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The SUBSTATION

Architect: Merz and MacLellan 1916

Newport Substation is one of the oldest substations in the metropolitan system, and also one of the largest, comparable to the North Fitzroy substation and slightly smaller than the Newmarket substation. It displays an exceptionally high level of integrity not seen in any other extant examples of this substation design, and although much of the original equipment has been removed or vandalised, the building is highly demonstrative of early twentieth century power generating practices. The building has strong visual and functional associations with the nearby Newport railway workshops, established in 1882. The building has strong associations with the inauguration of electric services, due to its construction during the first phase of the scheme. It is also important for its associations with the engineering firm Merz and MacLellan, who designed the electrification scheme as well as the early substations in association with the VR Way and Works Branch. Its construction by the Victorian Railways sets the building apart from contemporary Railways structures built under contract. Today, The SUBSTATION is used as a multi artform space presenting contemporary work across performance, music and visual arts.

Today, The SUBSTATION is used as a multi-artform space presenting contemporary work across performance, music and visual arts. Supported by Hobsons Bay City Council, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.  https://thesubstation.org.au/

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ABOUT THE ARCHITECT

Designed by the Victorian Railways Way & Works in conjunction with Merz & MacLellan.

Merz and MacLellan, designed the electrification scheme as well as the early substations in association with the VR Way and Works Branch.

The building was decommissioned in 1969 and fell into complete neglect and decay. A dedicated group of locals took on the task of restoration in the 1990s, and after a 15-year project, The SUBSTATION was reopened as an arts centre.

BUILDING FEATURES

Aesthetically, it is significant as a massive landmark building with distinctive architectural treatment in the Edwardian-Baroque style, which dominates its immediate surroundings.

Today, it is appreciated for its raw, industrial aesthetic with its mix of polished concrete, exposed brick and large windows.

 

 

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