If Daniel was emperor of the world Melbourne

When suburb names get stupid

Came across this business. They have two branches. They have a Chadstone branch, which is actually in Hughesdale, and they have a Bentleigh branch, which I’ll grudgingly admit is technically in Bentleigh, but is actually on Patterson Road, right next to Patterson station.

As I’ve noted before, Hampton East now stretches right the way to Moorabbin, as does Bentleigh — both now end just across the street from Moorabbin Town Hall and Moorabbin Station. Ditto Gardenvale, which is now tiny, wedged between Elsternwick and Brighton.

Moorabbin: Melway edition 1 vs now
Moorabbin in Melway edition 1, versus now

See, if I ran the world, none of this crap would happen. Areas would be named for what they’re actually nearby to — particularly when there’s things like railway stations involved, as consistent naming helps people navigate. They couldn’t just adopt some nearby suburb name that some upwardly mobile people aspire to cheat their way into: real estate bods wouldn’t be able to influence the movement of suburb boundaries (like the one The Age noted the other week — part of Bentleigh migrated over to East Brighton).

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 “When suburb names get stupid”

I imagine the name “Moorabin” has the same negative impact on house values as “Tullamarine”… so it makes sense that residents want to disassociate their investment from such a negative. Also, the changing council boundaries indicated in your comparison of maps, suggest that councils might be trying to stake their claim to the new asset by renaming it. Happens all the time.

You may have or have not noticed but not even Chadstone Shopping Centre is in Chadstone anymore. Nor is Holmesglen TAFE Chadstone campus. They’re both in East Malvern in the Stonnington area. Roger’s Tailoring saying they’re in Chadstone is starting to not look like a big deal after all.

Nice, out of the three directions you can walk out of the station area at Moorabbin, there’s three different suburbs! I think the name ‘Moorabbin’ is associated with being an industrial suburb by a lot of people.

Although some places cling to the old names, eg the Monash Medical Centre (Moorabbin).

My understanding is that the whole Bentleigh area was part of a much larger Brighton until it got renamed after Tommy Bent. So the climbers who want to name bits of Bentleigh Brighton East appear to have some history on their side.

Relative to what was proposed, despite its good location, Central Moorabbin is Melbourne’s only district centre that is a clear failure. People reckon it’s a good place to move out of (eg local government, IKEA, St Kilda FC). The TAFE is just a bit too far to support the vitality of the centre (and that shares the name of another suburb).

Rail’s third track only benefits suburbs further afield and the station is a poor advertisement for redevelopment. It is inferior to Bentleigh or even Highett, but may be better than Patterson (that other grade-seperated station). The large number of bus routes serving it (compared to say Bentleigh) is a legacy of a previous status in the regional urban hierachy.

Today the only thing that works in Moorabbin is light industrial. This plus the name of the airport reinforce its image. This area will always remain Moorabbin.

The general trajectory for failed centres is that if private enterprise can’t get stuff to work the government moves in with social housing etc. In Moorabbin’s case is clearly a ‘higher and better use’ (both financially and socially) than what’s currently there so should be allowed to proceed with few restrictions.

Same kind of crap is happening over my side of town: East Keilor, Airport West and Niddree all want to become variations of Essendon. WTF? To think I used to whinge that Brighton (and variations) covered six Melways maps, and I had to explain that McKinnon was “East-East-Brighton” (I guess it’s now North Bentleigh).

I have this theory that each city should have the same names for its suburbs as all other cities, and that they should be in roughly the same place. It certainly would make navigating easier. Now all I need to do is become ruler of the world, and I can solve this pressing problem!

Peter is correct – in fact you’ll find that Moorabbin Station used to be called South Brighton until 1907 and Bentleigh was East Brighton until that time. Patterson opened much later, in the 1960s.
As the area developed ‘Brighton’ shrank until it became trendy again for real estate purposes. As TK correctly pointed out Chadstone is disappearing and soon East Malvern will be bigger than Malvern, if it is not the case already!! (The city of Stonnington is west of Warrigal Road and includes Chadstone shopping Centre)

Similarly Preston covered a larger area and every station on the Whittlesea line between Bell and Reservoir named Preston in some form (e.g. Preston – Bell St, Preston – Regent St, etc). Railway station names have also changed to reflect changes in localities. Admittedly they were probably not so much thinking of property values back then.

Having said all this I’m wondering the hell the significance of naming Spencer Street ‘Southern Cross’ is (apart from Peter Bachelor saying at the time ‘Spencer Street’ was synonymous with dirtiness, etc). The only other thing with that name was the former hotel on the other side of the city that was demolished some years back!!

I live in Bentleigh
Or Bentliegh East

Noone can seem to work it out- mail comes from either postcode and we’ve even had the sender’s postcode crossed out, rewritten with the other one and then crossed out again with a big “THAT IS NOT THE POSTCODE” scrawled upon it by Australia Post.

We could technically be Patterson too though!

What used to annoy me was the habit of developers moving in to a relatively large, sparsely occupied area, filling it with a sub-division, sometimes gated, giving it a fancy name (e.g. Winston Hills) and then, after a couple of years, hey presto! New suburb! With a postcode, although *that* was usually the same as the old suburb that the sub-division had been built in. As it were.

Actually, it *still* annoys me, because developers are still doing it!!

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