Melbourne Suburb Names
For the past few years, Melbourne has had extraordinary growth and now ranks next to the world’s fastest growing cities. That means the city will spread further adding new suburbs as it grows. Each of these suburbs will require naming – just as the suburbs we live in and know so well did. But do you know how your suburb got its name? Here’s the story of some of Melbourne’s existing suburbs.
While many of Melbourne’s suburbs have definitive reasons for their names, others origins are not as clear. Brunswick may be named for Princess Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of King George IV, or it may have taken its name from the man in charge of the mounted military police in Port Phillip in 1839, Captain George Brunswick Smyth. Essendon is probably named for Essendon in Hertfordshire, England and neighbouring Niddrie may be named after a castle in Scotland (Niddry) or an Edinburgh suburb.
Moonee Ponds, or traditionally Moonee Moonee Ponds, could be from the Aboriginal word for lizard and Moorabbin is said to mean “woman’s milk”. Werribee comes from “Weariby” which means spine or backbone, but the area was named Arndell, then Exe before it finally became Werribee in 1840.
A number of Melbourne’s suburbs take their names from other places in the world. Altona is also village on the River Elbe in Germany and Heidelberg was named by a land agent claiming it resembled the German area of its namesake. Mentone was named for the French resort near Nice and Seaford dropped the ‘l’ from Sleaford, home town of one of the councillors.
Then there are those suburbs named for people. Coburg, originally named for Pentridge prison, was named for the Duke of Edinburgh who was also Duke of Saxe Coburg and Gotha. The Earl of Mornington gave his name to our seaside suburb, Pascoe Vale (originally Pascoeville) was for John Pascoe Fawkner, the second suburb to bear his name. Point Cook was named for a navy man, but not the one you would expect. It took its name (after dropping an ‘e’) from Lieutenant John Murray Cooke who came to Port Phillip Bay in 1837 on HMS Rattlesnake.