1 September 2021 Susannah

Street Names

Street names

A city’s street names can give us a glimpse into its cultural value system. Ever since streets have been named, they have been used as a form of social engineering, and various studies have been done about ‘streetonomics’.

A Washington journal has conducted a study on 4,932 honorific streets (i.e. named for a person), looking at gender bias, professions etc. Vienna had the highest proportion of streets named for women, at 54%, with London a close second. Paris scored abysmally in this area, with only 4%.

I personally think that naming streets after authors or even after their characters is a wonderful idea, and something to be encouraged. In London you can find a Macbeth Street, Prospero Road, Portia Way, Crusoe Mews, Poppins Court, Copperfield Street, Sherlock Mews and Baskerville Gardens, and Batman Close, as some of the streets honouring fictional creations, but it also has plenty commemorating actual authors – Shakespeare Road, Dickens Street. San Francisco has Jack Kerouac Alley, Dashiell Hammett Street; Paris has Quai Anatole France, Boulevard Voltaire, Avenue Victor Hugo, and Rue Balzac.

So how does Australia compare? Well, there’s a Fullerton Street in Sydney, but sadly it was NOT named after me. Canberra has chosen literary names for most of the 51 streets in the suburb of Garran – Astley Place, Praed Place, Gilmore Crescent, Harpur Street, Wright Place and Richardson Street are some of them. In Melbourne’s St Kilda / Elwood area there are streets named for English poets – Tennyson, Chaucer, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, Southey and Shakespeare amongst them.

Street names are a part of our wider literary culture. The more we remember writers, celebrate their legacy in our physical environment, and make the next generation aware of their names and books, the better! Do you agree? Let me know leaving a comment.

Do you take note of a publisher? Maybe you have stayed at Brown’s Hotel? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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Comments (30)

  1. TIM HEATH

    Hi Susannah and Readers, In Napier New Zealand there must have been a book lover on the Council some 100 years ago. Their legacy is the following street names in the central area: Thackery, Emerson, Tennyson, Shakespeare, Milton, Browning, Burns, Byron, Goldsmith, Priestly, Dickens, Kipling, Colenso, Bracken. The last two are NZ writers, probably not known elsewhere.
    One wonders how the selection was made and if there were others, like Katherine Mansfield, who were vetoed by other members of Council?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks, Tim. Yes, it would be really interesting to know how that selection was made. I’ve never heard of Colenso, and it does seem strange that there is no Katherine Mansfield street. But at least there’s a statue of ehr in Wewllington.

  2. Michelle Doyle

    The Melbourne suburb of Sandringham has an area known as Poets’Corner. The streets are named after Thomas Campbell, John Keats, John Edward Masefield, Alfred Tennyson and the playwright/journalist George Robert Sims.
    Whilst not a huge number of streets in the City of Bayside are named for women the lane Clarice Beckett lane is named after this female artist.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for letting me know. I would like to live in a street named for a great writer!

  3. Sally Petherbridge

    And one more which I know you know about ! – the suburb of Franklin in canberra, named for Miles franklin, of course, has streets named after writers, including my aunt Helen Haenke. Haenke Street is at right angles to Manning Clark street

    many years ago, while driving around Byron Bay with my parents, I suddenly realised that several streets were named after poets – well, of course, but I would have to look them up to remind myself who they were.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, of course. Franklin is a great example. Thanks also for letting me know about Byron Bay.

  4. Margaret Clingan Wright

    One of Canberra’s latest suburbs is called Wright after poet Judith Wright. All of the streets there are named after poets, as far as I can see. One is Clingan Street, named after my mother, Marian Clingan (1913-1998).She was one of the best read people I have known, and wrote poetry and short stories all her life. After initially being sad at having to leave the cultural life of Sydney (our father opened a bookshop in newly built Monaro Mall in early 1963) for the country town of Canberra at that time, she grew to love the city and its developing national institutions. Her poetry reflected this, and she wrote about concerts,works in the art gallery, exhibitions,people doing things, events that moved or interested or amused her, in Canberra or elsewhere, and one of her poems (about a sculpture by Rumanian artist) was translated into Rumanian and is in an anthology there). Her poems were frequently published in newspapers and literary journals, and she read some of them on the ABC from time to time.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      How gorgeous to have a street named after your writing mother! And to have a father running a bookshop – what a wonderful literary heritage. Thanks for sharing that with me.

