Carlton Community History Group


Street Names

Have you noticed the new heritage street signs in Carlton? These signs give the origins of selected street names, commemorating the importance of people and place in Carlton's history. Can you help CCHG add to this list? Contact us.

Amess Street

Arnold Street

Canning Street

Colgan Street

Curtain Street

Davis Street

Drummond Street

Fenwick Street

Goldhar Place

Lee Street

McIlwraith Street

McPherson Street

Nicholson Street

O'Grady Street

Paterson Street

Pelham Street

Pigdon Street

Rathdowne Street

Reeves Street

Station Street

Street Name

Origin

Amess Street
North Carlton

Samuel Amess (1826-1898)

Samuel Amess (1826-1898), a Scots-born apprentice stonemason, sailed to Victoria in 1852 and after quick success at the goldfields became a building contractor in Melbourne in 1853. By 1870 he was seen as Melbourne's foremost building contractor with many prestigious government buildings to his credit. He built the Treasury, the Customs House, the Kew Asylum, the Government Printing Office and many country railway stations. By 1873 he was the first president of the Builders and Contractors' Association. He bought land in William Street and the house he built there remained his home until his death. He also occupied, for a short time, 350 Rathdowne Street North Carlton, now part of Rathdowne Cellars.

He also became involved in local government. In 1864 he was elected to the Melbourne City Council. As mayor in 1869-70 he organized and paid for the elaborate and costly ceremonies and festivities associated with the opening of the new town hall in August 1870. He was to remain a trusted municipal figure and represented the city council on the Metropolitan Board of Works and the Harbor and Tramway Trusts. He was a member of the West Melbourne Presbyterian Church and Literary Institute and after his retirement, improved his property on Churchill Island in Westernport Bay which he stocked with horses, quail, pheasants, rabbits and Highland cattle. He died in 1898 after a short illness, aged 71. Up to his death he was still actively involved in public activities. Amess Street in North Carlton is named in his honour.

Although it has always been mainly residential, there have been a number of long-running enterprises in Amess Street. At Louisville on the Macpherson Street corner Louis Soumprou ran dancing classes until 1930. Then, at the time when the Jewish presence in North Carlton was at its strongest, up to 200 children a day attended after-school Hebrew classes in that building. After 1940 it was a reception hall and caterers and later housed the local RSL.

Condon's dairy ran for more than 50 years on the corner of a lane at 21-23 where it was succeeded in the 1950s by the Enoteca Sileno. For about the same length of time there was another dairy in an attractive building at 267. Across the road, shops at 294 and 308 served the northern end of the street for many decades. The Union Hat Mills at 86-92 were operating before 1900. When they closed in the mid-50s the building housed Metro Knitting Mills.

Biographical information sourced from: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
Digital image of Samuel Amess sourced from: State Library of Victoria

Arnold Street
Princes Hill

James Francis Arnold, seaman, prospector, corn salesman, and real estate agent, served on the Melbourne City Council from 1873-78. His name first appears in Sands & Kenny for 1861 and later editions of Sands & McDougall confirm that he occupied various addresses in Rathdowne and Elgin Streets Carlton, in addition to offices in the city. When first nominated for Smith Ward in October 1867, he was praised for his practical business ability and deep interest in the prosperity of the Ward. James Francis Arnold was declared insolvent on 15 October 1878, with debts of 835 pounds 19 shillings, and he resigned from Council the following week.

Arnold Street, originally named Sullivan Street, first appeared in Sands & McDougall in 1878. In that year, only two occupants were listed between the cemetery and Richardson Street. In the lanes at the rear of Arnold and McPherson Streets, is a two storey brick building used by the Princes Hill Community Centre. This was originally Stoke's Boot Factory, which was bought by the Education Department in 1911 for 450 pounds. In the downstairs area Princes Hill Primary School, then located in Arnold Street, ran 'Sloyd' woodworking classes. Sloyd was a Swedish educational method which based a child's development on carefully designed handcraft projects. The upper storey was used by the girls for cookery classes.

