Photos from ten years ago: January 2012

Yes, it’s that time again – the January 2012 instalment in my photos from ten years ago series.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year came early in 2012 thanks to the wonders of the lunar calendar, and Melbourne’s Chinatown was the place to be.

Running in circles with the dragon

Pedestrians taking over Little Bourke Street.

Looking past the crowds on Little Bourke Street

And the odd little gravel car park off Corrs Lane.

Car park taken over with festival stalls

Real estate agents hunting for Asian investors were well represented at the market stalls.

More property spruikers at the Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival

As was Metro Trains Melbourne and Hong Kong parent MTR – at their stall you could spin the wheel and win a trinket.

'Metro and MTR wish you a Happy Chinese New Year'

There were also the traditional lion dances.

Another lion dance outside a Melbourne restaurant for Chinese New Year

And the main event – the Dai Loong Dragon procession.

Dai Loong dragon procession at the Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival

Followed by firecrackers being set off everywhere.

Setting off the firecrackers outside a restaurant

Including at Chinese restaurants along Swanston Street.

On the move again on Swanston Street: Z3.216 passes Chinese New Year celebrations

Leaving a trail of exploded crackers.

The aftermath of firecrackers for Chinese New Year

And phone calls to the fire brigade.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade pumper 1A drives through the festival

Parking their trucks as close as they could, then walking to site.

Firefighters in breathing gear investigate a fire alarm

To confirm that it was really just a false alarm.

Firefighters checking out a false fire alarm in a restaurant

Myer Melbourne

Since I was also in the CBD, I swung past the Myer Melbourne redevelopment.

Looking out from the new Myer store to the old

The former Lonsdale Street store on the way down.

Slowly bringing down Myer's Lonsdale Street store

Leaving a big hole behind.

Half way down at Myer's Lonsdale Street store

And a web of scaffolding holding the up the facade.

Looking down on Little Bourke Street from Myer Melbourne

The Emporium Melbourne shopping complex was then constructed inside the shell, opening in 2014.

New trains

Brand new X’Trapolis trains were rolling out of the Alstom workshops at Ballarat.

Unliveried X'Trapolis M car outside the Ballarat Workshops sheds, labelled MC2-103

Where I found this train completed except for the front fairing.

X'Trapolis 137M minus front fairing sitting outside the Alstom Ballarat Workshops

New stations

A new railway station on the Cranbourne line at Lynbrook was well underway.

Steps taking shape to serve the down platform

It opened to passengers a few months later in April 2012.

But out on the Ballarat line things were moving much more slowly at the site of Caroline Springs station – work being abandoned once the access road was completed.

Access road towards the station completed, but blocked off at the roundabout

Work was eventually restarted in 2015, with Caroline Springs station finally opening in 2017.

And the new Regional Rail Link

Footscray station was about to be transformed for the Regional Rail Link project.

Pedestrians cross Irving Street outside Footscray station

A new plaza on Irving Street had just been completed, but needed to be demolished for the new pair of platforms.

Northern plaza now cleaned up and grass planted

While over at North Melbourne work was much more advanced.

Looking north from Dynon Road at the cleared track

Little used tracks in the former freight yard being ripped up to make for the new Regional Rail Link tracks.

Four tracks removed at Melbourne Yard arrivals roads, now covered with gravel

But no platforms were provided.

And west of Werribee the standard gauge freight track had been slewed away from the V/Line tracks, to make room for a massive overpass at the future Manor Junction.

Solo 2-car VLocity passes the future Manor Junction

Scenes that have changed

I found this X’Trapolis train out at Lilydale, an otherwise unremarkable sight.

X'Trapolis 881M departs Lilydale on the up

But today the scene has been completely transformed – a new elevated station occupying the site, constructed as part of the Level Crossing Removal Project.

A handful of ageing Hitachi trains were also still in service.

Rolling across the viaduct and around the curve into Southern Cross

Providing a convenient view into the City Loop tunnels.

Northern Loop: 788 metres to Parliament, 68 metres to the portal

Until they were finally withdrawn from service in December 2013.

And another everyday scene – parked cars at Laverton station almost stretching as far as neighbouring Aircraft station.

