This artwork celebrates the Newport Substation, an incredibly beautiful building and cultural destination that stands proudly besides Newport station.
Established over a century ago to power Melbourne’s suburban rail system, The Substation building is a landmark in the industrial history of the inner west. After ceasing operation in the 1960s and falling into disrepair for three decades, in 1996 two local residents successfully led a campaign to restore and adapt the building for artistic use. Today, as an international destination for contemporary and experimental arts, The Substation both celebrates and transcends its original context in Newport.
Built by Victorian Railways in 1915, The Substation’s iconic neoclassical brick design boasts a level of structural integrity scarcely seen in other substations of the era. While over time the original structure became derelict and gutted, the 1996 campaign resulted in the Victorian State Government granting a long-term lease to the premises and an extensive restoration ensued over the next fifteen years. These efforts, led almost entirely by a small group of dedicated community members and hundreds of volunteers, imbued in the site the local spirit that persists today.
In 2008 the reimagined site opened to the public as Hobsons Bay Community Arts Centre. Later, it would formally adopt the name The Substation and refocus the organisation as a home for contemporary and experimental arts while maintaining the strong local character on which it was founded. Today, with the ongoing support of the Hobsons Bay City Council, The Substation nurtures local artists and audiences while growing an international reputation as a cultural destination that emboldens transformative conversations and innovation in the arts.