How does a street get its name?
It’s a great question. In Australia, the Geographical Names Board Guidelines for the Naming of Roads has a number of sources for street names – from Aboriginal names to early explorers, or names relating to local history. Here, we look at how the names around our local area came to be.
Locals call it the ‘Paris end’ of Potts Point, and they’re right – this elegant strip of restaurants, stores and stunning art deco buildings is really something special. The street was named after Alexander McLeay (1767-1848), who was also known as Macleay. He was a botanist, merchant and the Colonial Secretary of NSW from 1826-37. Governor Darling granted McLeay 56 acres in the area – a land grant that covered most of what’s now Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay.
Arguably one of the most beautiful streets in Potts Point, Challis Avenue was named after John Henry Challis, a successful merchant of the mid 19th Century. The street is a hop, skip and a jump to a range of great cafes at one end, and the stunning Embarkation Park at the other, with sweeping views of Woolloomooloo. In between are many Romanesque-style terraces with elaborate colonnaded verandahs and Greek Revival-style townhouses.
This wide, tree-lined street is famous for its iconic canopy of plane trees and stunning 19th Century homes – many of which are Heritage-listed. While it’s hard to find official documents, it’s believed the street was named after Queen Victoria, whose 64-year reign (1837-1901) was one of the longest in British history.
This beautiful, leafy cul-de-sac in the heart of Elizabeth Bay has some of the most coveted real estate in the entire area, due to the harbour views and proximity to the stunning waterfront Beare Park – the perfect spot for a picnic. While the City of Sydney believes the street may have been named after W. W. Billyard, a miller and manufacturer, other sources suggest it was named after solicitor William Whaley Billyard, who was originally shipwrecked and stranded in Port Curtis (now Gladstone). He and his wife stayed in Australia as immigrants and eventually settled in Sydney.
This peaceful tree-lined avenue in walking distance of cafes, restaurants and the harbour is a particular favourite with property hunters. Historical records state that the street was named after Alexander McLeay’s son in law, Arthur Pooley Onslow, who married McLeay’s daughter Rosa Roberta. The street is within McLeay’s land grant and through the marriage, the Elizabeth Bay property passed into the hands of the Macarthur-Onslow family.
Paying homage to Sydney’s maritime and colonial past, historic Wylde Street has a number of notable buildings, from the iconic curved post-war apartment block at number 17, to the famous architect-designed Bomera. The street itself was named after Judge-Advocate Sir John Wylde (1781-1859) who was granted land on Potts Point in 1822 but sold half of it to merchant Felix Caleb Wilson and the other half to Joseph Potts (after whom the area is named).
According to the City of Sydney’s History of Sydney Streets, Darlinghurst Road was originally known as Woolloomooloo Road. It takes its modern name from the adjoining suburb, but what does Darlinghurst actually mean? It’s a composite of two words: Darling after Ralph Darling, who was Governor of NSW from 1825 to 1831, and ‘Hurst’ from a Middle English word for ‘wooded hill’.