Cars parked at Laverton: it's almost closer to walk to Aircraft, except that you need to  buy a zone 1+2 ticket

Back then it was a money saving trick – Aircraft was the first station in zone 2, so by using Laverton station passengers could half their ticket costs – a situation which remained until fares were capped at zone 1 prices in 2015.

Trams go ding

Out at Footscray station a new platform stop was built at the route 82 terminus.

New platform tram stop at Footscray station, with Z3.170 awaiting departure on a route 82 service

But a decade later it is yet to see a low floor tram.

However route 57 got lucky for a few days – air-conditioned B2 class trams were assigned to the route while track work was underway on Mt Alexander Road.

B2.2048 eastbound on Maribyrnong Road, headed for Essendon Depot

But some passengers missed out – these extra services terminated at the Maribyrnong River crossover.

With the cars out of the way, B2.2054 shunts through the Maribyrnong River crossover

And finally – ‘safety’ zones. This time around it wasn’t the one in Ascot Vale that’s been hit 14 times, but a much busier tram stop on William Street at Bourke Street.

Tradie's ute after mounting the safety zone fence on William Street at Bourke Street

Southern Cross Station

I’ve written about passenger congestion at Southern Cross Station before, and in 2012 the problem was the exit towards Collins Street and Docklands.

The ticket gates were overcrowded in morning peak.

Congested exit from Southern Cross to Collins Street and Docklands: it already needs more ticket barriers

And of an evening passengers spilled off the tram stop, trying to find a gap in traffic.

Packed C class tram drops off Docklands workers at Southern Cross Station

Only to find no kerb cut on the other side.

After a few years in the wilderness, the upper level Collins Street exit gets some love from Docklands workers

A situation that wasn’t fixed until 2014, when a proper pedestrian crossing was installed between station and tram stop.

Also at the south end of Southern Cross Station was these abandoned concrete deck above platforms 13 through 16.

Abandoned concrete deck above platforms 13 through 16: originally to house an office building

Originally intended to be the base of an office tower, the space sat empty for a decade.

Lift well for platforms 15 and 16, behind the wall is the extended upper level concourse

Until the 699 Bourke Street and 664 Collins Street office towers were built on the deck between 2013 and 2018.

On the road

A decade ago electric cars were a new fangled mode of transport, when I found a car belonging to the Victorian Government’s ‘Electric Vehicle Trial’.

Rear view, note the special registration plate - "024 EVT"

The $5 million initiative was launched in October 2010 and ran until mid-2014.

More money for roads was the $759 million Peninsula Link freeway being built between Frankston and Moorooduc.

Overpasses for Peninsula Link under construction over Frankston - Dandenong Road in Carrum Downs

It opened to motorists in 2013.

While the poor cousin for transport on the Mornington Peninsula is the route 788 bus from Frankston to Portsea.

Portsea Passenger Service #343 rego 4740AO heads through Blairgowrie on the route 788 Portsea service

After being neglected for years, in 2021 route 788 received an increase in frequency, and in 2022 connecting bus routes were revamped.

And by the water

Down at Webb Dock I found the ‘Tasman Achiever’ ro-ro cargo ship being loaded for another trip across Bass Strait.

'Tasmanian Achiever' laid up for the holiday break

It was replaced in 2019 by the creatively named ‘Tasman Achiever II’.

Over the 2011-12 Christmas and New Year period Searoad Ferries was running a three vessel service between Queenscliff and Sorrento, so I headed down the peninsula for a ride on their original ferry – MV Peninsula Princess.

Old and new ferries pass off Sorrento Pier

Today moored at Queenscliff, MV Peninsula Princess is still available for revenue service when the later ferries are in dry dock.


Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.

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6 Responses to “Photos from ten years ago: January 2012”

  1. Steve says:

    Couldn’t have proper trams crossing the Maribyrnong River!

  2. Benjamin says:

    They really wanted to block that road off!

  3. Andrew says:

    All quite interesting photos. In the 90s we went to Chinese New Year celebrations and the noise of fireworks in Little Bourke Street was horrendous. A fire truck pushed its way along the narrow people filled street to attend to a fire in the upper storey of an old building.

    I was at Laverton Station yesterday and noted the huge car parking area, almost empty of cars.

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