The rails have disappeared below the square
A controversial design
Before the square was built here, the area had been home to a fish market, a business centre and a marshalling yard. Tram rails separated the centre of the city from the banks of the Yarra River. Finally it was decided to hide the rails underground, below the large square. It sounds simple, but the whole venture turned out to be extremely complicated; it was the most ambitious project ever undertaken by the State of Victoria.
The construction, which eventually cost 295 million euro, began in 1998 and quickly became the topic of many heated public debates. Conservative residents reviled the design, while the international design community sung its praises. The opponents argued that the square would remain empty because of its location near the boring business centre. They were proven wrong: the activity on Federation Square has revitalized the entire downtown of Melbourne.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Art and culture
In addition to eating and drinking in numerous cafés and restaurants, you can also visit the Ian Potter Centre which is dedicated to Australian art. Several galleries focus on the work of the Aboriginal people and the inhabitants of the islands in the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) displays moving images in all of its forms.