Street Name Origins

The debate over who actually named Melbourne's streets, and to whom those names indeed refer, is less important than their evolving role as socio-cultural signifiers.

It was Richard Bourke not Sir Richard Bourke who named many Melbourne CBD streets, but as street names were initially chaulked on blackboards, names were changed by fancy.

Here are some of the origins...

STREET NAMES


A'Beckett Street Opens MAP in new browser window William A'Beckett - Chief Justice of Victoria 1852.

Bourke Street Opens MAP in new browser window Sir Richard Bourke, Governor of New South Wales.

Collins Street Opens MAP in new browser window Lieutentant Colonel David Collins Governor of Victoria 1851-1854.

Elizabeth Street Opens MAP in new browser window The wife of Governor Bourke, although there is a difference of opinion. It was stated in a Melbourne publication that it was a compliment paid by Sir Richard Bourke to one of his daughters; but I am assured, on the authority of Mr. Hoddle, that it was meant for Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen of English history. Source quote: Whitehat.

Exhibition Street (previously Stephen Street) Opens MAP in new browser window After Exhibition Buildings and Exhibition of 1880.

Flinders Street Opens MAP in new browser window Mathew Flinders - Explorer

Hoddle Street Opens MAP in new browser window (not in CBD) Robert Hoddle - Surveyor General of Victoria 1851-1853 responsible for the Melbourne grid.

King Street Opens MAP in new browser window Phillip Gidley King - Govenor of N.S.W

La Trobe Street Opens MAP in new browser window Charles Joseph La Trobe - First Governor of Victoria (1851-1854). Interestingly, the suburb of Jolimont got its name from a remark by La Trobe's wife on first seeing Jolimont Hill.. 'joli mon' meaning beautiful little hill. This is where they arrected the first Government House, as well as the first 'pre-fab' house in Australia.

Little Bourke Street, Melbourne - Started as Synagogue Lane, then Little Queen Street, then Bourke Lane. See above for Bourke Street

Lonsdale Street Opens MAP in new browser window Captain William Lonsdale - 4th Regiment Infantry

Queen Street Opens MAP in new browser window Queen Adelaide - Wife of William 4th.

Russell Street Opens MAP in new browser window Lord John Russell - British Prime Minister.

Stephen Street (now Exhibition Street) Opens MAP in new browser window W.J. Stephens - Under Secretary of the Colonial Office.

Spencer Street Opens MAP in new browser window Lord John Spencer - British Prime Minister 1834-1837

Spring Street Opens MAP in new browser window Thomas Spring Rice Chancellor of the Exchecquer.

Swanston Street Walk Opens MAP in new browser window Captain Charles Swanston, a Tasmanian banker and prominent member of the Port Phillip Association.

William Street Opens MAP in new browser window King William 4th.

OTHER NAMES


A
ACDC Lane, Melbourne (AC/DC Lane) after the rock group AC/DC whose career commenced in Melbourne.
Amphlett Lane after late Divinyls singer Chrissy Amphlett
B
Banana Alley, Melbourne
C
City Square, Melbourne
D
Dame Edna Place, Melbourne (formerly Browns Alley) after the character played by Melburnian Barry Humprhries.
E

F

G

H
Hardware Lane, Melbourne

K
Kitz Lane, Melbourne is named after Swiss-born Louis Kitz, who arrived in Melbourne with his family aboard the ship Barrackpoore in February 1853. He settled in Geelong and became a watchmaker, jeweller and silversmith. Later he moved back to Melbourne and became a well-known wine merchant, promoting the fledgling Victorian colonial wine industry. Kitz was an innovator - he was one of only 12 subscribers to the first Melbourne telephone directory and it is claimed that he established the cider industry in Australia.

L

M

N

Q

R

S

V

W

WHAT'S IN A STREET NAME


"Name dropper" That's what Melbourne historian Weston Bate calls Sir Richard Bourke, the visiting NSW governor who in 1837 labelled Melbourne's central thoroughfares.

Royalty, aristocracy, judiciary and explorers were Sir Richard's forte. He left behind an Anglocentric, gridiron snapshot of the early 19th century's great and good.

But Melbourne's lanes and alleys offer a more down-to-earth record of the city's evolution. "The lanes really grew their own names," Professor Bate, president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, said.

With some 115 entries, the society yesterday launched its first handy reference guide to the names of Melbourne's streets and lanes.

Aimed at visitors and Melburnians, the pocket brochure explains the origin of most of the city's streets, lanes and alleys. According to Professor Bate, the early lanes sprang up as Melbourne's settlers subdivided the big blocks between Sir Richard's grand streets into more manageable units.

Many lanes were filled with workers' cottages. "People often named them after pubs and hotels on corners," Professor Bate said.

No fewer than 21 entries can be traced back to gold-rush Melbourne's affection for alcohol.

Professor Bate's favourite, the cobbled Niagara Lane, lies nestled between well-preserved, red-brick warehouses off Lonsdale Street where the Niagara Hotel plied its trade.

Later, as Marvellous Melbourne boomed, lane names recorded the city's burgeoning specialist trade areas and long-vanished businesses - Hosier Lane off Flinders; Kirks Lane, once home to Kirk's Horse Bazaar between Swanston and Queen Street; biscuit baker TB Guest and Co in William Street is remembered by the eponymous lane between Lonsdale and Little Bourke.

However, some memories have all but been erased. Romeo Lane and Juliet Terrace near the Princess Theatre were once infamous dens of love of a commercial, rather than star-crossed nature. According to Professor Bate, Melbourne councillors reacted by attempting a futile rebranding exercise.

"The good city council decided they would have to change the names and so they became Liverpool and Crossley Streets," he said. "But of course the brothels remained."

Melbourne's Streets and Lanes is available free from the society's offices in A'Beckett Street (named after Victoria's first chief justice Sir William A'Beckett) and at the visitor centre at Federation Square.

Source : Whats in a street name? - The Age : Andrew Webster : February 19, 2004

CITY OF MELBOURNE


In 1837, Governor Bourke on his promotion to lieutenant-general, named the town of Melbourne after Viscount Melbourne the U.K. Prime Minister.


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Web Links

Melbourne Link Street Name Origins Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window Google CBD Street Map Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window Whitehat Guide - Naming of Melbourne's Streets Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window www.whereis.com Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window Add to the info on this page... Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window Dame Edna Place, formerly Browns Alley Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window Melbourne Street Names - Wikipedia Link opens in new browser window

Opens in New Window Streets in Melbourne - Wikipedia Link opens in new browser window





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