Degraves St Subway

The Degraves Subway is a handy little way to access the city from Flinder Street Station that happens to be extremely photo friendly! You can find the entrance on most train platforms towards the middle. The connecting walkway is also a great spot to shoot a few frames, although there is a regulation against taking photos in the station itself. You are unlikely to be challenged, but just agree and move on if a rather officious employee feels the need to stop your nefarious work for alky-eeda.

Stopping photography in the age of the camera phone just seems a bit Quixotic to me.

The subway is not open all the time, and I can’t find anywhere on the interwebs that will tell me…

The light is not fantastic in the underworld. Shoot at ISO 800 or 1600 in black and white with a fast lens, and you should be fine. Tripods are also a good idea, although there are quite a few places to rest your camera against to get some stability.

1. Metro Gates

The gates themselves provide a great shot if you have a wide enough lens. My Hasselblad XPan loves the subway…


2. Campbell Arcade

As soon as you get through the Metro ticket gates, the subway opens up in all it’s glory. The Campbell Arcade is the short row of very indy looking shops and a barber. The hole in the wall coffee shop “Cup of Truth” is also there to offer opportunities.

The old duffer in the barber shop is not super photo friendly, hard won experience! – which is a real shame as he is a unique fellow. The rest of the arcade understand where they are at and are usually pretty good if you don’t take too long, or get in their way.

campbell shops


3. Entrances and Exits in the Middle

Just before the subway opens out to the arts space, there are two exits back to the surface. Roughly in the middle of the subway. Take a milk crate and camp out to wait for the right shot. The light streams down from Flinders Street proper – if you can’t take an arty shot here you may as well drop your camera into cash converters on the way home!


You might also like to have a look at the subway entrance on Flinders St – up on the surface!

r4a 35mm Subway

4. Main Subway

The main subway provides both easy wide angle compositions with leading lines aplenty! Again, just be conscious of the limited light.

There Subway also has an arts space, and is in use most of the time. The art can be very hit and miss though, so don’t expect anything ace. The arts space does bring people down to the subway though, and being a touristy spot, you can point your camera anywhere and at anyone usually without being challenged.

The Subway is also used by a lot of arts students etc. so if luck is on your side, there will be something different to shoot. Below was the wardrobe from a photoshoot some students were conducting in the subway.


5. Backgrounds, Textures, Tiles

The Subway is a rich source of cool decor. The tiles and general design is very different to anything you are going to see above ground. Take the time to look carefully for opportunities to use the decor.


There are little bits of detail everywhere. A great example is the “telephone” sign. I had visited the subway with my camera at least ten to fifteen times and never noticed it was pointed out to me. Hmmm, my eye for detail would seem to be rubbish. Take the time to notice the little things in the Subway. Find the sign yourself.

More on the Subway here.

A little on it’s history here.

360 degree pano here.


  1. Flinders Street Station | Inconspicuosity - May 17, 2015

    […] The subway also connects to the Degraves Street Subway running under Flinders Street itself. You can read about it here. […]


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