In 1964 these classes were relocated to a new building at Princes Hill High School, but the School continued to use the building for many years until the Princes Hill School Park Centre was established. This Centre was a combined project of the Princes Hill Primary and High Schools and a Community Centre, and was originally funded by the Melbourne City Council until Princes Hill became part of City of Yarra.

Biographical information sourced from:
Sands & Kenny 1861
Sands & McDougall 1862-1885
The Argus 1867-1878

Canning Street
Carlton and North Carlton

Charles John Canning (1812-62), British Viscount and statesman, was born in London in 1812. He was educated at Eton and Oxford where he obtained high honours. He entered Parliament in 1836 as Conservative member for Warwick, but the next year was raised to the Upper House as Viscount Canning by his mother's death, both his elder brothers having predeceased her. In 1841 he became Under-secretary in the Foreign office, and under Lord Aberdeen was Postmaster General.

In 1856 he succeeded Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of India. The war with Persia was brought to a successful close in 1857. In the same year on 10 May the Indian Mutiny began with an outbreak at Meerut. Canning's conduct was decried at the time as weak - he was nicknamed "Clemency Canning" - but the general opinion later was that he acted with singular courage, moderation, and judiciousness. In 1858 he became the first Viceroy of India, and in 1859 was raised to an earldom. He died in 1862.

Biographical information sourced from: Pictures of England.com

Colgan Street
Carlton

Colgan Street opened in 2014, on the former Housing Commission redevelopment site in Rathdowne Street. Colgan Street runs for one block between Rathdowne and Drummond Streets, providing access to the new Australian Unity retirement living and aged care facility at 497 Rathdowne Street. Unlike nearby Reeves Street, there was no pre-existing street at this location. However, the street name has historical links with both Carlton and Australian Unity.

James Colgan was born in Melbourne in 1846, the son of John Colgan and Margaret Leary. A law clerk, he was one of the founding members of the Australian Natives' Association (A.N.A.), a friendly society formed in 1871. He was the first Treasurer of the Board of Directors in 1877 and was appointed Secretary in 1878. He retired in 1881 and became a Trustee.

James Colgan was a resident of Carlton and lived at 345 Canning Street towards the end of his life. He died on 13 August 1899, one month short of his 53rd birthday. He was survived by his widow Sarah Agnes, who he married in 1872, and two adult children. Members of A.N.A. subscribed to a fund for the erection of a memorial stone above his grave in the Melbourne General Cemetery. The memorial stone was unveiled on 30 August 1901. Sarah Colgan died in 1924 and was buried with her husband.

A.N.A. merged with Manchester Unity and became Australian Unity in 1993.

Biographical information sourced from:
A Centenary History of the Australian Natives' Association, Horticultural Press, 1971
Melbourne General Cemetery records
Trove newspapers online

Curtain Street
North Carlton

John Curtain (1835?-1905), publican, politician and entrepreneur, was born in Grange, Limerick, Ireland. Arriving in Melbourne in 1854, he travelled to the Ovens, Lachlan and Murray regions, where he worked as a teamster and goldfields carrier. He returned to Melbourne in 1860 and settled in Carlton. He was licensee of the Leicester Hotel from 1861 to 1865, then licensee of the newly-built Curtain's Hotel in Elgin Street in 1866.

In 1870 Curtain was elected to Melbourne City Council as an inaugural councillor of Victoria Ward, created to represent the rapid growth of North Carlton. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in April 1871 for North Melbourne and held the seat until 1877 when the constituency was divided. Standing for Carlton, he was beaten by James Munro in a celebrated contest. Curtain failed to win Carlton again in 1879 and 1883 and Melbourne in 1897. His municipal career had a similar pattern. Defeated for Albert Ward in 1876, he was returned for Gipps Ward, narrowly losing the mayoralty that year to James Paterson. He was a Justice of the Peace, and remained a Melbourne city councillor until 1887.

