David Crosling Flinders Street Station
Image credit: David Crosling/AAP

Damn, I thought, as soon as I saw, I’m going to write on this and it is going to be absurd. On the middle of the platforms at Flinders Street station, there were squares of steel fencing and a gap. What had been there, until a couple of days before, on platforms 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, and 8-9, had been the sheds of the little red engine kiosks, little milk bars – they looked like milk bars once did – with a display of sweets, magazines, buns, sandwiches at the front, and hot food in a bain marie from a smaller window at one side. I remember them coming in -- can’t remember when exactly.

The little sheds were a good convenience and a great pleasure. They meant that you could dash for a train, know that you’d made it, and get a coffee and a sandwich on the platform, a copy of New Idea if you were going all the way to Pakenham, a bag of dim sims if you’d just been dumped. But it wasn’t just the utility. They were a joy, a warmth, a glow – including for the people who ran them, who said it was a good gig as retail goes, with hundreds of regulars, the ebb and flow of life.