By understanding the foundation our cities are built upon, I believe you learn the true heart of that place, and what it means to live there.
West End was not always the laid back refuge it is today. In fact, when the suburb was first developed from farmland in the 1880s it was to pave the way for industry. “A gas works, concrete pipe works, a boot factory, an iron/ steel works, a soft drink factory, and even an ice cream plant” were all thriving during the 1800’s and early 1900’s, according to the ABC News.
The area then went on to become a fashionable place for the rich. It is believed that this is how the suburb got its name, after the swanky West End suburb in London. The local aboriginal people however, had a somewhat different take on the area referring to it as “Kurilpa”, which means “the place of water rats”.
During the 1950’s the relatively cheap residential prices were attractive to new Greek immigrants, so much so that by the 1980’s the area was know as ‘Little Athens’. Over 75% of the population was Greek at this time. The end of the Vietnam War also saw the arrival of many Vietnamese immigrants.
West End today is a thriving hub of café’s and restaurants. Residential property prices have risen immensely (though not quite as much as it’s English namesake, which has the second highest office space rent in the world!). The precinct belies little of its past, although clues can be found scattered everywhere if you look hard enough…
A crucial one of these clues is in the street names West End retains.
Keep checking in as I will look into these street names and uncover the old stories they have been entrusted. These echo of past landowners, forgotten stories and disgraceful constitutions. You wouldn’t believe the biography Boundary Street has to offer…