Curtain was a speculator in suburban property, a director of several companies, chairman of the Licensed Victuallers' Brewing Co. and co-proprietor of the Melbourne Herald. His business interests included a distillery on the south bank of the Yarra, in partnership with French winemaker Ludovic Marie, and extensive vineyard holdings on the northern slopes of Mount Saddleback in north-eastern Victoria. He died of chronic bronchitis on 22 October 1905 and was buried in Melbourne cemetery, survived by four daughters and four sons from his two marriages.

John Curtain's name is remembered in Curtain Street and Curtain Square, North Carlton. Originally an extension of Freeman Street Fitzroy on the west side of Nicholson Street, Curtain Street was so-named in 1880. Curtain Square, a popular recreation spot for both local residents and visitors, was once the site of a bluestone quarry worked by convicts from the nearby stockade in the 1850s and 1860s. The hotel built by John Curtain on the corner of Elgin and Drummond Streets Carlton still exists today and, as at May 2014, is home to the Shaw Davey Slum.

Biographical information sourced from: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

Davis Street
North Carlton

Peter Davis (1815-1879) was elected Mayor of Melbourne on 9 November 1856 after being "six years intimately acquainted with the business of the Corporation". He succeeded, and was followed by J. T. Smith, the "perpetual Mayor of Melbourne", and was reported to be anxious to "stem the abuses of the corporation", although no references could be found to show his success or otherwise.

He was an estate agent in Collins Street and lived in St. Kilda. He retired from the Council about 1858 or 1859 and died on 30 July 1879 at the age of 64.

Davis Street occupies the block between Canning and Rathdowne streets. The street is entirely residential and the majority of houses are Victorian cottages, as evidenced by the date "1879" above number 32. A feature of this short street is that many of the cottages on the north side have names, such as Parcvean Cottage (12), Matlock Villa (20), Cooinda Cottage (24), Amynta Cottage (54) and Acacia Cottage (56).

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992

Drummond Street
Carlton and North Carlton

Thomas Drummond (1797-1840), Scottish engineer, inventor and statesman, was born in Edinburgh in 1797 and educated in the city and at Woolwich (London). He joined the Royal Engineers in 1815 and, rising to the rank of Lieutenant, became a surveyor with the Ordnance Survey in Ireland.

He invented the "Drummond Light", similar to the heliograph, which used 'limelight' enabling it to be seen at a great distance. Drummond is jointly credited (with the English chemist, Goldsworthy Gurney) with the development of 'limelight' itself, which is based on the burning of a block of lime in a hot hydrogen-oxygen flame, resulting in an exceptionally bright luminescent light. This became popular as a spotlight in theatres, hence the expression 'in the limelight'.

Drummond rose to take charge of the Boundary Commission, set up to ensure fairly apportioned parliamentary constituencies as a result of the Reform Act of 1832. He served as Under Secretary of State for Ireland from 1835 to 1840, during which time he made clear to the absentee landlords that "property has its duties as well as its rights" (1838). He also pioneered railway development in Ireland.

Biographical information sourced from: Gazetteer for Scotland

Fenwick Street
North Carlton



Orlando Fenwick (1822-1897)

Orlando Fenwick (1822-1897) was born in 1822 at Gravesend, Kent, where he and his brother had a wholesale soft goods and retail grocery business. He arrived in Melbourne in November 1852 and brought goods with him to establish a drapery business in the Western Market, later going to the diggings to supply the lucrative goldfields trade. He returned to Melbourne about 12 months later and opened a shop at Sandridge (now Port Melbourne). In 1857 Fenwick moved his business to King Street Melbourne and was joined by his brother Pascoe. The business later expanded to both wholesale and retail trade and occupied several city sites until 1908. The firm Fenwick Brothers continued successfully for many years and was one of the businesses that issued its own trade tokens, of which Museum Victoria has several examples.

