Ashburton Street Name Encyclopaedia
Updated: Jul 12
If you know anything about your street and it’s not here I’m very open to suggestions and updates. Also, if I have forgotten your street, let me know and I’ll pop it in.
Visit this post for an overview of the development of Ashburton since the 1890s.
The Ashburton area
Originally the west end of Fakenham Road before the Outer Circle Railway line was built. It was probably named after Mr RMC Aitchison, a deputy engineer at the City of Camberwell in 1929. He eventually became the Town Clerk.
1939: 45 Aitchison Avenue, a five-roomed weatherboard villa, sold for £685. That would be around $59,500 today.
1940: Resident Thomas Brain, a former South Melbourne footballer, was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay £5,000 damages to Lorna Griffiths after her husband drowned when the car Brain was driving plunged into the Yarra River. The damages were later reduced to £2,360.
Alamein Avenue came from El Alamein, the town in Egypt where an Allied victory in World War II signalled the beginning of the end of the Western Desert Campaign.
Alamein Station (pictured here) was named after the road that it terminates at.
Ambon is an island in the archipelago of Indonesia. During WWII, it was the sight of the capture and massacre of an Australian army unit known as Gull Force. On 29-30 January 1942, the Japanese massacred 300 men defending the Laha airfield. The rest were placed in a remote prisoner of war camp and nearly 75 per cent died before liberation.
No information on this one beyond Amery being a last name, so possibly named after a local landowner.
No information on the source of the name. It was originally zoned for East Malvern.
1950: Mrs L C Dunn of Annetta Avenue wrote to The Herald to complain about the delay in the opening of Darling East (now Solway) State School. It was originally a school for children up to the age of eight.
Named after the Avro Anson, a British twin-engined, multi-role aircraft used by the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II. The plane was used primarily for training rather than battle.
One of the earliest streets on the south side of High Street Road. Tenders to build timber-framed houses in the street were first sought in October 1923.
In 1926, it was populated enough for Mr Dengate to request Camberwell City Council place street lights along it.
The land for the Methodist Church on the corner was purchased from Camberwell for £550 in December 1928 but the Depression delayed the building of the Church until 1935.
Named after the Baird family, local dairy farmers. Andrew Hamilton Baird died in November 1934.
Named after the Baker family who ran a dairy farm between Baker and Pascoe streets. An original house is pictured.
Named for the Battle of Bardia, part of the Western Desert campaign. Fought 3-5 January 1941, Bardia was the first engagement of the Australian Army, the first to be commanded by an Australian general (Major General Iven Mackay) and the first to be planned by Australians. The victory at Bardia enabled the Allies to advance into Libya and changed the nature of the Western Desert campaign to their favour.
No information on this name.
Named for the Bristol Beaufort, a British twin-engined torpedo bomber plane also manufactured by the Australian Government as the DAP Beaufort. More than 700 of the planes saw service in the South Pacific, although most were lost through accidents and mechanical failures than to enemy fire.
Benghazi is a city in Libya. During WWII, the Allied powers (including Australian forces) captured the city from the Italians during the Battle of El Alamein.
No record on this one. Possibly a landowner's name.
Named for the Battle of Buna-Gona in New Guinea. This three month battle was fought by Australian and American forces from November 1942 to January 1943. The terrain and climate made it extremely challenging on both sides. Nearly 9,000 men were killed (2,000 from the Allies and 4,000 Japanese) and thousands wounded. Many also died of disease, especially malaria. In the US, the publication of a photograph of dead American soldiers on Buna Beach was the first time the American public had seen the devastation of the Pacific War.
No record on this one. Burbank was a name familiar around Camberwell so possibly to do with a local family/landowner.
An early connecting street between the main drag of High Street Road and the more hospitable-to-travel Fakenham Road. The block of shops on the corner was sub-divided in 1927.
The origin of the name is unknown, it could be a derivative of the name ‘Carroll’. There is another Carool Road in Carnegie and a town called Carool in NSW, so it has some origin from somewhere!
Named for the American-made Consolidated PBY Catalina, a seaplane and amphibious aircraft used during WWII. Catalinas operated in nearly all theatres of WWII and played a prominent role in sea rescues, anti-submarine warfare, and bombing campaigns. The design is still in used today, particularly for aerial firefighting.
