Street name changes
The creating and the renaming of street names in the City of Stonnington has been going on since the 1840s when the early tracks and stock routes were first given names.
If you are researching a street name that is not listed in the current Melway street directory, download and check the following file, which will provide you with the current name of the street:
Street name changes by former name(PDF, 284KB)
If you would like to establish whether a particular street was ever known by another name, download:
Street name changes by current name(PDF, 285KB)
The origin of street names
The origin of early street names is sometimes obvious: Fitzroy Road, for example, took you to Fitzroy, and Brighton Road to Brighton, while Punt Road was the road to the punt over the Yarra River. However, problems arose if there were several roads leading to the same destination. Middle Dandenong Road - so named to distinguish it from two others heading to the same place - was also referred to as High Holborn Road; today it is known as High Street. Great Dandenong Road is now known as Dandenong Road, since the two competitors for that status have been renamed. Meanwhile, Malvern Road used to be one of the three Dandenong Roads, and later part of Commercial Road.
Local developments sometimes led to the renaming of roads. Fitzroy Road was re-named Chapel Street following the opening of Prahran's first church in 1850. Similarly, the nameless Government Road that became known as Gardiners Creek Road was later referred to as Toorak Road after the Governor came to live in Toorak House in 1854 (although this change did not become official until 1877, by which time the Governor had moved on).
Although managed by one municipal body, such as the City of Prahran or the Gardiner Road Board/Malvern Council, the suburbs were originally quite distinct settlements. Chapel Street, South Yarra, was seen as somehow different to other sections of Chapel Street, and two sets of street numbers for Chapel Street evolved, both starting at Malvern Road, and heading in opposite directions. As the municipal areas became more cohesive, street names used multiple times had to be changed. To solve the problem of multiple Wynnstay roadways in the City of Prahran, Wynnstay Grove was re-named Woodfull Street, Wynnstay Place became Harvey Street, and Wynnstay Avenue became Elgin Avenue. In the former City of Malvern there were three variants on Pine Street; two have become Ash Grove and Carrum Street in Malvern East.
The revision and standardisation of street names and numbers occurred around 1890, shortly after the introduction of an electoral ward system. The rate books of this era often show old street numbers crossed out and the new ones written in. For this reason, great care must be taken in using street numbers from old documents.
Streets have also been renamed in times of war. For instance, anti-German sentiment during World War One saw Karlsburg Road become Surrey Road North in South Yarra; while in Malvern East, Bismarck Street became Hughes, and Fischer was reformatted as Fisher.
More information on the origin of a street name may be found on the History Centre catalogue.