In 1865 he was elected to the Melbourne City Council as representative for Bourke Ward and he became mayor in 1871. He remained on the council until his death, a period of 32 years. He also took an active interest in other public concerns. he was chairman of the Low-Lying Lands Commission in 1872 and remained a member when this commission became the Harbour Trust. Fenwick died on 9 December 1897 and, after a funeral service in St. Paul's cathedral attended by leading citizens, was buried in Melbourne General Cemetery.

Fenwick Street in North Carlton, originally an extension of Church Street Fitzroy, is named after Orlando Fenwick. The street is now largely residential, but was once home to several trades and businesses, including a bootmaker, a painter, an ironmonger, a dressmaker, and a fly paper manufacturer. Orlando Fenwick would have approved of the enterprising Henry Gotardo Foletta, the son of a Swiss migrant, who purchased a formula for making fly paper in 1896 and later manufactured the product under the "Yum Yum" brand from his business premises at 9 Fenwick Street.

Filou's Patisserie (187) on the corner of Fenwick and Lygon Streets was a grocery store for many years, while the shopfronts at 48 and 89 are evidence of their former businesses as grocer and confectioner. The Union Hotel, later Fenwick Inn and now redeveloped as apartments, served beers on the north-east corner with Amess Street. Should the hotel patrons become too unruly, the police could be summoned in no time. The North Carlton Police Station was just across the road at 81-83 and occupied the site until the 1970s.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992
Digital image of Orlando Fenwick sourced from: State Library of Victoria

Goldhar Place
Carlton

Goldhar Place, a small laneway running off Lygon Street, was named after Pinchas Goldhar, writer, journalist and pioneer of Yiddish literature in Australia.

More information: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

Lee Street
North Carlton



Benjamin Lee (1820-1899)

Benjamin Wright Lee (1820-1899), ironmonger, was born in Suffolk, England and arrived in Melbourne in 1849. He established an ironmongery business in Bourke Street Melbourne and is claimed, together with John Pascoe Fawkner and Edward Duckett, to have built the first hansom cab ever seen in the streets of Melbourne. In November 1872 he was elected unopposed as councillor for Gipps Ward, and he served on the Melbourne City Council for over 20 years until his retirement in 1893. He was also a Justice of the Peace, appointed in March 1888. Benjamin Lee died on 30th May 1899 at Vaucluse, Richmond and is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

In the first land sales for North Carlton in January 1870, Benjamin Lee purchased four allotments in the street that was later to bear his name. At the time, the street was divided into three sections - Brierly Street west of Rathdowne Street and Yorke Street east of Canning Street, with the stockade in the centre. The name Lee Street, which first appeared in Sands & McDougall in 1877, consolidated the three sections into one and acknowledged Benjamin Lee's service as city councillor. Benjamin Lee retained ownership of the Lee Street allotments during his lifetime and the corner site of Lee and Nicholson Streets, now occupied by the San Remo ballroom, was once home to the Jubilee Skating Rink. He also owned allotments in Neill and Canning Streets Carlton. Henrietta cottages in Canning Street are named after his daughter Henrietta, born in 1864.

Biographical information sourced from:
Ancestry.com.au
The Argus (1856-1902)
The Melbourne Commercial Directory 1853-1856
Land and property information sourced from:
Parish plans of Jika Jika, M314(14) and M318
Will of Benjamin Wright Lee (file no. 71/982, Public Record Office Victoria)
Digital image of Benjamin Lee sourced from: State Library of Victoria

McIlwraith Street
North Carlton

John McIlwraith (1823-1902) was born in 1823 in Ayrshire, Scotland, and trained as a plumber. He came to Victoria in 1853 and went to the goldfields, where he was moderately successful. Returning to Melbourne, he established the Melbourne Lead Works for the manufacture of lead and composition gas pipes, and this developed into a large and prosperous business. He introduced new techniques into Australia for the processing of metals, and won medals for his work at international exhibitions. In 1876 he visited the United States as Victorian Commissioner to the Philadelphia Exhibition.

