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"Standing here on quick sand, the more we fight we sink."

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Swanston Street was one of the main north-south streets originally laid out in the 1837 Hoddle Grid. Originally carrying pedestrians and horse drawn cart, the street resembled many typical European avenues of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century it was carrying one of the major tram lines through the city. By the advent of the automobile in the early 20th century, the street became a major thoroughfare, carrying automobile traffic between areas north of the city and St Kilda Road throughout most of the 20th century.
 The southern half of the street historically had problems with heavy traffic and carbon monoxide pollution, homelessness and loitering, and a plethora of discount stores, fast food outlets, sex shops and strip joints, throughout the later half of the 20th century.
In the 1990s it was closed to daytime private through traffic between Flinders and La Trobe Streets, roughly half its length. This section is known as Swanston Street Walk. Swanston Street was redeveloped in 1992 with a number of public sculptures being established through the Percent for Art Program. The most famous of these statues is of a small bronze dog called Larry La Trobe by Melbourne artist, Pamela Irving. By the turn of the 21st century, the street carried nine tram routes, with the frequency of trams being the highest in Melbourne.

Swanston Street was one of the main north-south streets originally laid out in the 1837 Hoddle Grid. Originally carrying pedestrians and horse drawn cart, the street resembled many typical European avenues of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century it was carrying one of the major tram lines through the city. By the advent of the automobile in the early 20th century, the street became a major thoroughfare, carrying automobile traffic between areas north of the city and St Kilda Road throughout most of the 20th century.

 The southern half of the street historically had problems with heavy traffic and carbon monoxide pollution, homelessness and loitering, and a plethora of discount stores, fast food outlets, sex shops and strip joints, throughout the later half of the 20th century.

In the 1990s it was closed to daytime private through traffic between Flinders and La Trobe Streets, roughly half its length. This section is known as Swanston Street Walk. Swanston Street was redeveloped in 1992 with a number of public sculptures being established through the Percent for Art Program. The most famous of these statues is of a small bronze dog called Larry La Trobe by Melbourne artist, Pamela Irving. By the turn of the 21st century, the street carried nine tram routes, with the frequency of trams being the highest in Melbourne.