Monthly Archives: August 2015

Melbourne street data

A’BECKETT STREET Sir William A’Beckett, Port Phillip Resident Judge from 1845, and Victoria’s first Chief Justice (D1).

ALBION ALLEY The Albion Hotel in Bourke Street was the city terminus of Cobb & Co. coaches (F3).

ALFRED PLACE After migrant ship or for birth of Prince Alfred, 6 August 1844, who visited Australia as Duke of Edinburgh 1867-1868 (H4).

ATHENAEUM PLACE Named for Athena (Greek Goddess of Wisdom), the Athenaeum was the rebuilt Mechanics Institute; now hosts a library, club and theatre (G4).

BANK PLACE Bank of Australasia built Collins Street premises in 1840 on land purchased from CH Ebden. In 1858 rebuilt on Queen Street corner (D4).

BAPTIST PLACE Built 1846, the original brick Collins Street chapel was designed by John Gill, and its Corinthian portico, designed by Reed and Barnes, was added in 1862 (G4).

BENNETTS LANE Robert Bennett MLA, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, 1861-62 (H2).

BLIGH PLACE Merchants Bligh & Harbottle operated from premises in Little Flinders Street (E5).

BLOCK PLACE Access to Block Arcade (1893). ‘Doing the Block’ was the fashionable afternoon shopping and social promenade along this section of Collins Street (F4).

BOND STREET Import merchants established bonded warehouses there after Melbourne was granted full Customs port status in 1840 (E5).

BOURKE STREET Sir Richard Bourke, NSW Governor 1831-38. While visiting Port Phillip in 1837, he named Melbourne and its major streets (B3).

BOWEN STREET Named for Sir George Bowen Governor of Victoria 1873-79, the street was closed in 1950 and incorporated into grounds of RMIT University (G1).

BRIEN LANE Opposite the former Eastern Market, butcher Joseph Brien carved out his business from 1848 (H3).

BULLENS LANE Clothiers Frederick Bullen and Son, of Little Bourke Street, 1880s (G3).

CALEDONIAN LANE Caledonian Hotel, near corner Swanston and Lonsdale Streets, originally a 13-room house built by Presbyterian minister JP Clow in 1839 (F3).

CARSON PLACE Featuring an elaborate facade, Carson’s quality footwear shop in Collins Street prospered in the gold-rush (F4).

CELESTIAL AVENUE A name associated with ancient China’s Celestial Empire, ruled by heavenly beings (G3).

CHAPTER HOUSE LANE Robert Hoddle included the lane when surveying the site in 1848 for St Paul’s church, rebuilt as the Cathedral in the 1880s (G5).

CHURCH STREET AND LANE St James Church of England estab. 1839, was relocated from William Street to King Street, West Melbourne in 1913 (C4).

CLEVE LANE Cleve Bros. built bonded warehouse in Lonsdale Street in 1854, expanded business to King Street corner in 1862 (B3).

CLUB LANE Rear access to the Melbourne Club (estab. 1838). Renamed from Collins Lane after the Club’s Collins Street premises were built in 1859 (J4).

COATES LANE EAST Grazier Walter Coates purchased a property on the Yarra’s northern banks, 1840 (J4).

COHEN PLACE Cohen’s Pawnbroker, Little Lonsdale Street, and Cohen Brothers Upholsterers, Lonsdale Street, located east of Elizabeth Street (H3).

COLLINS STREET Commandant Lt-Colonel David Collins abandoned 1803-4 convict settlement, near today’s Sorrento, to establish Hobart Town. Escaped convict William Buckley remained behind (B4).

COROMANDEL PLACE Ship from Plymouth with 239 passengers arrived at Port Phillip July 1840 (H4).

CORPORATION LANE Led to works depot of Melbourne City Council (H5).

CROMBIE LANE A survival from the early 1850s, probably named for Lonsdale St drapers and importers Crombie, Clapperton & Findlay (B3).

