Where the hell is Truganina?

Truganina has been in the news a lot lately thanks to a series of coronavirus outbreaks, but there is something else notable about the suburb – it’s arguably the largest and most confusing suburb in all of Melbourne.

Brand new housing estates in the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina

The confusion starts

In June 2021 a BP service station on the Western Freeway was reported as an exposure site.

But when you put the address into Google Maps, it shows that the service station is nowhere near Truganina – it’s north of the next suburb over, Ravenhall.

Yet Google Maps also lists the service station’s address as being in Truganina.

So what gives?

So where is Truganina?

To get a definitive answer on the suburb’s boundaries, I turned to the Victorian Register of Geographic Names. Turns out Truganina is a massive suburb, covering 56 square kilometres.

Stretching 15 kilometres from the Western Freeway, Rockbank station and the Ballarat railway line in the north.

Down to Hoppers Crossing and Williams Landing in the south – almost reaching the Princes Freeway and Werribee railway line.

So time to explore!

The southern end of Truganina is cookie cutter housing estates just like any other growth area of Melbourne.

Brand new housing estates in the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina

The selling point being the (relatively!) low prices for land.

'Truganina land for sale' advertisement at Aircraft station

And V/Line trains to Southern Cross Station, which use the Regional Rail Link route opened in 2015.

VLocity VL46 departs Tarneit on the up

Westbourne Grammar School also has a campus here, opened back in 1977 when the area was just paddocks.

Aerial view of Westboourne Grammar School in Truganina

But residential development continues creeping north over what was once grazing land.

Looking across the grasslands of Truganina towards the spreading housing estates of Tarneit

Then we meet fields of tilt slab concrete warehouses, home to over 1,500 registered business, both large and small.

Crane at work erecting a tilt slab concrete warehouse in the industrial estates of Truganina

Then we reach the centre of ‘old’ Truganina – the local cemetery.

Truganina Cemetery on Woods Road

Located next door to a pony club.

Entrance to the Truganina Pony Club

Unlike Tarneit the only high ground is a handful of road-over-rail bridges, which provide a view of the Melbourne CBD, located 20 kilometres away to the east.

Looking back on the Melbourne CBD from the Boundary Road rail bridge in Truganina

But it is massive warehouses that dominate the skyline of Truganina.

Massive warehouses in the middle of empty fields in Truganina

Towering over the railway lines.

G522 leads the down Warrnambool freight through Truganina

The biggest being a pair of 43 metre tall automated cold storage facilities, capable of holding 225,000 pallets of frozen goods.

Massive Newcold cold stores at Truganina

But hidden between them is something much smaller – the Truganina Munitions Reserve, established during the Second World War to store explosives in what was then an isolated area, but now abandoned and vandalised.

Gatehouse at the abandoned Truganina Munitions Reserve on Palmers Road

We now head out into the countryside.

VLocity VL26 trails VL58 on the down at Truganina

A few farm houses still remain.

Abandoned house on Boundary Road in Truganina

The roads now full of traffic, used by motorists taking a shortcut from the Western Freeway.

Looking down Boundary Road in Truganina

We skirt the massive rubbish tip located at Boral’s quarry in Ravenhall.

More truckloads of rubbish being added to the Melbourne Regional Landfill at Ravenhall

And find high voltage power lines bound for Geelong.

Single and double circuit 220 kV Geelong - Keilor transmission line beside Derrimut Road

And some even bigger power lines bound for the Portland aluminium smelter.

Sunshine Tours coach 8448AO on Hopkins Road, Truganina

Until we eventually reach the Ballarat railway line.

VLocity VL05 heads for Melbourne at Rockbank

Here we find Truganina’s second front of urban development.

Brand new blocks of land on Yucamane Drive at the Grandview Estate in Truganina

Moving south-east from Rockbank station.

Remnant paddocks still remain beside Caulonia Drive at Olivia Estate in Truganina

With new houses taking shape.

New housing taking shape on Petrolo Street at the Olivia Estate in Truganina

On roads stained by red dirt.

New blocks of land taking shape along Panaia Boulevard on the Olivia Estate in Truganina

Filling the paddocks between Mount Atkinson and Mount Cottrell.

Brand new blocks of land on Westdahl Street at the Grandview Estate in Truganina

Fifteen kilometres from where we started – no wonder nobody knows where Truganina is!

Footnote – border changes

Truganina falls between the City of Wyndham and City of Melton, but the name has a long history – the local post office opened on 12 June 1878, closed in 1895, reopened in 1902 and closed again in 1942.

In 1992 southern boundaries were formalised by the then-City of Werribee, with public consultation showing concern that the historic value of the Truganina, Tarneit and Mount Cottrell names may be lost if they were absorbed into neighbouring localities.