[Update Jan 22] According to a long-term resident, Catalina Avenue was used as a prototype street for the housing commission. It housed a number of different styles of brick and concrete homes. The first of the concrete-slab style home that came to typify the housing estates of Jordanville, Ashwood and Chadstone were built on Catalina Avenue.
As they were of a high quality, these houses were given to former military officers, rather than servicemen. By the mid-1980s, most families in the street had purchased their home from the Housing Commission.
Common name in the area. Possibly named after either British reformer Joseph Chamberlain, or his son, Arthur Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister (1937-40).
Originally known as Gunn’s Gully, in the early years of Ashburton, Chayler Street was notorious for its open drain and terrible smell.
No record. Gardiner's Creek near Clifford Close is the nearest proximity to how it looked before European settlement, vegetation wise.
Named after the Comas family who owned land in the area. In 1926, Mr J Comas asked for permission from Camberwell Council to alter his subdivision of land he owned on the corner of Wattle Valley Road and Lofty Avenue in Glen Iris.
Named after the Battle of Crete, fought between the Allies and Germany on the Greek Island of Crete (May-June 1941). The Battle of Crete is most known for being the first time the Germans used large numbers of paratroops. They suffered heavy losses and Hitler decided against further operations of this scale. It was also the first time the Allies used the intelligence obtained from the decrypted Enigma machine.
No record, a common first name in the 1920s.
Records of its existence date to before the 1920s but no explanation on its name origin.
The southern part of the street became the border of Ashburton South in the 1920s while the northern part remained in Glen Iris.
Derna Road is named for the coastal town in Libya that was the site of the third major action fought by Australian troops during WWII. The Allies eventually claimed the town but at least 15 Australians were killed in the battle for Derna.
No information on this one.
Originally called King Street in the 1920s, the name was downgraded to Duke possibly because of republican sentiments from Camberwell Council.
Origin of name not known. The Dunlop Street bridge across Gardiner’s Creek was originally built in 1910 and replaced in 1925 by a concrete one. It was refurbished in 2015.
Probably named for Henry R J Dunscombe and family, who occupied the land for many years before the sub-divisions in the 1920s. There were still Dunscombe family members in Fakenham Road in the 1930s and 1940s.
[Update from a Dunscombe family descendent: July 2023]
William Moncrieff Dunscombe lived with his wife Maria (nee Plant) at 128 Fakenham Road. Like many early residents of Ashburton, they operated their market garden from the surrounding land. He had inherited it from his father, Henry Robert Dunscombe who emigrated from Surrey to Ashburton. According to family legend, wrote the correspondent, ‘they were staunch Presbyterians and any visiting children were ordered to sit still on hard wooden benches after dinner until bedtime.’
The property passed down the family to Edith “Edie” Maria Dunscombe and her husband, Hughie Stone. By this time, it was 97 Fakenham Road. ‘I remember it as a sturdy, red brick house with white painted trim and a very imposing full-sized billiards table in the front main room.’
‘It had a big palm tree at the front and a magnificent rear garden filled with white-painted glasshouses, a fernery and best of all, a pond filled with water snails.’
The correspondents’ grandmother, Ivy May Dunscombe (beautiful name!) overcame considerable prejudice and adversity to become a woman of learning, great lover of classical music and a talented artist. She is buried at Burwood Cemetery.
In 1918, you could buy several acres of land in Eleanor Street for less than £220, or $20,300 in today’s currency. By 1940, a ‘modern five roomed timber villa’ cost £1,020 or $88,610 today.
There is no record of who Eleanor was but residents of the street have had some colourful adventures over the years.
In 1931, Reid Hone was fined £2 for shooting a dog with a small calibre rifle ‘because he had been pestered by dogs for about six months.’
In 1938, Cyril Hopkins of 19 Eleanor Street was charged in Bacchus Marsh Court with ‘leaving a motor-car upon a public highway in such a manner as to cause obstruction.’ The report did not mention what he was doing in Bacchus Marsh.
In 1951, John Smyth of Eleanor Street had his left leg cut off when he was run over by a goods train in West Footscray.
Then in 1954, resident Robert McFarlane was killed when he was struck by a car at the corner of Warrigal Road and High Street.
