Since opening in 2002, Federation Square has become of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks – forming a meeting place for all Melburnians in the centre of the city and home to some of Victoria’s leading cultural institutions. Federation Square has now officially been recognised in the Victorian Heritage Register.
Bordered by Swanston Street and Flinders Street, Federation Square is approximately 3.8 hectares in area and comprises an array of buildings, spaces and laneways designed around a large open space area, all built on a deck over rail lines and platforms.
It was designed by LAB Architecture Studio and Bates Smart and now welcomes approximately 10 million visitors each year.
In August 2018, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) nominated Federation Square to the Victorian Heritage Register, following 12 months of consultation with heritage and architectural experts who ‘collaboratively determined the heritage values of Federation Square are worth protecting’.
According to the Heritage Council of Australia, some 754 public submissions were received in response to notice of the recommendation.
All but three of them supported the inclusion of the place in the Register.
The Heritage Council then appointed a committee to hold a public hearing into the matter.
All of the persons who chose to participate in the hearing were said to be in favour of the inclusion of the place in the Register.
Differing views were presented on why Federation Square is significant, the extent of registration, and the detail of exempt works.
The Committee subsequently found that Federation Square is “of cultural heritage significance to the State of Victoria and should be included in the Register for its historical, aesthetic, technological and social significance.”
“As the most important and recognisable public square in Victoria it reflects the community’s desire, both historic and current, for a large, open civic space allowing for mass gatherings and public events,” the Heritage Council of Australia wrote.
Federation Square is currently going through a period of change as it continues to grow as an innovative and focal place for the community.
The National Trust was quick to welcome the news that Fed Square had officially been included in the register, along with several other highly-valued places in the state.
Chief Executive Officer, National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Simon Ambrose, confirmed that the inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register will not prevent future change and development from occurring at the square.
“However any future changes will need to consider its architectural, social and historic values, and go through a process of public consultation,” he detailed.
Earlier this month, the Andrews Labor Government announced a major review to inform the future of Federation Square.
Key stakeholders, members of the public and tour operators from across Victoria have been requested to tell firsthand about why they visit Federation Square and how it can be improved. More information on the review can be found here.