CROSSLEY STREET Previously Romeo Lane, located near Shakespeare Hotel located in Stephen (later Exhibition) Street (J3).

CROWN PLACE Crown Hotel cnr. Lonsdale and Queen Streets (E3).

CUSTOMS HOUSE LANE Begun in 1839 and completed 1859, the Customs House (now Immigration Museum) was adjacent to deep anchorage at Queen’s Wharf (C5).

DEGRAVES STREET Merchant pastoralist William Degraves built a steam-driven flour mill on this site in 1851 (F5).

DOWNIE STREET Est. 1884, JB Downie, importer of beer, spirits, machinery and Portland cement, later moved company to Market Street (B5).

DREWERY LANE Chemist Thomas Drewery was elected City Councillor for Gipps Ward in 1851 (F2).

DUCKBOARD PLACE Adjacent to Duckboard House, WW2 entertainment centre for troops (H5).

EAGLE ALLEY An old right-of way from LaTrobe Street to Hawk Place off King Street became Eagle Alley in 1890, a name now given to the whole ‘dogleg’ (B2).

ELIZABETH STREET The once-timbered gully was possibly named to honour Gov. Bourke’s wife who died at Parramatta in 1832 (F5).

EQUITABLE PLACE Equitable Life Assurance offices on Elizabeth-Collins Street corner were built by Dame Nellie Melba’s father, David Mitchell (E4).

EXHIBITION STREET see STEPHEN STREET EXPLORATION LANE Little Lonsdale’s Exploration Hotel was possibly named for the doomed Burke and Wills Expedition 1860-1 (H2).

FINLAY ALLEY Possibly for John Finlay, road contractor, pastoralist and later St Kilda resident (E2).

FLANIGAN LANE Architects John Flanigan snr and jnr designed the now demolished Eastern Market (E2).

FLINDERS STREET In April 1802 navigator Capt. Matthew Flinders in the Investigator claimed discovery of Port Phillip, but later acknowledged the prior arrival in February of the Lady Nelson under Acting Lieut. John Murray (C5).

FRANCIS STREET Merchant politician JG Francis held the Trade and Customs portfolio in 1866 when the Government Shipping Offices were built fronting Spencer Street (A4).

GEDDES LANE Engineer and machinist William Geddes operated from Collins Street premises (C5).

GEORGE PDE Name changed from La Trobe Parade c1924 after the Henry George Club, named for the political theorist, established headquarters there (H5).

GLOBE ALLEY Globe Hotel on corner Swanston and Little Bourke Streets (G3).

GODFREY STREET Formed by 1880s subdivision, possibly named for developer (A4).

GOLDEN FLEECE ALLEY Russell Street’s Golden Fleece Hotel (H3).

GOLDSBROUGH LANE Richard Goldsbrough’s wool warehouse, built 1862 on the Bourke-William Street corner (C3).

GORDON PLACE Gordon House built 1883 as apartments then converted to a rooming house is again an up-market hotel and apartments (J3).

GRESHAM STREET Formed in late 1880s, the name was first listed in 1933 (C3).

GRIFFIN LANE Hay and corn merchant William Griffin was established in Little Collins Street by 1856 (J2).

GUESTS LANE Biscuit bakers TB Guest & Co. were in William Street from 1866 (C3).

GURNERS LANE Henry Gurner, Crown Solicitor from 1841-80, lived in William Street until 1854 (D4).

HARDWARE STREET (AND LANE) Named for Hardware House 1927. Northern end was formerly Wright Lane, named by 1857 (E2 & E3).

HARPER LANE Merchant (and later Federal MP) Robert Harper, had a tea, coffee, spice, flour and oatmeal business in Flinders Lane from 1865 (D5).

HEAPE COURT Benjamin Heape, pastoralist merchant, of Heape and Grice, Little Lonsdale Street (E2).

HEFFERNAN LANE Rody Heffernan owned the Melbourne Hotel (later Centenary Hotel) in Lonsdale Street (G3).

