Place names

Interesting article about the vagaries of “secret” suburb names. It reminds me of the time a colleague told me he was buying a house in Travancore. I had no idea where it was. It turns out to be a pocket of Ascot Vale, but the name is one that I’d suspect is rarely seen outside real estate brochures. It’s all about marketing.

It’s a similar story with people wanting to move suburb boundaries around. I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but this kind of think narks me somewhat. The border of Bentleigh has crept south, and the border of Hampton (well, Hampton East actually) has crept east, with the result that properties literally across the street from Moorabbin Town Hall and Moorabbin Railway Station aren’t in Moorabbin.

Similar story in Gardenvale, which is hemmed-in from all sides by Elsternwick to the north and Brighton from the south.

Then you’ve got silly stuff like the Sydenham train line terminating not at Sydenham, but at “Watergardens.”

Is it any wonder people need directions?!

See also: a rant on why they shouldn’t have renamed Spencer Street Station.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “Place names”

I used to live in Auburn….which was in Hawthorn, but you know it was WAY better than Hawthorn…anyway…

Can I tell you something that bugs me? We live in Hampton…which to be honest is sometimes embarrassing because everyone assumes we’re zillionaires which we’re not…but where we are actually used to be Highett (was changed to help Aussie Post truth be told) But for some reason people can’t seem to get their head around that and insist on calling it Hampton East. Even though it isn’t. Even though I rang Bayside council to check what the Melways clearly shows…

See I’m a stickler for the facts, and that’s the only reason I insist on pointing out that it’s actually Hampton and that Hampton East is on the other side of Wickham Rd. But you know what makes you feel like a bigger tosser than saying you live in Hampton? Telling people who insist it’s Hampton East that it isn’t!

PS: Apologies to any zillionaires (or not) who live in either Hampton or Hampton East…not suggesting for a moment you’re a tosser (but not to say you’re not either…hehehe)

Stitch Sista
couldn’t agree more. We live in Hampton, but when the house next door was for sale, it was advertised as “in the exclusive Brighton Beach tennis court precinct”. Wot a load of phoohey!
PS A lot of Melbournians (sp?) don’t know where Hampton is. I often say, “next to Moorabbin ” if they look puzzled.

Not to mention the area of East Bentleigh that used to be Coatesville. You can see where it was as there’s still Coatesville Primary School and the shops in Mackie Road are still sometimes called Coatesville.

I’ve got a mate who lives in Travancore. I thought it was out near the airport or something. I haven’t gone to the trouble of measuring it but it looks as though it wouldn’t even cover 2km square. There’s also Clarinda down near Clayton as well as Briar Hill where I live now as my candidates for secret suburb names.

One of my hobbies!

The problem with Auburn is the more well-known one in Sydney. But you’re right to avoid Hampton East – that’s where all the commission houses are ;) Maybe it’s for a similar reason that East Malvern is almost an hour’s walk from west to east. But if you’re near Melway 77 A5, you could try Castlefield is an alternative.

As for it being a growing trend, my 1970 Melways includes many localities far more obscure than in that article.

Who has heard of any of these: Baden-Powell (Frankston), Barker (Hawthorn), Bellevue (Balwyn), Beauville (south Carnegie), Cleeland (Dandenong), Charman (Mentone), Crimea (Caulfield N), Cromer (Beaumaris), Cross Keys (Essendon), Dunearn (Dandenong), Elgar Park (Surrey Hills), Faversham (Surrey Hills), Fortuna (Balwyn Nth), Gilbank (Reservoir), Glen Park (Eltham), Harrisfield (Noble Park), Houston (Box Hill), Kananook (somehow I don’t think this has caught on, as Seaford’s better), Kinkuna (Blackburn S), Heathwood (a manufactured one between two ‘proper’ suburbs like Moorleigh and Warranwood), Kunyung (Mt Eliza), Lincolnville (Keilor East), Macclesfield (3159), Parkmore (not Keysborough, but Nunawading), Novar (Dandenong), Robinson (Braybrook), Princes Gate (CBD), Pender (Thornbury), Stocksville (Ashwood), Solway (Ashburton), Whitburn (Clayton N), or Wishart (Moorabbin).

To this should be added some estate names that are still in use and may serve a purpose where the suburb is large. Eg Riverdene in Werribee and Belbridge & Mossfiel Park in Hoppers. Reservoir is similarly huge and probably has districts. Matthews Hill isn’t on the list, but it’s certainly known as the yuppie part of Sunshine (on the way to Braybrook).

The decline of the milkbar and school amalgamations probably works against locality names while the train system map keeps them alive. The real estate industry can make it go either way. Eg resurrecting an old name for a new development or expanding an old-money suburb.

Neighbourhoods is a very apt name for the secret suburbs. They usually describe a sub-division from a particular period. I grew up in Ascot Vale two blocks from Travancore and have seen property listings from my old street described erroneously as Travancore. The area was a magnificent estate sub-divided in the late 1920s and filled with pretty grand homes by comparison with the surrounding area. All of the streets are named after places in India so if it’s not Indian, then it’s not Travancore because it wasn’t part of the original estate.

I have to say I’m a proud flat-onwer in secret suburb Deependene. Still waiting for my grandmother’s ashes, though…

On the flipside is the mega-suburbs, the leader of which I name Brighton. Such a horrid place, and so large. My parents’ place, in McKinnon, I sometimes describe as East East Brighton.

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