      • Margaret Wright

        Thanks, Susannah.
        And Dad also wrote – mainly short stories and even had a book published by Stratford Press, Sydney, in 1950 “Mirror on the Wall” about his observations of people , his philosophy, music, books, culture ..I guess you’d say it’s a book of essays.
        So although the street is named after our mother, I like to think that it covers dad as well.
        Yes, we 5 Clingan children had a magical (even though somewhat financially straitened!) upbringing, surrounded by books, music and pictures, with visits to (free) concerts in Sydney Art Gallery, and theatre performances. Of course we spent each Saturday morning in the local library, and Christmas and birthday gifts were always books. These we treasured, and now hand them on to grandchildren.

        • Susannah Fullerton

          The ebst birthday gifts of all – I always wanted books for my birthdays. It does sound like a fabulous and cultured childhood – you were lucky!

  5. Sue Baillie

    I used to live in Robinson St and close by there was a Hercules St and then I found out that a 19C governor of NSW was called Hercules Robinson so it must have been named for him. Close by there were also Victoria and Albert, Victoria being the most important of course.

  6. Sue Green

    In a corner of Bulimba in Brisbane, we have Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Cowper, Byron and Tennyson streets. I always think of Austen when passing Cowper on a morning walk.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, Jane Austen’s favourite poet, though I must admit to finding his poetry rather dull.

  7. Helen Jakobi

    Hi Susannah, there’s a street in Central London called Helen Place – good enough for me 🙂 and probably my only claim to fame.

    • Margaret Clingan Wright

      Hi Helen and Susannah,

      I wonder if that’s St Helen’s Place, near St Helen’s Church Bishopsgate, in the City of London?

  8. Peter Windeyer

    In Mudgee a subdivision that was opened about 25 years ago or so has all the streets named after authors and one poet – Banjo Patterson, White, Hardy, Durack, Denton, Tennant, Palmer, Elizabeth Dark and Grant Bruce. The streets of new subdivisions are usually named by the developer. I imagine these are some of the favourite authors of the developer

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh I am so please there is a street named for Mary Grant Bruce. Her Billabong books were some of my childhood favourites.

      • Margaret Clingan Wright

        Yes, they were magical, weren’t they?
        I was with Norah and Jim all the way. My old school friend has the entire collection, but her children don’t want them…what to do?

        • Susannah Fullerton

          Jim was one of my first great loves, and I formed many impressions of Australia (not all of them correct) from the Billabong books. I have the complete set and still occasionally reread them.

  9. Yvonne read

    The first home my husband and I bought was in a street named Shakespeare Parade. I thought it was terribly grand.
    It is a long time ago and I can’t remember if any of the surrounding streets had similar names.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It does indeed sound grand! I wonder if there were any Romeo or Juliet Streets nearby?

  10. Robyn

    I lived on Longfellow St, Norman Park in Brisbane for 35 years. Other streets nearby were Thackeray, Tennyson, Dickens and Wordsworth. I see from one of your other readers that Tennyson and Wordsworth were also in Bulimba, only 4-5 kms away.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I see that streets named for authors are more common than I thought. Nice!

  11. Sharon Herbitter

    I live just outside of Montgomery, Alabama. One of the main streets in town is Zelda Road, named for Zelda Fitzgerald who was living here when she and F. Scott Fitzgerald met and fell in love. There is a Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum here — not on Zelda Road, sadly — in one of the houses they lived in (he was writing Tender Is the Night and she worked on Save Me the Waltz while living there). You can even spend the night in the house.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh how nice to hear from you, Sharon. I have visited your gorgeous town of Montgomery 3 times, taking literary tour groups to the fabulous Fitzgerald museum. They were not there all that long, but it’s such a great museum and the guide we had was superb.