HENTY LANE The pastoralist Henty family established James Henty & Co., a merchant and shipping agency in Little Collins Street in 1851 (C4).

HIGHLANDER LANE From Royal Highlander Hotel in Flinders Street (C5).

HOWEY PLACE Henry Howey, pastoralist and first purchaser of land on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, 1837 (F4).

HOWITT LANE Dr Godfrey Howitt’s renowned prefabricated wooden cottage and garden was at the top of Collins Street from 1840 (J5).

JEFFCOTT STREET William Jeffcott, Port Phillip’s second Resident Judge, 1843-45 (B1).

KING STREET NSW Governor 1800-06, Philip Gidley King, facilitated the discovery of Port Phillip opening off strategic Bass Strait (B5).

KIRKS LANE August stallion sales were a highlight of Kirk’s Horse Bazaar, one of several Bourke Street saleyards between Swanston and Queen Streets (E3).

KITZ LANE Swiss-born wine merchant Louis Kitz had stores in Bourke and Collins Streets and in Geelong (D4).

KNOX LANE Behind the former John Knox Church in Swanston Street, now a convention centre for Melbourne Church of Christ (F2).

LA TROBE STREET Charles Joseph La Trobe, Port Phillip Superintendent 1839-50, Victoria’s first Lieut.-Governor 1851-54 (B1).

LITTLE BOURKE STREET Sections were named Law Courts Place and Post Office Place for adjacent institutions (B3).

LITTLE COLLINS STREET Section between Queen and William Streets was known as Chancery Lane (B4).

LITTLE LEICHARDT STREET German explorer scientist Ludwig Leichardt disappeared on his fourth north Australia trip, 1848 (J2).

LITTLE LONSDALE STREET Little Lon’s eastern end gained a notorious reputation; its western end including Mint Place adjoining the Royal Mint, was a more respectable address (B2).

LITTLE QUEEN STREET Synagogue Lane until 1868, the new name reduced ‘annoyances’ directed at those attending Little Bourke Street synagogue (D3).

LIVERPOOL STREET Formerly Juliet Terrace, companion to Romeo Lane (see Crossley Street) it was renamed for Bourke Street’s Liverpool Hotel (J3).

LONSDALE STREET Capt. William Lonsdale oversaw civil and military matters as Port Phillip Police Magistrate, 1836-39 (C2).

LUSH LANE James Lush of Mowbray and Lush, drapers and importers in adjacent Flinders Lane (G5).

MACKENZIE STREET Poss. for Alistair Mackenzie, who arrived in 1842 with appointment from Colonial Office as Sheriff. In 1851 he succeeded Lonsdale as Victorian Treasurer (H1).

MALTHOUSE LANE Samuel Burston’s five-storey steam and gas powered malthouse produced superior malt for brewing from 1869 (H5).

MANCHESTER LANE Adjacent to Flinders Lane’s numerous fabric and soft goods warehouses (F5).

MARKET STREET A market square fronting Collins Street from 1842, the Western Market provided covered accommodation from 1849 (D5).

MARKET LANE Gas lit by 1860s, the Eastern Market provided fresh produce and lively entertainment on Saturday nights (H3).

MCCRACKENS LANE McCracken’s Collins Street brewery produced stout and ales from 1851 until it became part of Carlton and United breweries in 1907 (C4).

MCILWRAITH PLACE Formerly Lilly Lane, after 1840s estate agent James Lilly; John McIlwraith, manufacturer of plumbing goods and shipowner was Lord Mayor of Melbourne 1873-4 (J4).

MCKILLOP STREET Named by 1856, probably for the Scottish accountant and estate agent, JP McKillop (E4).

MITCHELL LANE First listed 1935, provided rear access to a new commercial building, Mitchell House in Elizabeth Street (E2).

MITRE LANE Haunt of artists, lawyers and writers, the high-gabled Mitre Tavern has been licensed since 1867 (D4).

MONAGHAN PLACE Thomas Monaghan of Queens Arms Hotel, cnr. Swanston Street and Flinders Lane from 1845 (F5).

