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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Pickles Street

The earliest streets named on the Street Plan of Sandridge 1849 were those clustered around the foundation place of the early settlement – Bay, Dow, Rouse, Stokes, Graham. They were named from Sydney.

Garryowen made this unflattering assessment about some of the later names:
‘the nomenclature (street names) was distributed amongst a batch of local mediocrities.’ He adds
‘Certainly they have amongst them a Pickles Street – no misnomer considering the briny nature of the place.’

John Pickles, a shipwright blacksmith, is best known – not for what he did – but for what others did to him during the election for mayor in 1862. He was lured out to the Bay on the pretext that work needed to be done on a ship. While absent, he was elected mayor. On returning to shore, he resigned the role he had never sought and Plummer was elected. Punch headlined it ‘a case of Pickles.’

But don’t be too quick to join with those early commentators in having a joke at Pickles expense.  According to E C Crockford, reminiscing about the early days in Port, John Pickles loved Shakespeare to the extent that he named some of his children Horatio, Orlando and Ophelia and could command ‘rapt attention’ for his recitations of excerpts from Shakespeare including The Address by Polonious to his son Laertes.

Nevertheless, it is true that most of Port’s streets, parks and reserves have been named after Mayors and Councillors.  The first place in Port Melbourne to be named after a woman was Olive’s corner (Liardet/Bay) named for Senator Olive Zacharov who died in 1995.

The City of Port Phillip’s policy now favours the recognition of indigenous people and places, women and community contribution.

Sources and further information
Graham and Margaret Bride The Borough and Its People: Port Melbourne 1839 to 1939
The Age 2 February 1935
Garryowen: Chronicles of Early Melbourne 1835 – 1851. This valuable resource is freely available on line through Trove.

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Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.