By 1876 McIlwraith had extended his business interests to shipping and eventually joined with another mayor of Melbourne, Malcolm Donald McEacharn, in the partership McIlwraith, McEacharn and Co., which included his two brothers.

When Victoria and Albert Wards were added to the City Council in 1870, McIlwraith became one of the representatives for Albert Ward. He served the Council until April 1882. After leaving the Council, McIlwraith made frequent trips abroad in connection with his business interests, and died in his home at Ayr in 1902.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992

McPherson Street
North Carlton

Thomas McPherson (1823-1888) Born in Scotland in 1823, Thomas McPherson was an iron and steel merchant in Bourke Street West. Little is known of McPherson's life except that he lived in Dudley Street, West Melbourne, represented Bourke Ward, and became Mayor in 1870.

McPherson died on 27 December 1888, aged 65, in Launceston, Tasmania.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992

Nicholson Street
Carlton and North Carlton

William Nicholson (1816-1865)

William Nicholson (1816-1865) was born in Cumberland in 1816 and arrived in Melbourne in 1842. He became a prosperous grocer with a business in Collins Street. By 1848 he had become a member of Council and he occupied the mayoral chair during one of the most eventful years in the history of Victoria. As mayor, he signed the announcement that payable gold had been found in Victoria. Soon afterwards he became involved in politics and by 1853 had left the Council.

In 1850 he helped to found the Melbourne branch of the Australasian League, which agitated for the end of transportation to Australia. When separation from New South was proclaimed, he was elected to the Legislative council for North Bourke and was a member of the select committee that drafted the Victorian constitution.

In December 1855 he moved during debate that the new Electoral Act "should provide for electors recording their votes by secret ballot". The success of this motion, despite government opposition, caused the downfall of the Haines government. Because of this "secret ballot" clause Nicholson was hailed as the "father of the ballot" by Cobden, Bright and John Stuart Mill when he lated visited England.

Nicholson became Premier of Victoria in October 1859 when the O'Shannassy government was defeated. During his ministry the Nicholson Land Act was passed, opening areas of Crown Land for free selection, but the bill had been so severely amended from the original Nicholson intended that he resigned. His ministry had lasted a little more than a year.

After a long period of ill health, Nicholson died on 10 March 1865.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992
Digital image of William Nicholson sourced from: State Library of Victoria
More information: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

O'Grady Street
North Carlton

Thomas O'Grady (1824-1890) was born at Lusmagh, Kings County, Ireland on 21 December 1824. He trained in Ireland as a journeyman carpenter and in 1854 accepted a contract for the erection of a residence in Victoria for Sir William a'Beckett. On completing his work he decided to remain in the colony as contractor. While in Melbourne be built the Melbourne Gaol, the Ararat Lunatic Asylum and constructed the railway line from Essendon to Seymour.

O'Grady entered the Council in November 1868, representing the Smith Ward. With the creation of Victoria Ward in 1870 he was elected alderman. He became Mayor in 1872 and initiated Hospital Sunday during his term of office. In 1884 he was appointed chairman of the Tramways Trust, resigning in 1889. He became chairman of the Harbour Trust in 1886.

O'Grady died on 28 April 1890, aged 66, and was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery.

O'Grady Street, which occupies a block between Rathdowne and Canning Streets, is on the site of the former Collingwood stockade and Carlton Lunatic Asylum. Houses on the north side were built over the asylum laundry and a large rectangular building from the convict era. The south side is dominated by Lee Street Primary School, opened in July 1873 and originally named the Carlton Stockade School.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992
Street information sourced from: Passages of time : a history of Lee Street State School and its site from 1853

Paterson Street
Princes Hill

James Paterson (1826-1906) was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, on 17 July 1826 and arrived in Melbourne in 1852. He went to the Castlemaine diggings and was relatively successful there. He returned to Melbourne in 1853 and established a cartage business in partnership with his brother-in-law, taking goods to Ballarat.

