Barkly Gardens and Swan Street heritage walk

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Crown allotments were auctioned in Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood in 1839 - these were the first land sales outside of the township of Melbourne. The allotments were intended to be farmlets, varying in size between 10 and 30 acres each.

Many land purchases were speculative

Most of the purchases in Richmond (which was divided into 47 allotments) were speculative in nature, with many of the allotments being re-subdivided (into acre and half acre lots) and advertised for sale within weeks of purchase.

Swan Street

Swan Street was designed as a road reserve in the Crown Allotment Survey of 1837. It is thought to be named after the 'Swan Inn' on the south-eastern corner of Swan and Church streets. Swan Street originally finished at Survey Paddock (at the eastern end), but was extended to the Yarra River after 1874.

Land along Swan Street was subdivided from 1853 (north side, west of Church Street). In 1855 there was a concentration of shops around the intersection of Church Street.


The railway was extended across Swan Street in 1860, and in 1887 the level crossing was replaced with the overhead bridge. By 1889 Swan Street was fully developed. The street was sealed in 1901, the electric trams were installed in 1916.

Iconic buildings

In the early 1900s some of the iconic buildings associated with Swan Street were constructed, such as Dimmeys, the Post Office, Maples, and the State Bank.

Crown allotments

The area now bounded by Church Street to the west, Burnley Street to the east, Swan Street and Yarra River was divided into six allotments (crown allotments seven to 12). These were long narrow allotments which fronted Swan Street and ran down to the Yarra River.

Crown allotments seven and eight (closest to Church Street) were purchased in 1849, and subdivided in 1853 and 1854 (the area bounded by Mary, Church and Swan Streets, and the river). Crown allotment nine was subdivided in 1880 and 1882, creating the roads east of Coppin Street (Rooney Street, Rose Street, and Barkly Avenue).

Barkly Gardens

Barkly Gardens - located between the two subdivisions - was established around 1865 (it first appears on a Lands Department Map in 1865).