Old lane gets a new name

The residents adjacent to the city’s newest (old) laneway celebrated long and hard last month when their lane finally got a name.

Commissioner Lane is now the official name for the lane beside the Grand Central Apartments in Spencer St.

Resident Mike Kelly explained that the lane used to be called Southern Cross Lane, until it was discovered that Southern Cross Lane already existed elsewhere.

Mr Kelly has been trying “on and off” since 2010 to achieve a new name for the lane.

“It’s quite a process,” he said with an air of understatement.

Mr Kelly said Melbourne councillor Kevin Louey and Helen Loulouris from the city’s land survey team took up the cause.

“We finally got it done,” Mr Kelly said.

“We had big celebration at Rab Bar on September 4 and those still standing walked down to the corner for a photo.”

He said the residents “went a bit overboard” and had created special drinks, T-shirts and tea towels for the occasion.

Mr Kelly said there had been a laneway in the area since at least the late 1870s.

“The name Commissioners honours the railway commissioners who were appointed to run the Victorian Railways,” he said.

“They ruled from 1884 until 1973.”

“The commissioners were powerful figures in the Victorian Railways and only really answered to the Victorian Government.”

“Most of their tenure was conducted at the magnificent Victorian Railways Administration Building at 67 Spencer St.”

“Today this building is one of Melbourne and Docklands’ treasures and houses the Grand Central Apartments and the Grand Hotel complex.”

Mr Kelly said that, even for purely practical reasons, it was worth celebrating that the lane finally had a name.

“Now that the lane has a name, it will make it easier for all those who need to use it and it also appropriately honours the commissioners and the famous building they ruled from – the grand old lady of Spencer St,” he said.

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