Another Sunshine street name saga

After my adventure into the history of ‘Graham Street South’ in Sunshine, I ended up following another rabbit hole – the streets cut in half by the railway.

Charles Daniel Photograph, SLV H2016.33/102

Early years

The first white settlement near Sunshine was the village of Braybrook, established on the banks of the Maribyrnong River in the 1840s.

SLV BIB ID 685472

But it was the discovery of gold in 1851 that changed everything – miners began travelling through the area on the overland route to Ballarat, followed in 1860 by the Melbourne to Bendigo railway.

County of Bourke 1866

However the trigger for the development of Sunshine was the opening of the direct Melbourne to Ballarat railway in 1889, which met the existing Bendigo railway south of Braybrook.

Parish of Maribyrnong 1896 and Parish of Cut Paw Paw 1884

A township called ‘Braybrook Junction‘ was soon established at the railway junction, and in 1906 industrialist H.V. McKay moved his Sunshine Harvester Works to the new township, expanding it to become the largest manufacturing plant in Australia.

SLV photo H2016.33/103

The main street of the growing town, renamed ‘Sunshine’ in 1907, was Hampshire Road – running north-south from Ballarat Road to Wright Street.

1924 Morgan’s Official Street Directory

With a dogleg in the middle, where it crossed the railway line via a level crossing.

Charles Daniel Photograph, SLV H2016.33/102

Confusing names

In Sunshine many locals started to question why the local streets had the same name on both sides of the railway line. From the Sunshine Advocate, 26 May 1939.

Some Streets Should Be Renamed
Present Situation is Confusing

Recently several requests have been made to the Braybrook Council to have name plates erected at corners of streets, but the municipal authorities deferred a decision until an estimate of cost could be procured, especially of the type that would resist weather conditions.

Should the Council’s finances enable the plates to be erected; consideration should be “given to the renaming of a number of streets, for under present conditions much confusion and inconvenience to the public exists. Three outstanding instances are Hampshire, Durham and Derby Roads.

The first-named is like a Chinese puzzle. The thoroughfare starts at Ballarat Road, and takes four right-angle turns before it reaches Wright Street – a distance of nearly a mile and a half. Mr Gross’ chemist shop is classified as being in Hampshire Road, yet directly opposite the Derrimut Hotel is in Sun Crescent.

It would be better if Hampshire Road Was terminated at Mr T. E. Robinson’s corner, and from there it could be named Dickson Street. The section in front of the hotel to the town hall corner should be Sun Crescent as it is a continuation of that street. New names for the sections – Post office to Seymour’s Corner, and the Town Hall to Wright Street, would obviate much of the confusion that exists.

With regard to Derby and Durham Roads, the position is most annoying. There is a gap of nearly half a mile in these roads, and it would be better for the peace of mind of visitors for the sections on one side of the railway line to be renamed. If a person makes a mistake and goes to one end of either of these streets to find a number he has to make a detour of nearly a mile before he can pick up. the street again.

A portion of Withers Street is another thoroughfare that requires renaming. In the early days probably the sub-divisional plan of the district met with approval, but with the encroachment of the railway department’s interests, a new thought on the subject’ is necessary.

The article must have triggered further discussion, as on 27 October the Sunshine Advocate reported that the Shire of Braybrook was now looking at the issue.

Sunshine’s Streets Confusion
May be Remedied

Some time ago this paper urged the necessity of the renaming of a number of streets in Sunshine to overcome the present confusion that exists, particularly in regard to Derby, Durham and, Hampshire Roads and Withers Street. At the last meeting of the Council the Sunshine Progress Association requested that the renaming or altering of numbers in the streets mentioned and also Hill Crescent and Thorpe Street, be proceeded with.

The Shire President (Cr A. Lowe) said that there was no doubt that confusion existed. Durham and Derby Roads ran to the railway line and then disappeared into paddocks only to be picked up half a mile away. In Hill Crescent odd and even numbers of houses were on the same side of the street. The same occurred in Hampshire Road. The Council should tackle the problem.

Cr Dedrick believed that the alteration of the names of the streets would be more beneficial than the renumbering. Many people had to go a long way out of their way when they inadvertently went on the wrong side of the railway line to reach the house they required. The numbers on houses in Hutchinson Street were conspicuous by their absence.

Cr Garde: What was the reason for the shelving of the question before.

The shire secretary, (Mr E. Hargraves): Principally for sentimental reasons. They were old English names and the Council hesitated to alter them.

Cr Glendenniing.: There is a big break between portions of Derby and Durham Roads, and people must come right back through the railway gates to get to their destination.

Cr Baker: Hampshire Road is the worst on account of its many turns.

It was decided to refer the matter to the officers for report.