Until 1872, Fakenham Road was called Cope’s Road. Cope was a Member of Parliament; although for faraway Abbotsford. The street originally ran from Boundary Road (Warrigal Road) to Summerhill Road before the Outer Circle railway line cut it in half. The western side was re-named Aitchison Road.
One of the oldest streets in Ashburton, Fakenham Road was the site of a store run by Paulina Gallus from around 1873 (approximate location pictured here). She and her husband William were market gardeners in the area and the store sold their produce. Paulina ran her store until the 1920s.
Given the market gardens in the area at the time, it was probably named after Fakenham in Norfolk, England, a market town since 1250.
Member for the Legislative Assembly, Mr Linton (pictured here) opened Ashburton Primary School in the street on 19 November 1928.
Site of a large six-bedroomed home called ‘Glen Iris’ and built by early landowner Captain Thomas Henderson around 1850. Henderson owned 100 acres of land that ran from Gardiner’s Creek, along High Street Road to Summerhill road.
No indication of who Francis was – possibly a relative of Henderson.
Probably named for the road’s situation in the narrow valley, known as a ‘glen’ to the Scottish and Irish, between Solway Hill and Gardiner’s Creek.
Takes its name from the Battle of Cape Gloucester fought between Japanese and Allied forces in New Guinea in December 1943 to January 1944. Despite swampy terrain, the Allies eventually captured the two Japanese airfields that were the objective of the mission.
A rare original house is pictured here.
See Buna Court above.
Named after the Handley Page Halifax, a British four-engine heavy bomber from WWII. The Halifax bomber was used in 82,773 routine strategic bombing missions against the Axis Powers, often at night. It dropped 224,207 tons of bombs until it was phased out of service after the War.
Built on land owned by Clarence Gladstone Ward in 1920s originally called ‘Ashburton Heights’. Unlike the other streets in the area, Ward ensured Highgate Grove was one of four Ashburton streets made of concrete. He built twelve of the brick houses on the street.
In February 1930, a grass fire swept along the street, narrowly avoiding several houses.
High Street Road
So called because it was the road to access the High Street that terminated across Gardiner’s Creek (at present day Glen Iris Station). This was the boundary line between the City of Camberwell and the Gardiner Road Board province.
In the 1860s it was originally home to Bainbridge’s abattoir at the Glen Iris Road end and terminated at Fisher’s forge and blacksmithing on Boundary (Warrigal) Road, with a series of bogs and potholes to navigate to get from one to the other.
The bridge crossing the Alamein line is pictured here.
Named for the Huon Peninsula campaign, a series of WWII battles fought in north-eastern Papua New Guinea by Australian forces in 1943-44. By this time, the Australians benefited from the Allies’ now established technological advantage over the Japanese, who were hampered by a lack of supplies and reinforcements. The Australians eventually succeeded in overcoming the Japanese defenses with 1,387 causalities.
Named for the Lockheed Hudson, an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft used extensively by the British, Brazilian, Canadian, Chinese, Irish, Israeli, Dutch, New Zealand, Portuguese, South African, American and Australian Air Forces during WWII. After the War, the military sold Hudsons for civil use as airliners and survey aircraft, including to East-West Airlines in Tamworth. The RAAF Museum in Point Cook has a Hudson on display.
Originally Johnson Street, the ‘T’ was added later. No record of why.
In 1927, the corner of Johnston Street was the site of Ashburton Hall. Opened by the Progress Association, the hall hosted a range of community activities, including religious services before the various denominations acquired their own churches.
In the 1940s, the hall was renovated and operated as a local picture theatre. It was replaced by the Civic Theatre, then the Shell service station.
I can only speculate it is named after Karnak, the modern-day name for the ancient site of the Temple of Amun at Thebes, Egypt. It doesn’t fit with the street names surrounding it so maybe the original landowner in the area was an Ancient Egypt enthusiast?
No definitive records on this name.
No record, possible the name of a local landowner.
Lae is a Papua New Guinean city where Australian troops from the 9th Division landed on the beach in the first amphibious operation undertaken by the Australian Army since the failed Gallipoli Campaign. This was probably a bad omen, as the landing was hampered by bad weather, logistical difficulties and a stiff resistance from the Japanese. However, the Australians eventually triumphed with assistance from 7th Division and the Americans.