  12. Wendy Gray

    Street names in Ambervale, a suburb near Campbelltown in Sydney. Some of the ones that don’t have a Dickens flavour are the main through roads.
    Agrippa Street 2560
    Appin Road 2560
    Augustus Way 2560
    Balook Crescent 2560
    Barnaby Place 2560
    Bates Way 2560
    Betsey Way 2560
    Biddy Place 2560
    Billikin Way 2560
    Boffin Place 2560
    Boythorn Avenue 2560
    Boz Place 2560
    Bray Place 2560
    Brownlow Place 2560
    Camilla Way 2560
    Carstone Way 2560
    Casby Place 2560
    Central Road 2560
    Cheeryble Place 2560
    Clarissa Place 2560
    Claudius Place 2560
    Claypole Street 2560
    Cleaver Place 2560
    Clennam Avenue 2560
    Cleopatra Drive 2560
    Clerkenwell Street 2560
    Cobb Place 2560
    Codlin Street 2560
    Copperfield Drive 2560
    Crispsparkle Drive 2560
    Curzon Way 2560
    Darnay Place 2560
    Dartle Way 2560
    Dawkins Place 2560
    Defarge Way 2560
    Demetrius Road 2560
    Dickens Road 2560
    Dolge Place 2560
    Dombey Place 2560
    Dorrit Way 2560
    Drood Place 2560
    Durden Place 2560
    Emma Place 2560
    Englorie Park Drive 2560
    Estella Place 2560
    Gadshill Place 2560
    Gargery Street 2560
    Garland Way 2560
    Gaspard Place 2560
    Georgiana Crescent 2560
    Gride Place 2560
    Grimwig Crescent 2560
    Hannam Place 2560
    Haredale Street 2560
    Harthouse Road 2560
    Havisham Way 2560
    Holborn Street 2560
    Jaggers Place 2560
    Jarley Place 2560
    Jarndyce Avenue 2560
    Jasper Place 2560
    Jiniwin Place 2560
    Jinkins Place 2560
    Kenge Place 2560
    Lavinia Place 2560
    Lightwood Street 2560
    Lillyvicks Crescent 2560
    Littimer Way 2560
    Macbeth Way 2560
    Manette Place 2560
    Mantalini Street 2560
    Marley Street 2560
    Martha Way 2560
    Maylie Close 2560
    Merdle Place 2560
    Micawber Street 2560
    Miggs Place 2560
    Milvay Place 2560
    Nancy Place 2560
    Nell Place 2560
    Nickleby Way 2560
    Orlando Street 2560
    Orlick Street 2560
    Parkholme Circuit 2560
    Peggotty Avenue 2560
    Pegler Way 2560
    Pickwick Way 2560
    Pocket Close 2560
    Pross Court 2560
    Quilp Place 2560
    Quinion Place 2560
    Romilly Place 2560
    Rudge Place 2560
    Sikes Place 2560
    Silas Way 2560
    Smike Place 2560
    Squeers Place 2560
    St Johns Road 2560
    Stagg Place 2560
    Startop Place 2560
    Steerforth Way 2560
    Stephano Place 2560
    Summerstone Way 2560
    Swiveller Close 2560
    Tapley Way 2560
    Therry Road 2560
    Throsby Way 2560
    Tigg Place 2560
    Tipping Place 2560
    Tisher Place 2560
    Tope Place 2560
    Trabb Place 2560
    Tremlow Crescent 2560
    Trent Place 2560
    Trotwood Avenue 2560
    Twingleton Avenue 2560
    Uriah Place 2560
    Varden Way 2560
    Wegg Place 2560
    Whitechapel Close 2560
    Wickfield Circuit 2560
    Willett Place 2560
    Woodcourt Street 2560
    Woodhouse Drive 2560
    Woodland Road 2560
    Street names in Rosemeadow, an adjoining suburb:

    Agrippa Street 2560
    Alexis Place 2560
    Alonso Close 2560
    Anthony Drive 2560
    Antonio Close 2560
    Appin Road 2560
    Archibald Crescent 2560
    Ariel Place 2560
    Balthasar Close 2560
    Banquo Place 2560
    Bardolph Avenue 2560
    Benvolio Road 2560
    Bernardo Street 2560
    Bianca Place 2560
    Blunt Place 2560
    Brutus Way 2560
    Caliban Place 2560
    Calpurnia Way 2560
    Canidius Street 2560
    Capulet Place 2560
    Cassius Way 2560
    Cawdor Place 2560
    Ceres Place 2560
    Charmian Place 2560
    Cicero Way 2560
    Claudius Place 2560
    Cleopatra Drive 2560
    Colevile Place 2560
    Copperfield Drive 2560
    Cordelia Street 2560
    Crispsparkle Drive 2560
    Cymbeline Street 2560
    Darnay Place 2560
    Demetrius Road 2560
    Desdemona Street 2560
    Donalbain Circuit 2560
    Dorcas Place 2560
    Edmund Place 2560
    Emilia Close 2560
    Englorie Park Drive 2560
    Eros Place 2560
    Fabian Place 2560
    Falstaff Place 2560
    Ferdinand Place 2560
    Fitzgibbon Lane 2560
    Fitzwater Way 2560
    Flavius Street 2560
    Fortinbras Close 2560
    Francisco Crescent 2560
    Gadshill Place 2560
    Gallus Place 2560
    Glendower Street 2560
    Gonzalo Street 2560
    Greco Place 2560
    Gregory Street 2560
    Hamlet Crescent 2560
    Haredale Street 2560
    Horatio Street 2560
    Hotspur Place 2560
    Iago Place 2560
    Iras Place 2560
    Jessica Place 2560
    Jubilee Circuit 2560
    Juliet Close 2560
    Julius Road 2560
    Kellerman Drive 2560
    Lear Place 2560
    Leontes Close 2560
    Lorenzo Crescent 2560
    Lucius Place 2560
    Lysander Avenue 2560
    Macbeth Way 2560
    Macduff Way 2560
    Mackillop Crescent 2560
    Malcolm Way 2560
    Malvolio Street 2560
    Marcellus Place 2560
    Marian Drive 2560
    Menus Place 2560
    Mercutio Place 2560
    Miranda Place 2560
    Montague Place 2560
    Mowbray Way 2560
    Octavia Avenue 2560
    Olivia Close 2560
    Ophelia Street 2560
    Orlando Street 2560
    Orsino Place 2560
    Oswald Crescent 2560
    Othello Avenue 2560
    Philo Close 2560
    Pindarus Way 2560
    Polonius Street 2560
    Portia Close 2560
    Prospero Close 2560
    Pyramus Circuit 2560
    Regan Street 2560
    Reynaldo Place 2560
    Roderigo Close 2560
    Romeo Crescent 2560
    Romilly Place 2560
    Sampson Place 2560
    Scarus Place 2560
    Sebastian Avenue 2560
    Seyton Place 2560
    Siward Place 2560
    Soliano Street 2560
    Stephano Place 2560
    Tamora Street 2560
    Taurus Place 2560
    Thane Close 2560
    Theseus Circuit 2560
    Thisbe Place 2560
    Thomas Rose Drive 2560
    Titania Place 2560
    Valentine Place 2560
    Vaucluse Place 2560
    Vernon Close 2560
    Viola Place 2560
    Westminster Way 2560

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Wow, what amazing lists. Thanks so much! I must admit I am glad I don’t live in Uriah Place.

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