19 April 2016

Canberra street names on song

| Alexandra Craig
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Every suburb in Canberra has a theme; from Australian rivers and lakes, to judges, to poets and butterflies, to architects. And now there’s going to be a music themed suburb. Moncrieff in the Gungahlin region has been named after soprano Gladys Lillian Moncrieff and it was announced last week that all the streets in Moncrieff would be music themed. ACDC fans hold onto your hats and get your chequebooks ready: there’s going to be a Bon Scott Street. Alternatively, if you’re not committed to moving house, I imagine a lot of people will attempt to get their hands on that particular street sign to take pride of place in their pool room. There’ll even be a Bandstand Street named after the popular music television show that helped launch the careers of Olivia Newton-John and the Bee Gees.

One thing I really like about Canberra is how much thought and consideration goes into naming streets and suburbs – there’s actually a committee that handles it. I love knowing what all the streets in my area are named after and it makes moving house that little bit more interesting.

I could be wrong but to me it feels like nowhere else in Australia takes its place names as seriously as Canberra does. To be honoured with a street or a suburb named after you in the ACT, you need to have been dead for at least 12 months. In the suburb I grew up in on the Central Coast, my friend lived in a street with the same name as hers. I questioned it, thinking it must have been some whacky coincidence, but no – her dad was involved in building some of the houses there in the 1990s and the council asked him to suggest some street names. So he cheekily put down his surname and the council said sure thing mate so now they live on a street basically named after them. While this is pretty cool and provided amusement to us as high school kids in the mid ’00s, I think the ACT Place Names Committee would rather die than just hand out place names like that. I don’t think our ‘pickiness’ over place names is a bad thing at all. I really like it. It’s what makes our streets and suburbs special, that such deep and meaningful consideration has gone into each and every one of them.

I’m not sure if I have a favourite street theme in Canberra, however when I first moved here and was living in Gungahlin I loved some of the street names in Harrison: Moonlight Avenue, Glowworm Grove, Cosy Crescent, Lizard Lane, Butterfish Street and Pixie Lane. It sounds so magical, like something out of an Enid Blyton book. But alas, the street theme for Harrison is natural geographic features in Australia.

I’m about to move house to a street named after a poet, but I’d never say no to living on Pixie Lane.

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