I was at Sunshine Train Station today.
If you haven’t been to Sunshine… well, good for you. It’s the most ironically named suburb in Melbourne. Actually, Sunshine’s not even named after that stuff from the sky, but for a company that made combine harvesters. It just gets better, doesn’t it? You may have seen the station in the film Noise. A train pulls into Sunshine, it’s passengers brutally murdered by a lunatic – if you’ve been there, you’ve probably had the urge to do that yourself.
My train to the city arrives, but the recorded woman isn’t well. Something strange has happened to her speaker, she now sounds surprisingly like the Borg. “You will be assimilated. Next stop, Footscray”. A young man in a hoodie across from me is doing something distracting with his hands. Is he shooting up? No, he’s juggling a glass sphere, just like David Bowie in Labyrinth. He’s actually pretty good. If there was a David-Bowie-In-Labyrinth lookalike contest, he could definitely make the top three.
Southern Cross Station is coming up – when I returned to Melbourne after living in London, I originally misheard this as “Southern Crustacean”. Now I can’t shake this suspicion that Spencer Street Station was actually swallowed whole by an enormous southern crustacean. I look out the window as we approach and I can see its silver scales shining – are we also to be consumed by the southern crustacean? Are we a snack, mere krill to this silver behemoth?
The train plunges into the metal maw, the train into darkness.
Five Melbourne Train Stations That Appear In Films
Easily the best Australian film of 2007 – if not the last decade – Noise is a character study of a lowly cop (Brendan Cowell), who has to staff a police information van in Sunshine. Sophisticated, moving and unexpectedly funny, Noise is not a great ad for Sunshine. Or the Victorian Police Force.
At the end of the superb Ghosts Of The Civil Dead (1988), David Field goes from being a petty criminal to a truly scary individual. On an escalator. And there’s no scarier escalators than Parliament. The station also turns up in the less-superb Queen Of The Damned (2002) and Let’s Get Skase (2001), where a character emerges from Parliament station to find himself in King’s Park. In Perth. It’s an odd moment.
On the subject of moonlighting stations, Romper Stomper (1992) starts with a scene set at Footscray, where a skinhead gang attacks some Asian youths. Although it’s actually Richmond pretending to be Footscray. Perhaps Footscray was busy, doing a one-station show for the Fringe Festival. According to this trailer, Romper Stomper is a “truly exciting entertainment experience”, which isn’t quite how I’d describe it. Even more strange is the phrase “like Basic Instinct” that comes in near the end…
The Big Daddy of Melbourne Train Stations. Five years to build, from 1905 to 1910! 110,000 people pass through it’s turnstiles every day! Platform 1 is the fourth longest railway platform in the world! There’s a ballroom upstairs! It’s made entirely of cheese and magic pixie dust! People once worshipped it as a god!
Most famously, this station appears in On The Beach (1959), although it also appears in Squizzy Taylor (1982) and the upcoming mini-series The Pacific (2009). Here’s how it looked in On The Beach:
The Southern Crustacean
The underrated The Hard Word (2002) features a great chase scene that starts at the World Trade Centre, runs up Spencer Street and ends with Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton and Damien Richardson jumping off the Bourke Street pedestrian bridge onto a moving train, all to a David Thrussell soundtrack. And can I find a clip online? Can I, buckleys.
Feel free to add ones I’ve missed in the comments below. Hopefully that will lead to an upcoming feature entitled “Ten Melbourne Train Stations…”