland Station’ as it makes the location of the station easily identifiable for visitors and emergency services.

I wonder what names the new Melbourne Metro stations will be given?

An update for the Metro Tunnel

In August 2017 the government announced a naming contest for the five new Metro Tunnel stations.

The Andrews Labor Government is giving Victorians a once-in-a-generation chance to make their mark on Melbourne by naming the five new underground stations to be built as part of the Metro Tunnel Project.

Victorians will have the opportunity to name the new stations located at Arden, Parkville, Domain and under Swanston Street in the CBD.

All suggestions will be considered and ideas could draw on a range of elements, including geographic locations, local heritage and people who have made a significant historical contribution to Victorian life.

An advisory panel will assess all suggestions and submit a shortlist of names to the Government for consideration.

Winners will get an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Metro Tunnel worksites and the massive Tunnel Boring Machines, as well as an exclusive sneak peak of ‘their’ station just before it opens to the public.

Victorians have until 22 October to submit their station name suggestions at

With the names revealed in November 2017.

The Andrews Labor Government has revealed the names of the five new stations that will transform Melbourne’s train network, following an extensive public submission process that attracted over 50,000 suggestions.

The Metro Tunnel station under Franklin Street will be called State Library Station.

The new station under City Square will be called Town Hall Station, while the underground station next to the Shrine will be named Anzac Station.

The new station near Melbourne University and hospital and research precinct will be known as Parkville, while the new station at Arden will be named North Melbourne.

The existing North Melbourne Station will be renamed West Melbourne to better reflect its location.

The public submission process attracted more than 50,000 suggestions, with the entries showing that most Victorians wanted names that reflected the station’s locations.

But it turns out the new name wasn’t even popular – with Southbank Local News discovering via a Freedom of Information request that the entire contest was a sham.

The state government’s integrity has again been called to question over its handling of its Metro Tunnel “station naming competition.”

It comes after a request for the results under Freedom of Information (FoI) by Southbank Local News, which reveals that only one of the five metro tunnel names were actually chosen by the community.

The results reveal that only one of the names (State Library) actually recorded the most public votes, while the others were the government’s most preferred names.

The name Domain actually recorded the most votes, 2397 to be exact, while Anzac recorded a mere 362. Elsewhere, Arden recorded 2935 votes to North Melbourne’s 162, St Paul’s recorded 585 votes to Town Hall’s 345 and University 2649 to Parkville’s 2131.

MMRA corporate communications and media manager Reid Sexton said: “From day one and throughout the process we clearly stated that an advisory panel would assess all suggestions before submitting a shortlist of names to the State Government for consideration.”

“This was promoted as a competition because that’s what it was – people had to have their suggestion chosen by government to be eligible to go into a random draw to win.”

Renaming the current North Melbourne station was a dubious proposal – so I was relieved in January 2020 when the name swap was abandoned. Now to rename ‘Anzac Station’ back to Domain!

And a new tactic

Naming contests are no longer the preferred way of appearing to consult the community – instead they’re asking about opinions on artwork.

And paint colours.


Apparently the working title of Caroline Springs station was Ravenhall – the name popping up in myki transaction logs for a few months after opening.

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8 Responses to “Victoria’s sham ‘new station name’ contests”

  1. andrew says:

    Minor correction. The original Wendouree station was 900 metres east of the current site; at Forrest St and adjacent to the current Wendouree shopping centre. The current site (roughly) had been opened as a Rail Motor Stopping Place by 1957, and in 1964 was named ‘Linton Junction RMSP’. It was closed as a RMSP in 1977, but no railmotors had passed to stop since 1976 when the Linton line closed to passengers.

  2. Paul says:

    Given the locations and connections of the CBD stations, they really should just be called Flinders St and Melbourne Central.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      That is also how I’d name them – CBD North and CBD South should have the same name as the stations they are sitting beside. Otherwise you’d have confused passengers changing trains at Caulfield or Footscray because their train isn’t headed to the ‘right’ station, despite the two ‘stations’ being part of the same complex.

  3. Philip says:

    Yes, all of our stations have names that make sense because of the area they’re located in. All except for Southern Cross, of course, the name of which nails down its location to somewhere on the southern half of the planet.

  4. Darren says:

    You forgot to mention a certain station between St Albans and Sunbury that got (re)built in 2002. The name of it varied depending on where you were looking. Whether it be the station signs, the brickwork in the building, the train headboard, the information screens at Flinders St, various train maps, the Metrol line calls through the speaker or the station staff answering the telephone.

    What is the name of that station ???

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