Originally territory north of the Yarra was called North Melbourne, of which Hotham was the smallest part.
On November 1, 1886, the Borough Council of Brunswick applied to be called North Melbourne.
Its ratepayers petitioned against the change of name. Officialdom seemed disposed to give the name to Carlton, as the extreme part of North Melbourne. Hackles then rose in Hotham’s Council Chamber, and 39 reasons were dawn up for Hotham’s right to the name.
Some of these reasons were labored and others repetitive.
The following selection is sufficient:
• Hotham ratepayers had petitioned for the change.
• Emerald Hill had become South Melbourne, and Sandridge, Port Melbourne, though each was a small part of its area. These were adequate precedents.
• Crown grants of land in Hotham had always been known as situated in the Town of North Melbourne. This was not so in Brunswick and Carlton.
• Cheques issued by the banks in Hotham were described as being issued by their North Melbourne branches, but in Brunswick and Carlton, by their, Brunswick or Carlton branch.
• Ratepayers who wished to borrow in London, had to do so in the name of Hotham, not so well-known there. Brunswick and Carlton ratepayers borrowed in the name of Melbourne, of which municipality they were a part. The name of North Melbourne would give Hotham ratepayers a similar facility.
• Business houses of Brunswick and Carlton with branches in Hotham, described them as being in North Melbourne.
• Churches in Hotham described themselves and their services as being in North Melbourne.
• Parliamentary representatives of Hotham had always been called members of North Melbourne.
• Titles for land in Hotham officially designated the Hotham property as being in North Melbourne.
• The postal department forwarded all mail addressed to North Melbourne without delay to Hotham.
• The railway called the station where Hotham, people joined and left the train, North Melbourne.
• The newspaper printed in Hotham was called the North Melbourne Advertiser. In Carlton it was called the Carlton Observer.
Two relevant facts could have been added.
When, on March 14, 1854, a licence was granted for a hotel in Howard Street, and on January 7, 1869, for a club in Queensberry Street, they were called the North Melbourne Hotel and Club respectively.
The battle was won.
The change of name from Hotham to North Melbourne was declared in the Government Gazette on August 26, 1887.
The council granted the town hall rent-free to a Mr. George Stevens to stage a celebration of the victory.
We understand that the entertainment was quite some show!
This article was contributed by the history group of the North Melbourne Association, convenor, Dr. R. Blanchard, phone 301295. First published in the Northern Advertiser, 29th March 1973.
photo held by the North Melbourne Library. Aerial view looking over Arden Street oval towards rail yards.
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