Neighbouring questions about street names

Neighbouring questions about street names

The recent end of the long-running soap Neighbours has raised the question: Why was Ramsay Street not Ramsay Court?

Pin Oak Court in Melbourne's east doubled as the famous fictional street, acknowledging its cul-de-sac status.

But why is a street not a road, an avenue not a boulevard and a crescent not a circuit?

ABC Radio Sydney Drive presenter Richard Glover asked the questions to the New South Wales Geographic Names Board.

If Ramsay Street were under the purview of the NSW board, it would have been a court, a close or a place, said Thomas Grinter, deputy surveyor general and director of survey operations.

The authority is responsible for naming places in NSW like mountains, railway stations and suburbs. Roads are usually named by local councils.

The state authority receives applications from councils, which are then reviewed to avoid duplicate applications, according to Mr Grinter.

While road is a generic term used for vehicle passages from one place to another, street refers to a passage in a city or urban environment.

Mr Grinter explained the board's definitions for other common road types:

Some areas use a particular road type often, which is taken into account by the council when putting forward the names of road types.

According to Mr Grinter, the road can't be named after a living person.

Some areas of the city seem to have been exempt from that rule.

Some streets in Newington, which hosted the athletes' village for the 2000 Olympics, are named after living Australian athletes.

Examples include Perkins Avenue, Thorpe Place and O'Neill Avenue, named after Kieran Perkins, Ian Thorpe and Susie O'Neill.

Other suburbs have adopted themes when naming their local arteries.

Cremorne in Sydney's lower north shore has many names of cricketers, including Spofforth Street, Bannerman Street, Boyle Street and Murdoch Street.

Croydon Park has castle names such as Windsor Avenue, Balmoral Avenue and Dunmore Street.

Marsfield on the Upper North Shore kept its roads named after famous battles such as Agincourt Road, Balaclava Road and Waterloo Road.

The tradition is not limited to the Sydney suburbs. Lithgow in the state's Central Tablelands has many streets named after weapons such as Carbine Street and Rifle Parade, possibly in recognition of the city's small arms factory.

Some Sydney streets pay tribute to old history, for example The Appian Way in Bankstown.

For some streets, the authority may have tried to have it both ways - see Avenue Road in Mosman, Glebe and Hunters Hill.