The Melbourne Quarter site has witnessed the transformation of Melbourne through various phases to the global city that it is today.
A place of many stories — Melbourne Quarter was once a significant meeting place for the Woiwurrung and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation, who cultivated its surrounding lands and waterways. For the traditional landowners, the area was a source of life, a rich wetland fed by the fertile waters of the Yarra River.
Later, what became known as ‘Batman’s Hill’ attracted the first European explorers and setters — John Batman and John Fawkner — who then claimed it as their own future township in 1835. ‘Batman’s Hill’ was also a strategic vantage point to watch over the rapid growth of Surveyor Robert Hoddle’s city grid.
As the city of Melbourne grew, the site became one for industry and transport, and later home to the Victorian Railways. Over the decades, the hill was removed to cater for the growing demands of a thriving city, making the area integral to the development of the CBD as it changed from a growing township to a bustling metropolis.
The early 2000s saw the region surrounding ‘Batman’s Hill’ undergo significant redevelopment again, with Collins Street extended to connect the city’s west side to Melbourne’s expanding CBD.
With more than half of the region surrounding Batman’s Hill built, the area quickly became a new part of the city fabric, leaving the Hill site as the last major parcel of undeveloped land. This changed in 2016, when the construction of Melbourne Quarter began.
In the coming months and years to follow, Melbourne will see this important site rise again as an integrated, layered part of the city. The making of this new place presents a once in a generation opportunity to retell its stories, to acknowledge the past, and in so doing, create and connect new communities.