In 1854 he started as a ship-owner, with offices in Flinders Street. By the 1870s he was the largest registered ship-owner in the Port of Melbourne, employing over 300 sailors and labourers. He was the first to employ steam screw colliers in the coal trade between Melbourne and Newcastle. Paterson was a founding member of the Shipowners Association, and in 1877 was elected to represent them on the Harbour Trust Commission.

In 1869 Paterson was elected to the Council for Lonsdale Ward. During his mayorality he entertained many distinguished visitors, including Governers from other states and Sir William Jervois, who had been sent by the Imperial Government to advise on defence.

Paterson was associated with a variety of charitable and church activities and took a great interest in the building of the West Melbourne Presbyterian Church. He was one of the Commissioners of the Paris Exhibition and chairman of the Low-Lying Lands Commission. He owned a stud of thoroughbred horses and bred many notable racehorses.

He died in Hawthorn on 9 November 1906.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992

Pelham Street
Carlton

Pelham Street Carlton is believed to be named after Henry Pelham Fiennes Pelham Clinton, the fifth Duke of Newcastle under Lyme (1811-1864). He was a statesman, who served in the ministry of Robert Peel. In 1852 he became secretary of state for war and the colonies, and in 1853 determined that no more convicts be sent to eastern Australia. He initiated changes to colonial administration to facilitate the introduction of responsible government.

Pelham Street runs between Rathdowne and Elizabeth Streets and is divided into three distinct segments, separated by Argyle Square and Lincoln Square. A proposal to rename the portion between Bouverie and Elizabeth Streets in honour of Henry Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, was rejected by Melbourne City Council in 2011.

Biographical information sourced from: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
Proposed renaming of portion of Pelham Street between Bouverie Street and Elizabeth Street, Carlton and Melbourne, as ‘Dunant Street’, Melbourne City Council report, Agenda item 5.2, 22 February 2011.

Pigdon Street
North Carlton


John Pigdon (1832-1903)

John Pigdon (1832-1903) was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1832 and came to Australia in 1852. He was a building contractor and built a number of important buildings around Melbourne, including the Registrar-General's Office and St Jude's Church in Carlton. Pigdon served as a churchwarden of St Jude's for many years. He settled in Carlton very early in its development, having bought land at the first sale there.

He was elected to the Council for Smith Ward in 1869 and became Mayor in 1877. During his time as mayor he laid the foundation stone of the Eastern Market and presided over the opening ceremony for the Victoria Market. He held a seat on the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works in its first year and on the Melbourne Harbour Trust, was a trustee of Royal Park and chairman of the Public Works Committee until the time of his death.

Pigdon stood for Parliament in 1877. He was a Justice of the Peace, and an Executive Commissioner for the Sydney International Exhibition 1879, and for the Melbourne Exhibition for the following year. He was well known in the business world, being chairman of the Hoffman Brick Company and the Builders' Lime and Cement Company.

He died at Bendigo on 24 October 1903.

Pigdon Street in North Carlton, originally an extension of Scotchmer Street Fitzroy, was named in honour of John Pigdon in 1880. In that year only 2 occupants are listed for the full length of the street between Nicholson and Arnold Streets. According to newspaper accounts at the time, the area was subject to flooding, but drainage was improved in 1882 with the construction of a channel from the corner of Lygon and Pigdon streets to the Reilly (later Princes) Street drain. Land sales followed and by the mid-1890s the area of Pigdon street east of Lygon Street was already built up.

In 1905 the land on the north side of Pigdon Street between Arnold and Wilson Streets appears in the Sands & McDougall as a 'Market Reserve'. Later it was used as a Council depot where drays and steam rollers were stored, and Council horses stabled. In the 1950s the Housing Commission erected two and three storey apartment blocks on the site and Princes Hill Village (now Redmond Park) was built on the Pigdon Street frontage.

