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(1) Front elevation of The Substation large red brick building with vertically elongated glazing. Car park in front.
(2) Tree in foreground with view toward The Substation building sign.
(3) The Substation red brick building lit  up at night with colourful lights and beams.
(4) Interior of The Substation with wall of glazing on the right and curtained wall at the back.
(5) Front elevation of The Substation large red brick building.

The Substation

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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. Made in the Edwardian-Baroque style, the building dominates its surroundings. The Substation is an example of the 'Type A' design used for the first five substations constructed as part of the electrification of the Melbourne metropolitan network. 

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.

What's On

Learn more about the history of the site and its community from Yalukit Willam man Jaeden Williams, hear the first-hand story of its repair and restoration from one of the original campaigners Nigel Edwards and peek behind the curtain of contemporary art with CEO Nuala Furtado. 

Join us for a presentation in the Main Space starting with an introduction to the local First Nations language and culture by Yalukit Willam man Jaeden Williams, followed by a history of the building focusing on its transformation from abandoned building to community arts centre in the early 2000s. The talk will conclude with a look at the current exhibition Object Of Projection by artist Kim Gordon, curated by Lawrence English, and with information about the contemporary use of the building by CEO Nuala Furtado.

Printed and digital venue maps pointing out key sites of historic and contemporary importance will be provided on arrival. As part of Open House 2024 you will also be able to explore The Substation with a self-guided tour at your own pace any time throughout the day, covering the story of The Substation and its sustained connection to the community.

In Collaboration With:

  • Nuala Furtado

    Bringing a wealth of experience in experimental and contemporary cultural work, Nuala Furtado joined The Substation as CEO in January 2023. Nuala is a cultural leader with over 10 years of experience working across contemporary practice and experimental forms from inside Australian festivals and small-to-medium-sized arts organisations.

  • Nigel Edwards

    As one of the original restorers of The Substation, Nigel remains deeply invested in its mission and future. Back in 1996, Nigel's dream concept was to restore this magnificent heritage landmark as the The Hobsons Bay Community Arts Centre. Renamed The Substation years later, Nigel was part of the creation of more than just a venue; it is a vital space where people come together to celebrate, create, and connect.

  • Jaeden Williams

    Jaeden is a proud Yalukit Willam man of the Boonwurrung; founder and director of Biik Bundjil, a Boonwurrung educational organisation; and managing director of Only Freshies Apparel, a Boonwurrung-led clothing brand. Jaeden's passion for teaching Boonwurrung connection to Country through sharing Boonwurrung history, language, and culture with people from diverse backgrounds is a common theme that underpins all his work.

Images: (1) The Substation. Photo: Josh Robenstone. (2) The Substation. Photo: Damien Raggatt. (3) The Substation. Photo: Pat Casten. (4) The Main Space. Photo: courtesy of The Substation. (5) The Substation (2000). Photo: John Young.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 27 July
Open access 11am-5pm
Presentation 12pm
Running for 60 minutes in a groups of 100

Explore the Substation at your own pace on a self guided tour all day. A may of the Substation will be available.

No bookings required.

The presentation will take place in the Main Space on Level 1


Fully wheelchair accessible, Accessible bathroom, Accessible parking nearby, Sensory friendly, Elevator access


1 Market St, Newport VIC 3015

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