Flinders Lane, Melbourne

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Flinders Lane

Flinders Lane.jpg
Flinders Lane
Flinders Lane, Melbourne is located in Melbourne
Flinders Lane
Flinders Lane
General information
Length2 km (1.2 mi)
Major junctions
West endSpencer Street
  King Street
William Street
Market Street
Queen Street
Elizabeth Street
Swanston Street
Russell Street
Exhibition Street
East endSpring Street

Flinders Lane is a minor street and thoroughfare in the central business district of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The laneway runs east–west from Spring Street to Spencer Street in-between Flinders and Collins Streets. Originally laid out as part of the Hoddle Grid in 1837, the laneway was once the centre of Melbourne's rag trade and is still home to boutique designers, now perched alongside numerous hotels, loft apartments, cafes and bars.[1]

Many historic buildings are found on Flinders Lane with a history of strict height limits helping to preserve the buildings from redevelopment.[2] Despite the loss of some significant buildings over time, it is still known for its SoHo atmosphere and chic, well-preserved historic buildings.[1]


Looking down Flinders Lane, ca. 1891 - ca. 1914

Garment Trade[edit]

In the 1880s, large soft-goods import warehouses established Flinders Lane as the heart of the clothing trade. This was because of the Lane's proximity to wharves and railway stations, and centrality to Melbourne's population.[3]

For over one hundred years ‘The Lane’ was an Australian institution due to its clothing and textiles (the schmatte trade).[4] Buyers could come from the country and ‘do’ the Lane in one session, which featured many Jewish migrant businesses. For a large part of the twentieth century the garment trade remained an important industry in Flinders Lane.[3] The number of clothing firms on the street reached 610 in 1939, and this level of activity was maintained until the early 1960s. In the 1960s and 1970s these businesses began to close due to changing requirements for space and labour, rising rents and traffic congestion.[4]

Hells Angels Shootings[edit]

On Monday 18 June 2007, a shooting incident occurred on the corner of Flinders Lane and William Street when Hells Angels member Christopher Hudson shot and killed Brendan Keilar and wounded two others.[5] Keilar was posthumously awarded the Royal Humane Society of Australasia's medal for bravery as he was shot and killed after intervening to save one of the victims.[6]

Notable buildings[edit]

The City Library building between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets.

Flinders Lane has many notable multi-storey warehouses and buildings,[7] many included on the Victorian Heritage Register or National Trust of Australia, including:

Paterson, Laing & Bruce warehouse on Flinders Lane, c. 1901

Other buildings now lost include:


There is a short section of the street between Collins and Market Streets that the route 58 tram runs down.

Though there is no other public transport running down Flinders Lane itself, the street is well connected due to the surrounding rail, tram and bus infrastructure.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Flinders Lane :: Punthill Apartments". www.punthill.com.au. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  2. ^ Melbourne, School of Historical Studies, Department of History, The University of. "Skyscrapers - Entry - eMelbourne - The Encyclopedia of Melbourne Online". www.emelbourne.net.au. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b Melbourne, School of Historical Studies, Department of History, The University of. "Flinders Lane - Entry - eMelbourne - The Encyclopedia of Melbourne Online". www.emelbourne.net.au. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b "FASHION IN THE LANES". Walking Tours of Melbourne. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. ^ Karen Kissane and Kate Hagan, 13 May 2008. "Gunman was 'out of his mind, insane': victim", The Age. Retrieved on 25 July 2009
  6. ^ Cooper, Mex. "Son of slain solicitor accepts bravery award". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  7. ^ Fishlock, Sean. "Melbourne Buildings [Walking Melbourne - Heritage, Architecture, Skyscraper and Buildings]". www.walkingmelbourne.com. Retrieved 19 January 2017.