NIAGARA LANE Niagara Hotel on Lonsdale Street was named in 1856 for the ship on which its original owners arrived (E3).

PARK STREET Formed c1877 opposite Flagstaff Gardens allowing access between LaTrobe and Little Lonsdale Streets (B2).

PAYNES PLACE Renaming of an old lane in 1909 after John Payne of Payne’s Bon Marche in Bourke Street (H3).

QUEEN STREET Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV. Some considered Adelaide Street a more honorable tribute to the King’s Consort (E5).

RACING CLUB LANE Racing Club Hotel and offices of the Victorian Racing Club were located nearby (E3).

RAINBOW ALLEY Rainbow Hotel, cnr. Swanston and Little Collins Streets (G4).

ROSE ALLEY Named for King Street’s hay and corn merchant, Alexander Rose (B3).

ROYAL LANE Near Royal Mail Hotel, cnr. Bourke and Swanston Streets, and Coppin’s Theatre Royal (G4).

ROYSTON PLACE Formerly Were’s Alley after stockbroker, JB Were, arrived 1839, whose name remains incorporated in a modern firm (F5).

RUSSELL STREET After Lord John Russell, Secretary of State 1835-41, later British Prime Minister (G5).

SPENCER STREET Earl John Charles Spencer (Lord Melbourne’s former Chancellor of Exchequer as Lord Althorp), leader in House of Lords from 1835 (A5).

SPRING STREET A tribute to a verdant precinct; or more likely to Thomas Spring-Rice, Chancellor of Exchequer 1835-38 (J2).

ST JAMES LANE See Church Lane (C4).

ST PATRICKS ALLEY St Patrick’s Hall in Little Bourke Street hosted Victoria’s first Legislative Council, 1851-56 (D3).

STAUGHTON ALLEY Pastoralist and banker Simon Staughton died 1865; stockholder in Flinders Lane 1841 (E5).

STEPHEN STREET, LATER EXHIBITION STREET Sir James Stephen, Colonial Office Under-Secretary 1836-47, was a great supporter of Australia’s colonization. Street name changed for the 1880 Great Exhibition (J4).

SUTHERLAND STREET First listed 1865, possibly for solicitor RA Sutherland (E2).

SWANSTON STREET Capt. Charles Swanston, founder of Tasmania’s Derwent Bank, was a leader of the Port Phillip Association (F1).

TATTERSALLS LANE Tattersalls Hotel and Tattersalls Club located nearby in Bourke Street (G3).

TAVISTOCK PLACE Named as lane by 1865, possibly after London’s Tavistock Street. Former Tavistock House was in Flinders Lane (D5).

TEMPLE COURT PLACE Temple Court, home of the legal profession, named for one of London’s Inns of Court (D4).

THOMSON STREET Thomson & Co., brassfounders and coppersmiths, operated in Little Bourke Street c1880-1950 (D3).

ULSTER LANE Ulster Family Hotel on corner of Spring and Little Collins Streets (J4).

UNION LANE Union Hotel in Little Collins Street in 1860s (F4).

WILLIAM STREET King William IV who reigned 1830-37 left no heirs. His niece Victoria succeeded to the throne (C5).

WILLS STREET Formed c1869 at the side of a new Crown Lands Office. Possibly honoring WJ Wills who died with RO Burke on the northern Australia expedition (D1).

WINDSOR PLACE Built in 1883 (architect Charles Webb), The Windsor (originally The Grand Hotel), became a place of temperance as the Grand Coffee Palace and re-emerged as the licensed Windsor Hotel in 1920 (J4).

WURUNDJERI WAY Dedicated to the Wurundjeri, the traditional owners in the area before European settlement; from wurund – river white gum trees and the jeri grubs found in them (A3).

© Copyright: Royal Historical Society of Victoria

Nautical term origins

A great post by whind_soul about the origin of some nautical terms.

Since we’re already on the topic, the terms port (left) and starboard (right) are packed full of TILness.

