What is significant?
The 36.6 metre long and 7.32 metre high History of Transport mural featured across the main concourse of the Spencer Street railway station, depicting the first century of transport in Victoria (1835-1935), was commissioned by the State Government in 1973. Painted by State Artist, Harold Freedman (1915-99), and two assistants, the work was completed in January 1978. The mural, a realist oil painting on canvas mounted on plywood, was painted in five main sections at the East Camberwell railway substation, and erected in stages above the Spencer Street station concourse. During 2000 the right end section of the mural was repositioned perpendicular to its original location due to the building being shortened in connection with the development of the Docklands. With the redevelopment of Spencer Street Station into the Southern Cross Station, the mural was stored for 3 years and re-erected in April 2007 on the north wall of the Direct Factory Outlet building that forms part of the redevelopment.
How is it significant?
The History of Transport mural is of historic, cultural and social significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The History of Transport Mural is historically important as the first of a series of public art works commissioned by the State Government following the appointment of Harold Freedman as State Artist in 1972. The position of State Artist, (1972-83) was unique in the history of Victoria and Australia. The mural is the largest work painted by Freedman and the most ambitious narrative work of its kind in the state.
The History of Transport Mural is culturally and socially important as a graphic public record and celebration of the role transport played in the development of the state from a simple pastoral settlement to a modern progressive industrialised entity during its first century.