On 10 November it was reported that list of proposed name changes had been prepared.

Street Names Suggested

At a recent meeting of the Braybrook Shire Council consideration was given to the altering of a number of street names in Sunshine and Braybrook which were at present treating confusion. The secretary was instructed to bring forward a report, and at the last meeting he put forward the following suggestions:

That Derby Road, Durham Road and Morris Street retain the original names on the shire hall side of the railway line, but that on the west side, Derby Road be altered to Glengala Road, Durham Road to Chamerlain Road, and Morris Street to Matthew Street (going round Matthew’s Hill). Part of Hill Crescent to be Baldwin or Churchill Avenue. Raleigh Street, Braybrook to Wills Street, to coincide with Burke Street Braybrook, after the explorers.

Mr Hargreaves added that if it was desired, the names of old school masters could be perpetuated, in the renaming of the streets mentioned.

Cr Dedrick said he did not favor the names submitted, as he considered there were plenty of Australian names that could be used. He would like some consideration given to the renaming of a portion of Hampshire Road. He moved that the matter be held in abeyance for a fortnight to give councillors an opportunity of giving more thought to the subject.

Cr Dempster seconded the motion which was carried.

On 24 November the council reported that the naming question was harder than first thought.

Street Name Alteration

At the last meeting of the Braybrook Shire Council, Cr Dedrick said he had consulted Collins’ Street Directory, and found a lot of duplication of street names in the shire, and the renaming was going to be a bigger job than at first anticipated. It was decided that a committee of four (Cr Dedrick, Parsons, Dobson and Treloar) go into the matter and submit a report.

The shopkeepers of Sunshine raised objections in December 1939.

Shopkeepers Object to Change of Street Name

On Monday evening last the Braybrook Council received a petition from the shopkeepers of Hampshire Road, urging that no change be made in the name of the street as all their businesses had been registered in the name of Hampshire Road, and that many had purchased stationery to last two or three years.

Cr Dedrick said the problem of altering the street names was becoming very involved. It was decided to defer the matter for a fortnight. The recommendations submitted by a special committee were as follows:—

  • Hampshire Road, from railway gates to Ballarat Road, to be High Street.
  • Hampshire Road, from Wright Street to railway gates, Hampshire Road to be retained.
  • Durham Road East from railway to Duke Street, to be Monash Street.
  • Derby Road East, from railway to Duke Street — Parsons Street.
  • Raleigh Street, from Duke Street to Ashley Street — Cranwell Street.
  • Hill Crescent, easterly section from Derby Road to Morris Street – Hill Street.
  • Hill Crescent, westerly section — Drayton Street.
  • Morris Street, east of railway line — Matthews Street.
  • Centre Avenue, from Hampshire Road (on north, side of McKay’s new duplicate store) easterly to Cornwall Road — Cecil Street.
  • Hereford Road, from McIntyre Road to Duke Street — Phoenix Street.
  • Williamson Road (also known as Hampstead Road, from Rosamond Road to West Road — Williamson Road.
  • Withers Street, from Station Place to Dickson Street – Armour Street.
  • Unnamed Street, from Hampstead Road to Rosamond Road abutting Allotments 22, 26, 27, 30, 31, 34, 35, on the north side — Poplar St.
  • Unnamed Street, North and South Road, connecting Wattle Road and Williamson Road abutting allotments 17, 18, 29, 30 on east side — Ash Street.
  • Thorpe Street: Held over for further consideration.

On 9 Feb 1940 it was reported that the motion was passed, except for the renaming of Hampshire Road, which was dropped.

Name of Hampshire Rd to be Retained
Council Reverses Decision

A few months ago the Braybrook Shire Council in an attempt to overcome the confusion that exists with the location of a number of streets in the Shire and to minimise the duplication of street names, decided to effect a change.

The most drastic alteration was the proposition to substitute the name of Main Street for the principal business section of Hampshire Road from the railway gates to Ballarat Road.

The move was received very coldly by the traders in the area concerned and a petition was presented to the Council, signed by the shopkeepers, asking that the name of Hampshire Road be retained. The Council however, adhered to its previous resolution to effect the change, but agreed to hear a deputation from the shopkeepers on the question.

On Monday evening last Messrs R. K. McDonald, J. H. Mann and L. Aston spoke on behalf of the business people, and put forth several reasons why the change would cause expense and inconvenience.

After listening carefully the Council agreed to the wishes of the deputation, and the notice of motion submitted by Cr W. R. Dempster was carried with only one dissentient (Cr Treloar). The decision will be received with a great deal of pleasure by numerous ratepayers, and the Council is to be commended for its courage on its admission that the contemplated change was not desirable.