Victorian Government Gazette 1 July 1992

The boundaries for the southern half of Truganina again gazetted in 1998, and are still in place today.


City of Wyndham locality names and boundaries – Version 5.7 August 2021

However the northern boundaries in the City of Melton have seen some change, since Ravenhall and Truganina gazetted as suburbs in 2006.


Shire of Melton locality names and boundaries – Version 4.4a August 2006

The boundary being moved north in 2017, when the City of Melton created eleven new suburbs to cater for urban growth in formerly rural areas.


City of Melton locality names and boundaries – Version 4.6 February 2017

The changes were minor – but made Truganina even bigger!

The northern boundary will extend along the Western Freeway eastbound from Clarke Road to Troups Road North. The western boundary will align with Troups Road North southbound from the Western Freeway to Greigs Road. The boundary continues westbound along Greigs Road to Troups Road South, extending southbound along Troups Road South to Boundary Road.

The southern and eastern boundaries remain unchanged.

The area now being developed was added to Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary in 2010 following the passing of Amendment VC68.


Delivering Melbourne’s newest sustainable communities

So the failure to split out the northern half of Truganina in 2017 as a new suburb seems quite odd – it’s not like the new housing estates were a sudden change.

Still more COVID-19 related public transport observations

Victoria is now onto lockdown #6 and the pandemic has no end in sight – so here’s another round of COVID-19 related public transport observations.

Cleaning

Hygiene Theater” is still an everyday operation on the Melbourne rail network. Wiping down the handrails may make some sense.

IIS cleaner wiping down the handrails at a railway station

But a ‘hygiene team’ wiping down bus stops is just stupid.

'Hygiene team' wiping down timetables and bus shelters at the Sunshine station bus interchange

Especially given that the most common litter at railway stations now seems to be discarded face masks.

Sign of the times - litter at railway stations now includes face masks

Face masks

The messaging around the wearing of masks has ramped up, with signage at stations.

You must wear a face mask while travelling' sign at Glenferrie station

Bus stops.

'Please wear a fitted mask for your entire journey' message on the SmartBus PIDS

And flyers onboard trams.

'You must wear a face mask while travelling' flyer onboard a tram

Ticket offices at railway stations advice that masks are available.

'Masks are available here' sign at a station ticket office

And Authorised Officers have disposable face masks to hand out.

Authorised Officers board a train with a box of disposable face masks

But some of the signage is poorly thought out – the plague of stickers applied to V/Line’s VLocity fleet makes it impossible to see out the train door.

'Wear a face mask while travelling' and 'We're deep-cleaning and disinfecting this vehicle every day'  signage covers the bulk of a VLocity train door window

A similar situation occurring on their older locomotive hauled stock.

'Wear a face mask while travelling' and 'We're deep-cleaning and disinfecting this vehicle every day' signage covers the V/Line train doors

And advertising covered trams are now *completely* covered in stickers – the ‘wear a face mask while travelling’ stickers have token section of uncovered windows on each door.

'Wear a face mask while travelling' stickers cover the last remaining section of clear windows on this advertising covered tram

Check-in QR codes

In June 2021 the roll out of Service Victoria check-in codes across the public transport network commenced.

Each platform at Flinders Street Station has a separate Service Victoria check-in code

Locations like Sunshine station have a generic location covering the entire stations, while larger stations such as North Melbourne and Flinders Street Station has a unique QR code per platform.

Tram stops have also received QR codes, which feature address, stop number and TramTracker ID.

Messages of kindness

With the bottom fallen out of the outdoor advertising market, ooh!Media started running ‘Be kind to those on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis’ advertisements on their otherwise empty digital media screens at railway stations.

'Be kind to those on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis' advertisement by ooh!Media

Transdev has been running ‘Thank you frontline heroes’ / ‘We are all in this together’ / ‘Flatten the curve’ messages on their empty buses.

'Thank you frontline heroes' message on Transdev bus #994 9100AO

And PTV ran ‘Thank you for being patient and kind. It’s never okay to abuse transport staff’ campaign.

'Thank you for being patient and kind. It's never okay to abuse transport staff' sign on the station floor

And a nifty lift

After years of waiting for a reliable and accesssible way to access the station, Watergardens station has received three new lifts, one of which has a nifty feature – it’s 100% contactless.

Just walk up to it, and the lift call button will light up.

A a lift will arrive automatically, taking you up to the concourse.

Amazing!

Then and now at Sunshine station

Time for another instalment of “then and now” – this time a double barrelled collection at Sunshine station.

At the station

We start in 1960, with Weston Langford standing on platform 2 and 3. Cars still had to use a level crossing, but a timber footbridge allowed pedestrians to avoid waiting for passing trains.


