Belmore - Name Origin
This article is written by Brian Madden, Canterbury local historian and author. To make any suggestions for additions, please visit the Discussion Page for this article.
References to Belmore before 1909 are to a much larger area than the present-day suburb of Belmore. In fact, the whole of the western end of Canterbury Municipality was called Belmore.
Belmore is named after the Earl of Belmore, who was Governor of New South Wales from 1868 to 1872. In 1868, Church of England residents built a small timber church building on the present site of St Saviours Anglican Church in Canterbury Road, Punchbowl.
In January 1869, a committee of local citizens applied to the Council of Education for the establishment of a public school at “Belmore, post town Canterbury” and the proposed location was described in the application as “at Belmore - Canterbury Road near Salt Pan Creek, four miles from Canterbury”. The Schools’ Inspector, in his report, said: “Belmore is situated on the Canterbury and Georges River Road about half a mile on the Canterbury side of the Salt Pan Creek”. The building to be used for the school was the new church building. The locals probably thought that it was a good thing to suggest the Governor’s name for their school.
Belmore Public School opened in July 1869. Ten years later, it moved to Canterbury Road near the present King Georges Road, and the same year Belmore Post office opened nearby. The terminus of the Belmore bus to Sydney was also nearby on Canterbury Road.
Roselands Shopping Centre is on the site of Belmore House, built in the 1880s.
When the railway from Sydenham to Burwood Road was opened in 1895, the terminus station was named Belmore, as it was the nearest station to the small Belmore settlement. For the controversy about the naming of the station, see this article.
The area beyond Belmore did not get distinctive names until the railway was extended to Bankstown in 1909, with new stations named Lakemba and Punchbowl. The station closest to the original Belmore was called Punchbowl because it was on Punchbowl Road.
In 1907, the name of Belmore school was changed to Belmore South, (Belmore North Public School had opened in 1903) and in 1910 it was changed again, this time to Lakemba, moving to its present site near Lakemba Station in 1913.
In 1907, a Post Office was opened near Belmore Railway Station and was given the name Belmore. The Post Office which formerly carried the name of Belmore, by this time situated in Canterbury Road between Chapel and Flora Streets, was re-named South Belmore. In 1910, South Belmore became Lakemba.
Many places, streets and parks in NSW are called Belmore, such as Belmore Park near Central Railway Station, no doubt also named after Governor Belmore. The state electorate of Belmore in the early 20th century was in the inner-city, not in the Canterbury area.
These days, many people must wonder why Belmore Road is so far away from the suburb of Belmore, not knowing that it was the road to and from the location on Canterbury Road where the name Belmore originated.
Brian Madden, 2014