In the late 19th century, Melbourne was awash with money following the Gold Rush and an exploding wool export trade. The city was in the midst of a building boom, with the construction of extravagant buildings, street lighting and public amenities. To service this expanding city, the railway minister, Thomas Bent, ambitiously proposed the construction of new railway lines in Victoria’s 55 constituencies, one of these being the Outer Circle Line, designed to create a link to the city for trains coming from Gippsland and terminating at Oakleigh.
Construction commenced in 1888 and was overseen by 22-year-old civil engineer John Monash, who ensured it was constructed on time and on budget, despite government inefficiencies. Opening in sections in the early 1890s, the line serviced few passengers and much of it closed within two years. Sections of the line still exist as part of the Alamein line with the majority of it forming a network of parks and bike tracks.
Enterprising filmmakers Ron Killeen and Andrew McColm turned to crowdfunding platform Pozible to turn this slice of history into a vital documentary. Using a wealth of archival material and historical footage, Killeen talks to author and historian Dr David Beardsell and Dr Crystal Legacy from RMIT University’s Centre for Urban Research, as well as some local residents, about the now largely forgotten Outer Circle Line.
The Outer Circle: Melbourne’s Forgotten Railway
22 Aug + 29 Aug
Over 120 years ago, Melbourne was (briefly) serviced by a railway line connecting Oakleigh in the east to Fairfield in the north. With the city in the midst of another growth spurt, this new documentary is a timely reminder of the importance of planning, investing in and constructing the right infrastructure for a city on the move.