Weston Langford photo

The Hampshire Road overpass was completed in 1961, but the scene at Sunshine staying much the same for decades – this was the scene in 2012 when my heritage train passed through on the way around the suburbs.

RM58 pauses at Sunshine

But the Regional Rail Link project changed it up again, replacing the pedestrian underpass with a massive new overhead concourse, and adding an additional platform for the use of V/Line trains.

Sprinter 7007 leads four classmates into Sunshine with an up service

And the HV McKay Footbridge

In this 1977 Weston Langford photo the view south from the footbridge was sparse – railway sidings for the Sunshine Harvester Works dominating the foreground.


Weston Langford photo

But following the closure of the factory in the 1990s central Sunshine was redeveloped, and in my 2010 view gum trees had taken over the George Cross reserve on the other side of the tracks.

EDI Comeng 471M on the down departs Sunshine

But Regional Rail Link also changed this scene – a new footbridge, and two new tracks beneath it for the use of V/Line trains.

Siemens 785M on a down Watergardens service at Sunshine

And the next chapter?

Work is about to start on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, with some changes coming for Sunshine – a tangle of new track between Sunshine and Albion, and a new station concourse at the city end.

A shadow of the ‘super hub’ once promoted by the State Government, but change none the less.

Photos from ten years ago: July 2011

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is July 2011.

Work on the new shopping centre in Myer's old Lonsdale Street store

Open House Melbourne

The last weekend of July is usually Open House Melbourne, so I did the rounds of places normally closed to the public.

First off, the underground Russell Place electrical substation.

Listening to our tour guide

Complete with mercury arc rectifiers.

Checking out the mercury arc rectifier

Hamer Hall, which was mid renovation.

All of the seats stripped out of Hamer Hall

The former Land Titles Office on Queen Street.

Three levels of fun inside the main strongroom

Toured the back of house areas of the State Library of Victoria.

Digging through the card catalogue

A rooftop garden at 278 Flinders Lane.

Origin Energy's rooftop garden atop 278 Flinders Lane

The Myer Mural Hall.

Mural Hall at Myer Melbourne

Melbourne’s first skyscraper – ICI House.

Ground floor lift lobby of ICI House, Melbourne

Up to the top of 50 Lonsdale Street.

Looking south-west over the low rise CBD shopping area

And down into the Royal Melbourne Hospital steam tunnels.

Following our tour guide along the tunnels

Trains and trams

One morning I was on my way to work, and found something odd – a V/Line train being pushed by a suburban electric train!

Driver of the Comeng waiting for the signal over the Viaduct

The V/Line train had run out of fuel at Footscray, so to keep things moving in the lead up to morning peak, it was pushed out of the way by the first train behind.

I found another public transport oddity down at Appleton Dock – a tram sitting on the back of a truck.

Flexity 113 on a low loader at Melbourne's Appleton Dock, awaiting the trip west to Adelaide

The Bombardier-built Flexity tram had just arrived from Germany by sea, and was ready to head for Adelaide to run on the Glenelg line.

But an everyday sight back in 2011 was ticket machines onboard Melbourne trams.

Intermediate section of a D2 class Combino tram: the one with four doors and the Metcard ticket machine

Removed following the decommissioning of the Metcard ticketing system in December 2012, it was originally planned to replace them with Myki machines, but the idea was abandoned in 2011.

Another then-unremarkable view was this one from Wurundjeri Way looking back towards Southern Cross Station.

View of the northern side of Southern Cross Station, from Wurundjeri Way

A pair of office towers now occupy the western roof of Southern Cross Station, the Regional Rail Link tracks now occupy the roadside, and the skyline behind is full of new apartment towers.

Abandonment

A forgettable building in the Melbourne CBD is 405 Bourke Street. Launched back in 2007 as ‘The Foundry’, by 2011 the shopping centre had been boarded up, the original developer having gone into liquidation.

Apartments at 405 Bourke Street

But a decade later things have changed – a new 43 storey tall office development has been built on the site, cantilevered 10 metres over the heritage listed building.

Another unremarkable building was the last remaining part of the West Gate Bridge toll plaza – the abandoned VicRoads control room in Port Melbourne.

Looking down the abandoned West Gate Bridge administration building

Located next door to the tensile membrane roofed service station.

Shell petrol station at the eastbound West Gate Bridge service centre

The site had just been sold to a developer, with demolition commencing a few months later.

Overgrown gardens outside the former West Gate Bridge Authority administration building

Warehouses now occupy the site.

Finally, another abandoned site I visited this month was the former Gilbertson’s Meatworks in Altona North.

Abandoned SBA Foods shop on Kyle Road

Empty for years, the site was finally cleared in 2012, and rezoned for residential development – with ‘Haven’ by Stockland and ‘The Fabric’ by Mirvac both under construction today.

