The Sydney Rail Network: Where do station names come from?

A fascination with words and history means that I often ask, “What’s in a name?” City names, food names, wine names, people names….and most recently, the names of some stops (and accordingly, suburbs) on the Sydney rail network. Here’s what I found, courtesy of Wikipedia:

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Image from http://www.cityrail.info/stations/pdf/CityRail_network_map.pdf


Named after people

Station – Kings Cross
Why? Originally was named Queens Cross but there was confusion with another area so it was renamed Kings Cross after King Edward VII.

Station – Martin Place 
Why? Named after James Martin, three time Premier of NSW and Chief Justice of Supreme Court of NSW.

Station – Wollstonecraft
Why? Named after Edward Wollstonecraft, the first settler to receive a land grant of 500 acres in the area, in 1821. 

Station – Redfern
Why? Named after William Redfern, who was granted 100 acres of land in the area in 1817.

Station – Pymble
Why? Named after Robert Pymble, an influential early settler whose 1823 land grant comprised approximately 600 acres, around half the land of the region.

Station – Dundas
Why? Named after the Dundas family of Scotland.

Station – Minto
Why? Named to honour the Earl of Minto, Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound.

Station – Chatswood
Why? Named after Charlotte Hartnett, (wife of then Mayor of Willoughby, Richard Hartnett) and the original “wooded” nature of the area. The name comes from her nickname “Chattie” and was shortened from Chattie’s Wood to Chatswood. 

Station – Milsons Point
Why? Milsons Point was named after James Milson, a free settler who settled in the district in 1824.

Station – Mortdale
Why? Named after wool merchant Thomas Sutcliffe Mort (1816-1878) who was famous for pioneering the refrigeration of shipping meat and the construction of Mort’s Dock in Balmain.  

Stations – Thornleigh and Hornsby
Why? Thornleigh is named after Constable John Thorn, who, together with Constable Horne, captured bushrangers in 1830 and were later granted land as a reward. Horne’s land became Hornsby, and Thorn’s land, Thornleigh.

Station – Asquith
Why? Asquith was named in 1915 after the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Herbert Henry Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith.

Station – Beecroft
Why? Sir Henry Copeland, Minister of Lands, named the area after the maiden name of his two wives, Hannah and Mary Beecroft, (sisters he married in succession). 


Named after plants/flowers

Station – Banksia
Why? Named for an Australian wildflower

Station – Gymea
Why? Named for the Gymea Lily, a tall perennial that is prevalent in the area.

Station – Telopea
Why? The name comes from ‘Telopea speciosissima’, the New South Wales waratah, a plant that was abundant in the area before it was colonised. It became the floral emblem of NSW.  


Named after indigenous Australian words

Station – Bondi Junction 
Why? ‘Bondi’ is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘water over breaking rocks’. 

Station – Wahroonga
Why? Wahroonga is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘our home’. 

Station – Kogarah
Why? Kogarah is from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushes’ or ‘place of reeds’.

Station – Yenora
Why? Yennora is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘walking’ or ‘to stroll’.

Station – Jannali
Why? Jannali is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘the Place Of The Moon’, originating from the people of the Northern Territory. The name is also used as a female name. 

Station – Parramatta
Why? The Darug people who lived in the area for a long time regarded the area as rich in food from the river and forests. They called the area Baramada or Burramatta (‘Parramatta’) which means ‘head of waters’ or ‘the place where the eels lie down’.

Station – Cronulla
Why? Cronulla is derived from ‘kurranulla’, meaning ‘place of the pink seashells’.

Station – Allawah
Why? Allawah is an Aboriginal name meaning ‘make your abode here’ or ‘remain here’.

Station – Yagoona
Why? Yagoona is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘now’ or ‘today’.

Station – Birrong
Why? Birrong is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘star’. 

Station – Berowra
Why? Berowra is an Aboriginal word that means ‘place of many winds’. 

Station – Mount Kuring-gai
Why? Ku-ring-Gai is an Aboriginal word that means ‘hunting ground of the men’. The area was once the home and hunting ground of the Ku-ring-gai Aborigines.


Named after other locations

Station – Sydenham
Why? Named after Sydenham, London 

Station – Rydalmere
Why? ‘Rydal’ comes from Rydal, Cumbria (England) and ‘mere’ means a lake. 

Station – Burwood
Why? Named after Captain Thomas Rowley received a land grant of 260 acres in 1799, and called his property Burwood Farm after Burwood Park, England. 

Other suburbs and stations named after places in London or England: Epping, Croydon, Arncliffe, Dulwich Hill, Stanmore, Penshurst.


Named after buildings

Station – Tempe
Why? Named after Tempe House, a mansion built in 1836 (which was named after the ‘Vale of Tempe’, a beautiful valley in ancient Greek legend).

Station – Erskineville
Why? Erskineville is named after ‘Erskine Villa’, the home of Wesleyan minister, Reverend George Erskine, built in 1830. 


Named after their geographical location

Station – Edgecliff
Why? It sits on the edge of a cliff.

Station – Punchbowl
Why? Punchbowl is named for a circular valley, called ‘the punch bowl’, which is actually located in the nearby suburb of Belfield. 


Named after English words

Station – Glebe
Why? The suburb was developed on a glebe (‘a piece of land serving as part of a clergyman’s benefice and providing income’), originally owned by the Anglican Church.  

Station – Hurstville
Why? The name ‘Hurstville’ is derived from the English ‘hurst’ meaning ‘a wooded eminence’, and ‘ville’, meaning ‘town’. 

Interesting stuff!

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One thought on “The Sydney Rail Network: Where do station names come from?

  1. Interesting. I’m also a word and history person and often find myself staring at maps wondering what’s behind the names of places.

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