Named after the Avro Lancaster, the most successful British heavy bomber of WWII. The British produced 7,377 Lancasters during the war, with 3,932 being shot down at a total cost of £186,770,000.
Built on land owned by Clarence Gladstone Ward in 1920s originally called ‘Ashburton Heights’, Lexia Street was one of four Ashburton streets made of concrete.
In 1930, Camberwell Council did not build roads unless ratepayers in the street paid for them. Accordingly, most roads in early Ashburton were made of macadam. This was a type of road construction, pioneered by John McAdam (get it?!) that involved laying crushed stone layers and compacting them. It was a simple and cost efficient method but more suitable for flat roads.
Given the steep incline of Lexia Street, concrete was stronger and more long-lasting for the road but far more expensive than macadam. At the time, Camberwell Council insisted the residents of Lexia Street wanted the road to be concrete and were prepared to pay for it.
But the Glen Iris Progress League were convinced that Camberwell Council was forcing concrete roads onto the residents because it had already purchased the cement and was receiving kickbacks on the labour hire. The Glen Iris Progress League considered the use of concrete for the roads unnecessarily extravagant.
The Council argued the Ashburton Progress Association had specifically requested a concrete road. The road was made with concrete and it survives in this form today (see Ward Street picture).
There’s no public record about whether there really was kickbacks.
Named for the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, an American heavy bomber. It was used extensively by the Americans during WWII in every theatre and front and was the mainstay of US strategic bombing in the Western Europe and Japan.
Named for Mr Linton, Member of the Legislative Assembly.
Lucerne, also known as alfalfa, provides an alternative source of forage for animals. It’s possible Lucerne Street was the location of a property that hosted a care home for over-worked horses. Established by the awkwardly named Society for the Protection of Animals in Animal Welfare in 1926, the property began at High Street Road and stretched all the way to Gardiner’s Creek.
Donations of young larch sycamore, gum, elm, and other trees were planted about the property to provide shade for the horses. Stables, feeding troughs and medical facilities were also provided for the sick horses.
By 1933, the Rest Home had cared for over 600 horses. It’s ongoing maintenance benefited from funds raised by local women’s charities and balls.
NB: Lockdown means I’m unable to properly verify this idea at the present time.
One of the earliest tracks in the Ashburton area, Markham Avenue originally connected the streets that became Victory Boulevard to St Georges Crescent, Albion Road and Glen Iris Road.
It was named after the Markham Valley campaign, a battle within the broader New Guinea campaign of WWII between Australian forces and the Japanese occupants of the Valley. The battle was extremely difficult with 204 killed and many more to disease. Japanese casualties were estimated at 800, with 800 dying from disease.
Originally called Queen Street in the 1920s, the name was downgraded to Marquis possibly because of republican sentiments from Camberwell Council.
A E Maxwell originally auctioned the land on the corner of High Street and Vears Road so it could be named after him.
In 1954, Mrs M Treloar of Maxwell Street wrote to The Herald to tell them that her cat Biddy had just celebrated her 8th birthday with five kittens, bringing her total family to 104.
Maybe Mrs Treloar could give poor old Biddy a break?
The Meaden family were owners of large properties in the area before subdivision. A branch of the family lived in the area until at least the 1950s.
The street was also the site of the Salvation Army Citadel.
Named for the Wurundjeri (local indigenous people) word for ‘earth’.
Named after the North American B-25 Mitchell, an American medium bomber named after Major General William Mitchell, a pioneer of US military aviation. The B-25 served in every theatre of WWII and remained in service for another four decades after it.
Named for the Battle of Morotai (September 1944 – August 1945) fought between American and Australian troops with the Japanese on a small island in the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia). The Allies’ objective was to secure the island as a base for the liberation of the Philippines later that year. The Allied forces significantly outnumbered the Japanese and this was accomplished within two weeks. For the rest of the war, the Japanese suffered heavy losses from disease and starvation.
Munro Avenue was named after James Munro, a parliamentarian who purchased much of the land adjoining the Outer Circle railway line before helping push the approval of it through parliament in 1885 and profiting handsomely by selling it back to the Government.