And new construction

In 2011 demolition was well underway at the former Myer store on Lonsdale Street.

Looking out from Myer's Bourke Street store to the old Lonsdale Street store being gutted

The facade was still there.

Work on the new shopping centre in Myer's old Lonsdale Street store

But a wall of scaffolding was on the way up.

Facade of Myer's old Lonsdale Street store propped up for renovations

Ready to support the building.

Scaffolding towers over Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

While the guts were ripped out of the middle.

Looking out from Myer's Bourke Street store to the old Lonsdale Street store being gutted

Emporium Melbourne was then built on the site, opening to shoppers in 2014.

Footnote

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

Never built ‘Parliament Square’ at the top of Bourke Street

Since Melbourne was established as a city a grand civic square has been something lacking. Many attempts have been made over the years to build one, and today’s example is the 1929 ‘Parliament Square’ proposal for the top end of Bourke Street.

The proposal was included in the Plan for General Development created by the Metropolitan Town Planning Commission in 1929, when Parliament House was the tallest building in the area.

And would have seen a major redevelopment of East Melbourne to the north-east of the Hoddle Grid.

On Spring Street, the eastern boundary of the City proper, are located the Houses of Parliament, the Treasury Buildings in which are housed the Executive Council and other Ministerial Departments, the Hotel Windsor, the Princess Theatre, and other buildings which would be suitable for incorporation in a scheme of architectural treatment for this part of the City.

The eastern approaches to Collins and Bourke streets form very unsatisfactory intersections at Spring Street, and in view of the fact that there is a large amount of open space on the eastern side of Spring Street through which these approach roads pass, the opportunity has been taken of propounding a scheme of remodelling for the whole area. The old High School, at the corner of Victoria Parade, is being superseded by modern new buildings on other sites, the new high school for boys having been completed at South Yarra.

The black hatchings on the plan on opposite page indicate the existing Houses of Parliament, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church in Gisborne Street, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade also in Gisborne Street, the Governmental administrative offices in the area north of the Treasury Gardens, all of which, in conjunction with the buildings in Spring Street, and the site of the old and superseded High School, form a substantial nucleus for a scheme of grouping for prominent buildings in this elevated situation.

It will be seen that by relocating the streets in this area and combining the several reserves, a considerable area admirably suited for the formation of a “Parliament Square” would be available.

Roads would be altered.

The suggested treatment is shown on the plan on previous page. Evelyn Street and Carpentaria Place have been abolished, McArthur Street has been diverted, and the western end of Albert Street has been abandoned. A new scheme of roadways has been planned to harmonise with the park treatment and to supply greatly improved access to the east-west city streets.

In order to facilitate traffic movements at the intersections of Lonsdale and Bourke streets with Spring Street, the corners have been rounded and a small central feature inserted. The sites of a few existing houses and other buildings of an inferior type fronting Victoria Parade have been included as a part of the scheme, but no substantial resumptions are involved excepting for the rounding of the corners referred to.

The street arrangement is designed to overcome the unsatisfactory layout in this area and to abolish dangerous intersections. Traffic on the streets in the vicinity and through the area could be more easily controlled, and larger volumes accommodated with less congestion.

To make way for a grand building at the top end of Lonsdale Street.

It is suggested that the principal building which might be erected in this setting should be in line with Lonsdale Street as shown on the plan, so that the vista along this street would be terminated by a building of suitable architecture, surrounded by open space so that it may be viewed from all angles.

Between the suggested building and Parliament House, a square capable of accommodating a considerable assemblage can be formed. The completion of the northern wing of Parliament House would materially improve the scheme.

The sites, shown in white, would be available for other public buildings, while the whole of the western or Spring Street frontage could be utilised in due time for other prominent buildings of approved architecture.

And connecting the existing gardens around the CBD.

The suggested treatment would effectively link the Carlton Gardens with the Treasury and Fitzroy Gardens, the continuity of garden treatment being broken only by buildings of architectural importance. The Commission is of the opinion that this scheme, if adopted, would greatly enhance the beauty of the City, would lend dignity to buildings and institutions erected in it, would improve the whole neighbourhood, and provide much safer and more satisfactory road facilities than now exist in this area. The aerial view shows the present conditions on the greater part of the area included in the proposed remodelling. It clearly illustrates how the gardens and parks could be made to form beautiful surroundings for buildings of suitable architectural character.

So what happened?

As you might expect, nothing came of the 1929 plans, but in 1954 the Melbourne Metropolitan Planning Scheme proposed a scaled back proposal – demolition of the top end of Bourke Street to form a Civic Square outside Parliament House, and a freeway beneath Spring Street.

The only part of that project to proceed was the Commonwealth Centre at 275 Spring Street completed in 1958, and the State Government Office at 1 Treasury Place completed in 1970.