Origin of Place Names

Heritage buildingABBOTSFORD

This was named after “Abbotsford House" built by John Orr on land he bought along the Yarra in 1842. The house and grounds were purchased in 1863 to be used as the Convent of the Good Shepherd and the original house was later demolished.


Farm-size land sales in Alphington coincided with those in the Northcote and Fairfield district in 1840. Most of Alphington was bought by three persons. Most easterly, Thomas Wills bought 71 hectares running down to the river where the Latrobe golf club is now situated. He built the "Lucerne" homestead (1840-1960), but soon disposed of it and built the grander "Willsmere" on the other side of the river in Kew. The westerly purchaser were the Howitt brothers, important Port Phillip and post gold-rush personalities. Howitt thought the "situation delicious and the slopes most graceful." The purchaser of the middle portion was Charles Roemer, who soon on-sold, but his name is commemorated in Roemer Crescent, off Lucerne Crescent.


The area was named after William Burnley, pioneer land purchaser in Richmond, local councillor and parliamentarian.


The name "Carringbush" was first used by Frank Hardy in his novel Power Without Glory, a semi-fictional account of the millionaire John Wren. Hardy's thinly disguised names such as Carringbush for Collingwood and John West for John Wren were easily seen through and the book's publication in 1950 led to his trial for criminal libel.


An early landowner, better known in Richmond, was John Docker, who owned Clifton Farm in 1841. Clifton Farm was named after an area called Clifton Hill on the Avon River in Bristol, England.  A land speculator, John Knipe, later named the area Clifton Hill.

The Clifton Hill area was once known as "The Quarries", as the Melbourne City Council owned a quarry there in 1840s.


Collingwood was named after Admiral Collingwood, who took over the British fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar after the death of Nelson.

The area now known as Collingwood has had a number of name changes and boundaries over the early years. Melbourne was first settled in 1835.  In 1838 and 1839 land sales occurred in the areas now known as Collingwood and Fitzroy, a new settlement called Newtown sprang up in what is now Fitzroy. In 1842 the surveyor Robert Hoddle named the Newtown area "Collingwood". This area was bounded by Nicholson Street, Victoria Parade (then called Reilly Street) and Smith Street and became part of the Melbourne Municipal Corporation in 1842. The area east of Smith Street became known as East Collingwood and in 1855 became officially the Municipality of East Collingwood.

In 1873 the "East" was officially dropped from East Collingwood's name and it became (and has remained) Collingwood.


Cremorne was named after the Cremorne Gardens which were founded in this area by James Ellis, a gold rush entrepreneur, who purchased ten acres of land in Richmond alongside the Yarra in 1853 and opened his pleasure gardens (which were named after the Cremorne Gardens in London).  The gardens were located south of Swan Street between Cremorne Street, the railway line, and the Yarra River.  The gardens consisted of extensive ornamental plantings, pavilions, grottoes and bridges.

The gardens were acquired and expanded by entrepreneur George Coppin and became one of Melbourne’s major attractions, with patrons arriving by train and boat to see wild animals, dancing and other entertainment.  In 1863 the gardens were sold and subdivided for housing.


Land sales in the Fairfield area were included in those extending from Northcote to Alphington in 1840. The early villages were Alphington and Northcote (where today's Westgarth is situated). In the early 1880s a land speculator, Charles Henry James, bought up large tracts of land in the district, and sold some of it in subdivided form in an estate named Fairfield Park, apparently a name taken from Derbyshire.


There have been various changes of name and boundaries of Fitzroy in the early years. Melbourne was first settled in 1835.  After land sales in 1838 and 1839 of what are now Collingwood and Fitzroy, a new settlement called Newtown sprang up in what is now Fitzroy. In 1842 the surveyor Robert Hoddle named the Newtown area "Collingwood". This area was bounded by Nicholson Street, Victoria Parade (then called Reilly Street) and Smith Street and became pact of the Melbourne Municipal Corporation in 1842.

The area west of Smith Street was known as upper or west Collingwood into the 1860s. However, in 1858 this area was severed from the City of Melbourne and became the Municipality of Fitzroy, named after Sir Charles Fitzroy, Governor of New South Wales from 1846 to 1855.

In 1877, the Australian Handbook and Almanac described the municipality of Fitzroy as 'one of the most important of the [Victorian] metropolitan suburban towns… The jurisdiction of the municipality of Fitzroy extends over 820 acres, upon which are erected 3,820 dwellings, including many fine terraces and palatial residences.' Forty years before. Fitzroy had been mostly paddocks and bush, incorporating the first land to be sold beyond the bounds of the town reserve of Melbourne.


North Fitzroy was laid out in the 1850s, by and large to a design developed by government survey staff in contrast to the under-dimensioned thoroughfares and allotments arising from private speculation and development south of Alexandra Parade.


The subdivision and settlement of Carlton came later than that of Fitzroy and Collingwood.  By the gold rush, 1851, two thirds of those suburbs were subdivided, often in a haphazard way calculated to maximize profit on the resale of land.  When Robert Hoddle, Government surveyor, came to survey Carlton in 1852, care was taken to lay out streets in an orderly grid, with reserves for open space and religious institutions.  Carlton North was subdivided in 1869 between Princes and Fenwick Streets.
Carlton, is thought to have been named after the residence of the Prince of Wales.


The section of land between Pigdon Street and the Cemetery was subdivided by the government in 1876-1879. 


Located about 3 km east of Melbourne, was named from Richmond on the Thames, where the first Tudor King, Henry VII, built his palace and named it after his own early title, Earl of Richmond.   Between 1839 and1842, the area was unofficially called Richmond on the Hill and Richmond Village.   Richmond did not officially get its name until 1842 when it appeared in the Government Gazette.

Richmond was a rural retreat from the crowded city of Melbourne. By the early 1840 and 50s Richmond became a heavy industrialised suburb, with tanneries, quarries, brick making, coach building and soap works expanding through the area.

Further information
Strategic Planning Branch
9205 5049


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