Surely such a grandly named boulevard would be one of the more prominent streets in Port Melbourne. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is named in honour of Sir Henry Barkly who was Governor of Victoria when the Borough of Sandridge gained separation from the City of Melbourne on 13 July 1860. As such it marks an important moment in Port’s history.
In the early days it may have been known as Barkly Place as the Sands and McDougall Directories in the 1870s and 1880s refer to it as both Barkly Place and Barkly Avenue. Perhaps the compilers of the directories were confused that such an unassuming street could be an avenue. By at least 1890, however, Barkly Avenue was included exclusively as its own entry rather than as an adjunct to Garton Street.
Why don’t you drop by and have a look the next time you’re up that end of the Borough.
Sands & McDougall’s Directories, State Library of Victoria
B. A. Knox, ‘Barkly, Sir Henry (1815–1898)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/barkly-sir-henry-2936/text4251, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 2 December 2021.