Built on land owned by Clarence Gladstone Ward in 1920s originally called ‘Ashburton Heights’, Ward ensured Munro was one of four Ashburton streets made of concrete (see Lexia Street). He built seven of the houses on the street.
Named for the P-51 Mustang, an American made long-range, single seat fighter and bomber used during WWII and the Korean War. It was used primarily in Europe by the British. It was difficult to meet in combat because it was fast, manoeuvrable, hard to see, and difficult to identify in the air.
The street is named after Nairn, an ancient fishing port and market town in south-eastern Scotland.
No record of origin, fairly common woman’s name in the 1920s.
No record of origin, fairly common man’s name or surname in the 1920s.
Named for the Normandy landings of WWII (D-Day) that occurred on 6 June 1944 and began the Allied invasion of the German-occupied town of Normandy in France. The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault. The men landed under heavy fire and the beach was full of mines, wooden stakes, metal tripods and barbed wire. The landing failed to achieve its objectives on the first day but eventually the Allies gained ground over the next months.
The Normandy landing has been depicted in many American films, including Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day.
No record on this one. A common first/last name.
Named for the Orford family?
No record of name origin but appears in the late 1930s, so may have been created later than other sub-divisions.
Named for the Poulter family who grew flowers in their market garden.
Possibly lifted from the Sydney street name believed to have been named in honour of William Pitt, the Prime Minister of Great Britain in the 1850s. Alternatively, could be named for a family in the area.
Named for the Ramu Valley, the location of a difficult Australian campaign against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea in 1943-44.
See also Markham Avenue.
Ryburne Avenue was extended in the 1960s to join the former dead-end Ashburn Grove across the path of the former Outer Circle train line to the east side of Ashburton.
The name may have some family name significance to the area as there is also a Ryburne Avenue in Auburn/Hawthorn East.
Named for the Ryland family who owned the land there in the 1920s.
Named for the Battle of Samarinda, between the Dutch and the Japanese in the push by the Japanese to capture the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Samarinda held great strategic significance because of its Dutch-owned oilfields and coal resources. After capturing the oil refineries of Balikpapan, Japanese forces advanced north to capture the strategic oil drilling site in and around Samarinda.
Samarinda remained under Japanese occupation until September 1945 when it was liberated by Australian forces. The Australians discovered the dismembered remains of the Dutch prisoner-of-war victims of the Loa Kulu massacre in a mine shaft.
One of the newest street in Ashburton, Sky Lane cuts through the site of the former Alamein Primary School, closed in 1993.
I don’t have any information on the reasoning behind the name – aside from the hill-based location – but it may have been chosen to reflect an evolving trend to give streets names that reflected the promise of an aspirational lifestyle.
Originally rich farmland, the name is taken from Solway Hill.
St Georges Crescent
Originally the site of a proposed golf course but only the club rooms were built in 1915.
Named after the Stocks family who held the grazing rites over all the land from Glen Iris Road to Summerhill Road, between High Street Road and Gardiner’s Creek.
See Sky Lane.
The street is named after the Short S.25 Sunderland, a British flying boat patrol bomber used by the RAAF during WWII. The name came from the town of Sunderland in northeast England. The Sunderland was one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats throughout the war. After the war it went into service in the Far East and also saw combat during the Korean War.
The street is named after the Battle of Tarakan, the first stage in a Borneo-based campaign to capture a Japanese occupied airfield on the oil-rich island of Tarakan in early 1945. The allied forces eventually succeeded in capturing the island but the airfield was severely damaged. Debate continues over whether the results achieved by the Australian campaign there justified the cost. At least 100 civilians were also killed or wounded.
Possibly named after Mr Taylor who owned land in the area.
Named for the Libyan town of Tobruk where during WWII, mostly Australian forces from the 9th Division held a garrison and withstood a siege from German forces for 241 days during 1941. The successful defence of Tobruk denied Axis forces a supply port closer to the Egypt-Libyan border than Benghazi, 900 km away. The Australian forces suffered almost 4,000 casualties. Their determination, bravery and humour in the face of tank attacks, artillery barrages, daily bombings, searing heat, bitter cold and hellish dust storms earned them a place in Australian history as the ‘Rats of Tobruk.’
