Swanston Street, Melbourne

From Academic Kids

For the area of Edinburgh, see Swanston, Edinburgh
Missing image
Swanston Street, looking north from the corner of Bourke Street

Swanston Street is a major thoroughfare in the centre of Melbourne, Australia. It is arguably the main street of Melbourne.

It is part of the Hoddle Grid, the layout of major streets that makes up the central business district, which was laid out in 1837 by Robert Hoddle. Its name derives from that of Captain Charles Swanston, a prominent member of the Port Phillip Association. Swanston Street runs roughly north to south, between Elizabeth and Russell strets, just to the east of the centre of the rectangular Hoddle Grid. After crossing the Princes Bridge over the Yarra River at its southern extremity, it becomes St. Kilda Road. As it runs north and leaves the CBD, it passes the University of Melbourne, and ends at the Melbourne General Cemetery.

Swanston Street was a major throughfare, funnelling traffic from the northern suburbs onto St. Kilda Road, but as of the 1990's it was closed to private through traffic between Flinders and La Trobe Streets, roughly half its length. This section is known as Swanston Street Walk. 9 tram routes run along the street, and the frequency of trams is the highest in Melbourne. It has two railway stations - Flinders Street Station at its southern end, which is the hub of the suburban railway network; and Melbourne Central station, an underground station beneath the Melbourne Central shopping centre, at La Trobe Street. Swanston Street is also a major route for commuting cyclists from the University of Melbourne and the northern suburbs, through the city, joining up to the bike lanes on St. Kilda Road, and the Capital City Trail on the Southbank of the Yarra River.

Swanston Street passes a number of Melbourne landmarks, including St. Paul's Cathedral, Federation Square, the Melbourne Town Hall, the State Library of Victoria, the City Square, the Melbourne Central and QV Village shopping centres, the pub Young and Jacksons as well as the Hi-Fi Bar, which is a prominent live music venue. Both the University of Melbourne and RMIT University are on Swanston Street.

Swanston Street has historically not had the best of reputations, due to problems with homelessness and loitering, and a plethora of discount stores, fast food outlets, and sex shops. However, in recent years, after lobbying from local traders, the Melbourne City Council has begun to turn the street's image around, enticing many new shops to move in, and driving several major developments.

Many protests involve the use of Swanston Street, and every so often, it will be closed due to people advocating one cause or another. It is also used for the annual Anzac Day parade, which passes through much of the city centre, but uses Swanston Street as a centrepiece on its way to the Shrine of Remembrance in St. Kilda Road.

Swanston Street was also the shooting location for the 1976 video to AC/DC's It's a Long Way to the Top.


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