With the new names published on 28 February 1940 in the Victoria Government Gazette No. 58, page 1002.

Shire of Braybrook

Notice is hereby given that the Council of the Shire of Braybrook, in pursuance of the powers conferred by the Local Government Act 1928, has renamed the streets described herenunder:

  • Durham Road East; from railway to Duke Street; Monash Street.
  • Derby Road East; from railway to Duke Street; Parsons Street.
  • Raleigh Street; from Duke Street to Ashley Street; Cranwell Street.
  • Hill Crescent; easterly section of Derby Road to Morris Street; Hill Street.
  • Hill Crescent; westerly section; Drayton Street.
  • Morris Street; east of railway line; Matthews Street.
  • Centre Avenue; from Hampshire Road easterly to Cornwall Road; Service Street.
  • Hereford Road; from McIntyre Road to Duke Street; Phoenix Street.
  • Williamson Road (or Hampstead Road); from Rosamond Road to West Road; Williamson Road.
  • Unnamed Street; from Hampstead Road to Rosamond Road abutting Allotments 22, 26, 27, 30, 31, 34, 35, on the north side; Poplar St.
  • Unnamed Street; North and South Road connecting Wattle Road and Williamson Road abutting allotments 17, 18, 29, 30 on east side — Ash Street.
  • Thorpe Street; westerly from Northumberland Road; Wiltshire Road.
  • McDonald Road; from Wright Street to Somerville Road; Market Road.
  • Somerville Road (or McDonald Road); from the railway line westerly to Market Road; Somerville Road.
  • Bloomfield Avenue, Broomfield Avenue, Bloomfield Street; from Rosamond Road to Warrs Road; Bloomfield Avenue.

By order of the Council,
E. Hargreaves, Shire Secretary

But it took some times for street signs to be erected – December 1940 in fact.

New Street Signs

On the motion of Cr Willanm Braybrook council decided on Monday night to have new street signs erected at streets within the shire which have been recently renamed.

Compare new and old

The 1939 Morgan’s Official Street Directory features the old names.

1939 Morgan’s Official Street Directory, map 59 and 60

While the 1942 edition has the new.

1942 Morgan’s Official Street Directory, map 59 and 60

But the saga continued

A year later in 1941 Labour Candidate for Southern Riding, Mr. Bert Guy, had a dig at the councillors’ obsession with renaming Sunshine’s streets.

He considers that public conveniences are much more important than renaming streets, and is prepared to work for improved social conditions in every way.

And ten years after the renaming of Hampshire Road was knocked on the head, in February 1949 Cr Parsons brought it up again.

Council against changing name of Hampshire Road

When Cr. Parsons moved at the Council Legislative Committee that the name of Hampshire Road, west of the railway line be changed he was unable to gain sufficient support for the move from among his colleagues.

Cr Parsons contended that Hampshire Road was permanently divided by the railway line and there was a good deal of confusion among visitors about the exact location of the street.

Council failed to agree also to a suggestion that the public be notified of any intention to change the name. This was to avoid repetition of what occurred when a change of name was mooted some years ago, and shopkeepers in the street formed a petition to the Council.

And fixed for good?

The dogleg in Hampshire Road was eventually removed in 1960, after the level crossing was replaced by a tangle of flyovers.

VPRS 12903/P1, item Box 681/53

With the stump of Hampshire Road on southern side of the tracks renamed ‘Sun Crescent’ and ‘City Place’.

Melway Edition 1 1966, map 40

Sunshine station was rebuilt in 2012-14 as part of the Regional Rail Link project, but the Hampshire Road bridge was left alone, still dividing the suburb.

EDI Comeng departs Sunshine on a down Sunbury service

Will the Melbourne Airport rail link and the ‘Sunshine Super Hub‘ change this – I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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5 Responses to “Another Sunshine street name saga”

  1. Beren says:

    Sunshine, home to the only bus service with a ban on eating and drinking.

  2. Jimbob says:

    Interesting that the Morgan’s shows Duke St intersecting Matthews (note the double T), before crossing the railway line and joining Sunshine Rd.
    Early iterations of Google Maps and the like believed Duke to run all the way through to Sunshine Rd, even though no physical evidence of a road exists at all – causing great confusion for travellers relying on their SatNav.
    The alignment isn’t shown on Melway Ed 1 (Duke and Mathews – one t – don’t even intersect on that), although it does still exist today on the VicPlan website, hence (one assumes) the SatNav confusion.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Nice find there – here is the relevant area on VicPlan.

      Note the road reservation lines up with the bluestone arch bridge that takes Stony Creek beneath the railway tracks.

      Bluestone arch bridge for the suburban tracks over Stony Creek

      So I suspect that the route was an informal path that has never removed from maps when the area was developed.

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