In the early twentieth century the Council owned the swampy land on the north side of Pigdon Street between Wilson and McIlwraith Streets. Children called it the Prairie and went there to hunt for frogs. At that time the Primary School was in Arnold Street but as early as 1912 Councillor Solly MLA had suggested the building of a new school to relieve overcrowding. Meanwhile the land in Pigdon Street had an Army depot and drill hall. In 1924 after drainage works a new school for infants was built in Pigdon Street and the senior or 'big' school remained in Arnold Street. The drill hall remained on school land for some years until parents successfully agitated for its removal. The Army depot remained until the 1980s.

Biographical information sourced from: Mayors and Lord Mayors of the City of Melbourne from 1842-1992
Digital image of John Pigdon sourced from: State Library of Victoria
More information: Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

Rathdowne Street
Carlton and North Carlton

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is the name of an Irish barony situated south of Dublin.

Rathdowne Street spans both Carlton and North Carlton, from Victoria Street in the south to Park Street in the north. The southern end of Rathdowne Street Carlton was developed in the 1850s, followed by land subdivision in the 1860s and creation of the new Victoria Ward in North Carlton in 1870. From 1889 until 1936 a cable tram ran from the powerhouse at the corner of Park Street (now redeveloped as apartments) into the city and on to St Kilda, providing affordable public transport for residents and businesses. Most of the commercial buildings in the street were in place by the end of the nineteenth century and much of that Victorian streetscape has survived.

Rathdowne Street North Carlton is the subject of a major study investigating changes in shops and shopping patterns, transport, the comings and goings of successive ethnic groups and how they contributed to the life of the street. The book Walking Along Rathdowne Street was published in 2012.

Reeves Street
Carlton

Reeves Street Carlton re-opened as a residential street in 2011, 48 years after its closure by the Housing Commission. The street, which runs between Rathdowne and Drummond Streets, just south of Princes Street, was originally developed by John Reeves, publican of the Ancient Briton Hotel. The first sale advertisments for investment properties in Reeves Street appeared in The Argus in September 1867, describing "well-built brick cottages, with verandahs, each containing three large and lofty rooms, with large, dry, and well-bricked yards and woodsheds in rear". But property sales were slow and John Reeves was declared insolvent in May 1868, citing "inability to realise property to satisfy his creditors, and heavy rent". The properties remained on the market and by August 1868 advertisments offered sales in separate lots "to suit the working classes".

In October 1939 a report by Melbourne City Council Health Officer, Dr John Dale, described all 24 houses of Reeves Street as sub-standard and unfit for human habitation. But it was not until November 1957 that Reeves Street was declared a slum reclamation area and its fate was sealed. The 24 houses were bought out by the Housing Commission and progressively demolished, with only 3 remaining in 1959-60.

Reeves Street was officially closed in March 1963, and concrete high-rise flats took the place of John Reeves' brick cottages. While the high-rise flats were seen as a practical solution to slum reclamation in the 1960s, more recent changes in housing policy have seen redevelopment of the Carlton estate into a mix of public and private housing. In 2011, Reeves Street was re-opened and newly-built properties are once again being advertised for sale.

More information: Small Streets of Carlton

Station Street
Carlton and North Carlton

Station Street is claimed to be named after its proximity to the North Fitzroy rail station, but the evidence of history suggests otherwise. The name Station Street appears on a plan of allotments dated 3 August 1859, decades before the opening of the inner circle railway line in May 1888. A more likely explanation has been proposed by Carlton resident, Mike Krockenberger. The 1859 plan shows the area bounded by Station, Elgin, Nicholson and Neill Streets marked as "Land set apart for Yan Yean Tramway Terminus."

Source: Plan of allotments at Carlton, North Melbourne, Parish of Jika Jika, 1859 (State Library of Victoria)

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