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Portarlington: Street Names

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The following history of street names is reproduced from the Investigator with the kind permission of W. J. (Bill) Morrow and the Geelong Historical Society. Note : please remember that the Investigator began more than 30 years ago, therefore some names and buildings have since disappeared into history.

... the naming of the streets in the township area of Portarlington and nearby, and it is fitting to observe that most of the names belong to the early pioneers of the Bellarine district. The name Portarlington, incidentally, comes from a township near Dublin, Ireland, and was said to have been bestowed on the area at the request of the Calhoun family, the three pioneers of which, John, Andrew and William, arrived in the district in the latter's own vessel about the time of the gold rushes.

Batman StreetJohn Batman, founder of Melbourne, is remembered in this street name not very far from his landfall on the Bellarine Peninsula in 1835. There is also a Batman Road south of the Portarlington township proper.
Brown StreetPerhaps this street name, like Newcombe Street, is mis-spelt. John Browne, a well-known squatter, was a partner with Thomas Sproat on the Point Richards run from 1843 to 1845; however, I believe Mrs. Eunice McLeod, and authority on the history of the Bellarine area, suggested to me that it was named in honour of Thomas Brown, who opened the first Portarlington school in 1873 and its successor, the present school, where he remained until 1885. He was also a leader in various movements for the betterment of the township, including its cricket team, of which he was an early captain.
Clarke StreetSquatter, Robert Nalder Clarke, an early partner of John Atkins at Fyansford and Mack's Hotel, is probably remembered in this street name as he was a leading citizen of this district in several fields and probably well-known to the surveyors.
Drysdale StreetFittingly this street, which runs north of and parallel to Newcombe Street, carries the name of Anne Drysdale, partner of Caroline Newcombe.
Fairfax StreetThis street, which crosses Fenwick Street, seems to indicate that the latter may have been named for Fairfax Fenwick, who did spend more of his time in the Bellarine district than his brother Nicholas, who already had had a street named in his honour in Geelong.
Fenwick StreetFairfax and Nicholas Alexander Fenwick were joint Crown grantees of a large parcel of land in the parish of Bellarine, hence the old names of Fenwick and Fenwicks Gully in the Wallington area, the latter name also being associated with the Fenwick family seat in the north of England. Nicholas Fenwick was, of course, the second Police Magistrate of Geelong.
Fisher StreetDavid Fisher, better known as the manager of the Derwent Company and the builder of "the first house worthy of the name" in Geelong, had interests in the Indented Head area from as early as 1836, and it is appropriate that a street in the Geelong area carries his name. Perhaps the surveyors compensated here for the inexplicable substitute of the name of McKillop (unknown in Geelong) for his in what had hitherto been known as Fisher Street.
Gellibrand StreetJoseph Tice Gellibrand, a member of the Port Phillip Association and a partner of G. B. L. Hesse in the ill-fated expedition into the interior of Victoria, is worthily remembered in this street name.
Harding StreetWilliam Harding was a prolific holder of Crown grants in the Bellarine-Paywit area as well as other districts surrounding Geelong; he was the brother of Elizabeth Austin of Barwon Park, Winchelsea, and later lived at Woodstock, La Trobe Terrace. He held the Ellenvale run from 1847 to 1855.
Langdon StreetAlthough Capt. F. W. Langdon was a pioneer of the Bellarine Peninsula, but nearer St. Leonards, it is probably that this street was named for J. C. Langdon, of Ellenvale (now Spray Farm), who stayed in the district much longer than the former and who took an active part in the early roads board and municipal movements.
Mercer StreetThis, the most easterly street in the original layout, commemorates the Mercer family of Scotland, probably George Duncan Mercer, one of the original members of the Port Phillip Association and its representative in dealings with the home government.
Newcombe StreetThis incorrectly spelt street name bears the name of Caroline Newcomb, the pioneer lady squatter who, with Anne Drysdale, farmed at Coryule (Coriyule these days) near Drysdale; however, she did hold Crown grants in the Paywit parish near Portarlington.
Simson StreetPerhaps this street as spelt in Mac's directory is also in error! Maybe it commemorates James Simpson, and original member of the Port Phillip Association - this would conform to the general pattern of street naming in the vicinity.
Smythe StreetH. W. H. Smythe, an early township surveyor in the Geelong district, probably was responsible for the laying out of the Portarlington township, the most southerly street of which carries his name.
Sproat StreetThis street, the most westerly in the early township plan, carries the name of Thomas L. Sproat, a pioneer squatter in the Bellarine district, who held licences in the Point Richards area with James Browne as early as 1842. A street in the Drysdale area also carries his name.
Stevens StreetJohn Whitehall Stevens held land from the Crown in the Bellarine and Shortlands Bluff area from 1845 and a street in Queenscliff also carries his name. He was later associated with Yalla-y-poora in the Western District.
Willis StreetThis street no doubt commemorates Edward Willis, who overlanded in 1837 and later entered into partnership with Charles Swanston in the Plenty River area before entering mercantile pursuits in Moorabool Street, South Geelong, at the same time retaining many pastoral interests in the district.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 May 2009 05:29  

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