World War 1 Street Names Program

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Nameplates to Commemorate World War 1 Street Names Program

Street names in Canterbury City associated with World War 1. The initial identification of street names associated with World War 1 was done by Rae Fortier, Brian Madden and Lesley Muir, of the Canterbury & District Historical Society. Some were relatively easy to identify: those named after well-known battles, or leaders of armies where Australians fought.

But finding a local connection between these battles or leaders with Canterbury people, and finding who named the streets, has required many hours of research in the War Memorial and National Archives in Canberra, and the Land Titles Office. This is an ongoing process, and we are very grateful to Brian Madden and Lesley Muir for sharing their research.

They have found that some local street names were changed by Council to replace German sounding street names during the war. Others streets were named by developers who had children who served in World War 1. These developers subdivided land and named the streets after battles or commanders connected with the war service of their children.

The first group of streets in Canterbury City where World War 1 nameplates were erected is located in Belmore and Kingsgrove. These nameplates were unveiled on 11th November, 2000. On 11th November 2001, nameplates were erected in Belfield. On 11th November 2002, nameplates were erected in Earlwood, and on 15th November 2003 nameplates were erected in Campsie, Punchbowl, Riverwood and Canterbury.

Street nameplate being unveiled in Belfield.

Nameplates in Earlwood

The Remembrance Day unveiling took place at 11am on Monday, November 11, at Hamel Crescent, corner of Collingwood Avenue, Earlwood

The people and places of Australia's World War I effort were officially remembered with the unveiling of commemorative nameplates in eight Earlwood Streets on Remembrance Day, Monday 11 November.

The street-names commemorate French and Belgium battlefields where Australians fought, and also recognise Australian wartime political and military leaders. Earlwood has a close connection with World War I veterans, with a large part of it being acquired in 1920 by the War Service Homes Commission to provide houses for World War 1 veterans.

The Commission often named its streets after themes associated with Australia's role in World War I and, in Earlwood named and developed the streets Flers, Fricourt, Gueudecourt and Hamel Avenues, Polygon Cres and Ryrie Road. Hamilton and Kitchener Avenues were also named with a World War 1 connection by the private developer, the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land and Building Co Ltd, in 1915.

Local historian Dr Lesley Muir spoke at the unveiling, explaining how and why the streets came to have these names, and the local links she has uncovered with Canterbury. The unveiling was the third step in a four-year program of erecting nameplates throughout the Canterbury area for streets named after World War 1 themes. In 2000 four nameplates were erected on streets in Belmore, and four at Belfield in 2001. These can be viewed on our web site.

The former Mayor of Canterbury City, Cr Kayee Griffin, praised the program as an important means of recognising the contribution of Australia's WWI veterans:

"By erecting the nameplates, current and future generations will be reminded of the sacrifice made by their forebears in defending freedom and peace," the former Mayor said.

Nameplates to Commemorate World War 1 Street Names Program

Polygon Crescent Polygon Wood in Flanders, Belgium, was captured by Australian troops in September 1917 in the Third Battle of Ypres. Seventeen men from the Canterbury district died in this action. The War Service Homes Commission, established to provide houses for servicemen returned from World War 1, acquired a large part of the Undercliffe Estate in the early 1920s. In Commission estates, the streets were often named after battle places in France, Gallipoli and Palestine, where Australian troops fought in World War 1. Flers, Gueudecourt and Fricourt Avenues and Hamel and Polygon Crescents were named in 1925.

Ryrie Road Brigadier General Granville Ryrie commanded the Australian 2nd Light Horse Brigade throughout World War 1, serving at Gallipoli and in the Sinai and Palestine. He was a brave soldier, an excellent leader and popular with his men. He was knighted in 1919. In 1920, the Commission, which had been established to provide houses for servicemen returned from World War 1, acquired unsold blocks in the Glenore Estate (Marana, Calbina and Baringa Roads and Narani Crescent), and another section of the estate which it subdivided, naming one street Ryrie Road and extending Calbina Road.

Flers Avenue Flers is a village on the northern side of the Somme River in France. With Gueudecourt and Fricourt Avenues and Hamel and Polygon Crescents, the street was named in 1925 by the War Service Homes Commission. The Commission had been established to provide houses for servicemen returned from World War 1, and it had acquired a large part of the Undercliffe Estate in the early 1920s. In Commission estates, the streets were often named after battle places in France, Gallipoli and Palestine, where Australian troops fought in World War 1. Sapper Sydney Tomkins of "Beulah Vista", Church Street, Canterbury, was one of the nine men from the Canterbury district killed at Flers in November 1916.

Fricourt Avenue Fricourt is a village on the northern side of the Somme River in France. With Flers and Gueudecourt Avenues and Hamel and Polygon Crescents, the street was named in 1925 by the War Service Homes Commission. The Commission had been established to provide houses for servicemen returned from World War 1, and it had acquired a large part of the Undercliffe Estate in the early 1920s. In Commission estates, the streets were often named after battle places in France, Gallipoli and Palestine, where Australian troops fought in World War 1. Fricourt was captured by British forces in July 1916. It was the site of a staging camp for Australian troops moving to the front during the Somme battles of 1916.

Gueudecourt Avenue Gueudecourt is a village on the northern side of the Somme River in France. The War Service Homes Commission, established to provide houses for servicemen returned from World War 1, acquired a large part of the Undercliffe Estate in the early 1920s. In Commission estates, the streets were often named after battle places in France, Gallipoli and Palestine, where Australian troops fought in World War 1. Flers, Gueudecourt and Fricourt Avenues and Hamel and Polygon Crescents were named in 1925.

Hamel Crescent Hamel, a village near Villers-Bretonneux in the Somme Valley in France, was a key German defence position in the advance by Australian Divisions towards the Hindenburg Line in the northern summer of 1918. Flers, Gueudecourt and Fricourt Avenues and Hamel and Polygon Crescents were named in 1925 by the War Service Homes Commission, which had acquired a large part of the Undercliffe Estate in the early 1920s. The Commission had been established to provide houses for servicemen returned from World War 1. In Commission estates, the streets were often named after battle places in France, Gallipoli and Palestine, where Australian troops fought in World War 1.

Hamilton Avenue Hamilton Avenue and Kitchener Avenue were the names given to new streets in the Undercliffe Estate Second Subdivision, which was subdivided by the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land and Building Co Ltd in 1915. The Gallipoli campaign was underway and the streets were probably named to exploit the patriotic fervour of the time. Field Marshal Lord Kitchener was the British Secretary of State for War who ordered the attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and General Sir Ian Hamilton commanded the expeditionary force in the Gallipoli assault.

Kitchener Avenue Kitchener Avenue and Hamilton Avenue were the names given to new streets in the Undercliffe Estate Second Subdivision, which was subdivided by the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land and Building Co Ltd in 1915. The Gallipoli campaign was underway and the streets were probably named to exploit the patriotic fervour of the time. Field Marshal Lord Kitchener was the British Secretary of State for War who ordered the attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and General Sir Ian Hamilton commanded the expeditionary force in the Gallipoli assault.