Collins St, 3 pm

Featured in

  • Published 20130903
  • ISBN: 9781922079985
  • Extent: 288pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT’S 3 PM-ISH, mid-February, I’m at the corner of Collins and Swanston streets in Melbourne, my hometown. I walk the heart of city that I’ve been away from for twenty years. This means wheeling and dodging through a continuous human flow, making for the giant mausoleum of ‘government rail’, Flinders Street Station. I need to catch a train to the suburban rental I’ve just moved into, a small post-war veneer at the end of the ‘Sandy’ (Sandringham) line. Working at a university allows me sometimes to go home at odd hours.

None of this matches my memory. The city streets should be largely empty at this time, the quiet prelude to the sudden flux of rush-hour, when workplaces disgorge their human contents in a brief, intense whirl that empties out through the city rail hubs and carries the flow to the suburban dormitories from whence it came. Think John Brack’s monochrome, hatted platoons of the 1950s, in lockstep for Flinders at 5 pm; a quick intervening swill before six and the rackety, lolling journey home.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

More from author

Backyard gardens

EssayWE RARELY TALK sensibly about food – the throwaway line ‘food for thought' is about as close as we come to connecting thinking with...

More from this edition

Time to trade in

EssayON THE FRIDAY afternoon before a Sunday appearance on the ABC's Insiders couch, Barrie Cassidy emails the three panel members with a rough list...

Interview with
Billy Griffiths

InterviewBilly Griffiths is a Sydney-based writer and historian who published his first book The China Breakthrough: Whitlam in the Middle Kingdom, 1971 in 2012....

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.