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Cluster: Exploring Melbourne's Street Names

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
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Which Australian estate is named after The Beatles?

What's in a name? Well lots.

Especially in some of the street names we walk past every day and take for granted.

If you live in Yarraville you may have noticed that many of the street names are named after prominent goldfields such as Ballarat, Alexander, Forest and Bendigo.

Gold miners would walk back from the goldfields through Yarrravile and see the street signs. This would remind them of striking it rich.

It was a ploy to encourage them to buy blocks of land in the area before they got to Melbourne and blew all their money. So even back in the 1850s real estate marketing was in full swing.

When I lived in Doncaster it was nice to walk past streets and know they were named after the original orchardist's daughters who had grown up in the area. It gave a seamless sense of history and place.

Names of streets are grouped into clusters as it is a brain taxing occupation to come up with individual street names.

Clustering allows developers and planners to reel off names very quickly rather than simply wracking their brains to think of famous landmarks to name streets after.

In Elwood and St Kilda, for example, streets are named after famous writers: Tennyson St, Dickens St, Milton St, Chaucer St, Wordsworth St, Shakespeare Gv, Shelley St, Byron St, Mitford St, and Poets Gv.

I once lived in Milton St and never made that connection.

Elwood which is near the beach has lots of words that remind you of the nearby water such as Spray St, Tide St, Beach Av, Wave St, Foam St.

Narre Warren South has the Strawberry Fields Estate which includes Lennon Circuit, McCartney Drive, Ringo Place, Norwegian Way, Tangerine Drive, Jude Place and, wait for it, Abbey Rd. Although they seem to have forgotten about poor old Penny Lane.

Now there is an exhibition that explores this concept called: Cluster: Exploring Melbourne's Street Names. It looks at the hidden pattern of street names spread across central and suburban Melbourne.

The great thing about this exhibition is that it is in the Melbourne Town Hall so when you are walking past you can just drop in and take a look. Plus it is free.

City Gallery pop in it's free

There are thousands of street name clusters across Melbourne. This exhibition presents some of the best, from clusters named after the city's founding fathers, to 1980s football stars as well as their wives and daughters.

Visitors will be encouraged to tell of their own cluster through a pin-up board.

The words for this exhibition were written by Historian Professor Graeme Davison who is a pre-eminent local historian.

So where do the streets in your suburb come from? Do you have some interesting information to share?

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Why? To find out about the streets in your suburb
When: April 30th - July 30th.Opening hours Monday: 10am to 2pm Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 6pm Saturday: 10am to 4pm Closed Sunday and public holidays
Phone: Telephone: 9658 9658 Email:
Where: Melbourne Town Hall City GalleryGround floor Melbourne Town Hall 110 Swanston Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: Free
Your Comment
In the late fifties my family moved from South Melbourne to Ashburton. We lived
in Tobruk Road & all the surrounding streets were names connected to mostly
WW2. Gloucester, Catalina, Samarinda,Victory,Wewak,Liberator,Mustang,Bardia
Benghazi & many more,from that I became very interested in history. My brother
& I attended Alamein State School which unfortunately is no longer there. I have fond memories of that time.
by julzy (score: 1|54) 2377 days ago
They should have called it Henry Lawson Track at the very least.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|5699) 2378 days ago
We have a Henry Lawson Drive in Lynbrook - it makes me smile every time I drive past it.
by Rafahm (score: 1|43) 2378 days ago
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