The 3.8 hectare Federation Square development was one of the most complex and ambitious construction projects ever undertaken in Australia that created a civic and cultural precinct. It is now a Melbourne icon with an average of more than nine million visitors every year.
Over the last 200 years the Federation Square site had been home to the city morgue, a fish market, corporate offices and rail yards.
In the lead up to the Centenary of Federation in 2001, the development of Federation Square offered the chance to celebrate ideas of ‘identity’ and ‘place’ through a civic and cultural space.
In 1996, the Victorian Government held an international, two-stage design competition to redevelop the precinct, receiving 177 entries from all around the world. The project had to include cultural and commercial buildings and an open amphitheatre capable of holding up to 15,000 people. It also needed to be built above the city’s major transport hub – the Jolimont Railway Yards.
Construction of Federation Square began in 1998 and was officially opened to the public on 26 October 2002.
Major Projects Victoria facilitated the design competition, engaged the winning design consortia to develop the design, and commenced procurement. On completion, the site was handed over to Federation Square Pty Ltd who completed the site in commercial configuration that would best suit ongoing operational requirements.