Named for the Vear family, one of the earliest settlers in the area, who owned orchards up and down the road, terminating at the Ashburton Forest (where Holmesglen station is now). Born in the area, F W Vear became mayor of Camberwell in the early 1910s and remained with the Council for 29 years.
On his retirement from City of Camberwell, he moved to Healesville and became a shire councillor there. The Vear family land was sold and sub-divided after the 1920s.
In 1912, Mr G Catanach owned the corner block, where Vears Road met High Street. It was 1 acre and contained a 10 room weatherboard villa, tennis court, fernery and adjoined a 10 acre orchard with a small weatherboard cottage attached.
Victory Boulevard is named for Victory Day, 15 August 1945. This day commemorates the surrender of Japan and the subsequent end of WWII in the Pacific.
Named after Clarence Gladstone Ward the owner of the 1920s subdivision he called ‘Ashburton Heights’. He built three of the houses on the street. One of the few streets made of concrete.
Named after Camberwell City Councillor W R Warner, a former mayor of Camberwell from 1937. Warner owned a local plant nursery with his sons at 119 Rowell Avenue, Camberwell. During WWII, Warner coordinated the region’s donations to the war effort. The Reserve was also named after him.
[Update Jan 2022] Warner Avenue became notorious in the mid-1960s as the home of the Ryrie brothers. In 1966, Keith Ryrie was convicted of the murder of 5-year old Burnley resident Rhonda Irwin and admitted to the murder of Maureen Ferrari at Holmesglen Station. Ryrie was given the death penalty. It was commuted to a life sentence a year later. He was released in 1993. His brother had already served his time for child sexual abuse charges.
Originally known as Boundary Road, the name ‘Warrigal’ is an indigenous word (probably from NSW) for ‘dingo’.
Originally called Railway Parade for how it ran along the Outer Circle train line (Alamein Line today). As the street adjacent to the Railway station, Welfare Parade was originally the site of open drains infested with rats. It was known as Welfare Parade from at least 1938. It may have been the location of a welfare office that prompted the name change, I can not tell.
There are a numerous news reports of speeding cars and motorcycle accidents along the street that will explain all the speed humps.
Named for the Aitape-Wewak campaign of 1945, one of the final Australian campaigns in the Pacific theatre of WWII. The Australian forces were tasked with clearing Japanese forces from the coastal areas (known as ‘mopping up’). Although Japan was close to defeat, the difficult jungle conditions of Papua New Guinea meant casualties were very high on both sides, primarily from malaria. From the Allies point-of-view, the questionable strategic necessity of the operation was called into question given the region posed little threat to the Allies at that late stage of the war.
My best guess on this one is that given its proximity to Mernda Avenue, Wilgra Avenue is potentially named after the Wurundjeri word ‘Wilga’ for the Geijera parviflora. The Wilga is a species of shrub with small, white triangular shaped flowers. Also called the Australian willow, native willow, sheepbush and dogwood.
When naming the street, someone may have decided ‘Wilgra’ sounded better or anglicised the Wurundjeri language differently.
A common name during the 1920s, possibly a landowner’s daughter, wife or mother.
Probably the name of a local landowner. The Winton Road bridge has existed in some form since before 1910. It was probably originally built to provide access to the short-lived Darling East railway station located on the Outer Circle line. In July 1910, the landowners applied to the Road Board to construct a bridge to access Darling Station. This was built on Dunlop Street.
Wirraway means ‘challenge’ in an Aboriginal language although Wikipedia does not specify which one. Wirraway Court is named for an Australian-made aircraft called CAC Wirraway. It was primarily used during WWII for training and general purposes but also saw combat action as a bomber against the Japanese in New Guinea. It continued to be used as a trainer after the war until it was phased out in the late 1950s.
Named for its Y-shaped configuration.
Probably named for the Yuile family.
Mrs Yuile and her daughters were known as fashionable members of the local community. According to the Weekly Times issue of 27 June 1914, the women attended the Camberwell Civic Ball. Mrs Yuile wore black satin, Miss Yuile a ‘draped frock of apricot crepe de chine’, and Miss M Yuile, pale pink satin, with silk embroideries and a crystal fringe.
Miss M Yuile was also known to be active in Camberwell’s Red Cross during WWI.
Have I missed your street? Do you know more about it?