Ships used to have their rudders afixed to the right side, and this was the side they steered from. ‘Starboard’ is a corruption of ‘steorbord’ or ‘steer-board.’ In fact, the word ‘steer’ comes from the Old Norse ‘stýri’ meaning rudder.

When pulling into port, ships approached with the land on their left side to avoid damaging the rudder. This is why that side is called ‘port side.’ It was originally called ‘larboard,’ derived from ‘load-board’ (the side you load cargo on), but they decided that the term sounded too similar to ‘starboard’ and changed it.

When two ships crossed paths, the one on the right side had the right-of-way (hence the name). Since ships often passed in the dark of night, they needed a way to determine the location and orientation of other vessels. So, they afixed a red light to left (port) side and a green light to the right (starboard) side.

If the red light of the other ship was visible, it meant that their left side was facing you, thus they were on the right, and that you should yield to them. If their green light was visible, then you were the one with the right-of-way. This is where we get our modern traffic signal colors: red means stop and green means go. This same color system is still used today on aircraft–look next time you see one fly over at night.

If you have trouble keeping it all straight, remember that port wine is red, and that there’s never any left in the morning. Incidentally, port wine is named after the Portuguese seaport city of Porto, from which it was originally exported. All three of those uses of port that I just boldfaced are derived from the Latin word ‘portus‘ meaning ‘harbor.’


Of course, port wine isn’t the alcoholic beverage most closely tied to the sea. For that honor, look to akvavit (sometimes called ‘aquavit’ in English-speaking countries). The name is derived from the Latin aqua vitae meaning ‘water of life.’ Norwegians produce a particularly unique variety, called Linie Aquavits. It was traditionally put in barrels and strapped to the sides of ships for transport. This exposure to the sea gives it a unique briny flavor. Today, they still send it to Australia and back just to give it that flavor.

As long as we’re hanging out at the water level on the side of an old ship, here’s an interesting fact about the phrase, “there’s the devil to pay.” On old ships, they made them water-tight by caulking the cracks with oakum–a mixture of plant fiber and pitch. Caulking a seam in the boards was known as ‘paying’ the seam. The lowest seam–the one right over the water–was the most dangerous. Sailors had to hang off the side of the ship from ropes, and when they got right down to the water, there was a chance of being swept off. For this reason, the lowest seam was known as the Devil’s seam. It it was your job to caulk it, then there was “the devil to pay.”

As much as I’d like to say that’s the origin of the phrase, it’s not. The first use predates nautical terms by a century; sailors just lifted the term and reused it. The degree to which it was contrived is unknown.

However, a phrase that does have true nautical origins is “three sheets to the wind,” referring to a drunk person. While you might think that ‘sheet’ refers to a sail, it actually refers to ropes. Three of these restrained the sails on a fully-masted large ship. If all three were loose, the sails were fully in the wind, and the ship haphazardly rolled around, like a drunk person does while walking down the sidewalk.

Similarly, the bottom corner of a sail is called the ‘foot.’ If the foot is let loose, the sail dances around in the wind. It’s footloose!

Kevin Bacon starred in the movie Footloose, and you’re probably familiar with the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” system. The idea, in case anyone is unfamiliar, is that Kevin Bacon has been in so many things that you can classify actors by how many ‘degrees removed’ from Kevin Bacon they are. (e.g. Susie was in a movie with Joe, who was in a movie with Tommy, who was in a movie with Kevin Bacon…three degrees).

Less commonly-known is the ‘Erdős number,’ named after mathematician Paul Erdős. He co-authored so damn many academic papers that you can link most other authors to him by degrees.

What’s really cool is that a small number of people have both been in a movie and published an academic paper, giving them a combined Erdős–Bacon number. For example, actress Natalie Portman has an Erdős–Bacon number of 7. In fact, she’s quite accomplished academically. She missed the red-carpet premier of Phantom Menace to study for finals.

The surname ‘Portman’ is also derived from the Latin portus. A ‘portman’ loaded ships.