Have you ever driven past a road sign on the Coast and wondered why the ‘burb you’re about to enter is called what it is?
We have (more than once, truth be told), so we did some research! As you might expect, there’s a mix of interesting and not-that-interesting stories behind the places we call home on the Central Coast. Check them out below.
Named for the Davis family which settled in the Cockle Creek area after migrating from Northern Ireland. In 1851 the shipwright Benjamin Davis purchased the former James Marks property Burramun. Ben (after whom Bensville is named) subsequently sold portions of his land to his shipwright brothers Thomas, Rock and Edward. The four brothers came to populate the area with their families, which is how it came to be known as Davis-town. Rock eventually moved to the Peninsula, naming a part of it Blackwall after the famous shipbuilding district on the River Thames in England. Ben and Rock built hundreds of boats at Davistown, Bensville and Blackwall between 1854 and 1904.
Named in honour of the Chinese fishermen who in the 1850s dried prawns in the area for eventual export to China. Canton was the then-name of the city today known as Ghuangzhou.
Named after the property of Edward Hargraves, who purchased the land it’s built on in 1853. Hargraves is best known for sparking the gold rush in Australia, by claiming to have found rich deposits of gold in NSW’s Central West in 1851 (he did this in an attempt to get a government reward). He moved to the Coast after a few years in London, living a lavish lifestyle with the spoils. Hargraves’ link to the Central Coast actually began more than a decade prior to his move to Noraville: In 1839, he moved to East Gosford with his wife, where he became an agent for the General Steam Navigation Co., and with her dowry bought land and built the Fox under the Hill Hotel (which folded after four years).
Named after Albert Hamlyn Warner, who first settled the area after obtaining 12,000 acres of land in 1893. Road names in surrounding suburbs such as Minnesota, Virginia, Louisiana, Hiawatha and Nikko were apparently influenced by his travels in the US and Japan.
Scottish-born pioneer Thomas Alison Scott stopped by in Sydney on his way to India in 1816, and was impressed enough with the potential to stay and try to grow sugar. After a few attempts in Polynesia and Port Macquarie, he acquired 320 hectares of land at the top of Brisbane Water, only to find out some of it had been set aside for the town of Gosford. He was allowed to keep 25 of the acres and select another 640 elsewhere, and undeterred, established a sugar plantation on his land, which he named Point Clare. This venture ultimately fell through because Scott didn’t have the money to buy machinery to make it commercially viable. He supplemented his income by government employment, being postmaster at Brisbane Water among other roles, and passed away locally in 1881. The name of suburb directly south of where his land was is derived from his initials, T.A.Scott.
Avoca is Celtic for “Great Estuary”, or “Where the River meets the sea”. The area was given this name by John Moore, who took up a 640 acre (259 hectares) grant there in 1830.
St Hubert’s Island
Named by Catholic Priest Cornelius Coughlan, who’d been granted the 154 acres of land, after the patron Saint of Hunters. The story goes St Hubert was hunting a deer when he noted a crucifix between its horns, and a heavenly voice told him “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell”.
Named after Alan Macmaster who was one of the first landowners in this area in 1855, after coming to Australia from Scotland in 1839. His gravestone can be found on Tudibaring Parade, according to the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Was originally known as Sorrento, but had to change names in 1908 when it got a Post Office because there was already a Sorrento PO in Victoria. The new name was chosen because there was no other place in the British Empire that went by that title.
Named in 1839 after Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford, a friend of the then Governor of New South Wales George Gipps. As an aside, the area that is now East Gosford was where the original Gosford settlement was based.
Named by Stephen MacDonald in 1825, after he was granted property in the area. Lord Glentworth (true name William Perry) was a friend of MacDonald’s.
Named after Frederick Augustus Hely (1794-1836), Chief Superintendent of Convicts for N.S.W. and Wyoming settler.
Named after the lakes of Killarney in Ireland.
“Bateau” is French for “Boat”, with the Lands Department naming it so when the village was subdivided.
Given the same name as an area of Gloucestershire, England.
Named after Lisaroe estate in Ireland, by Mrs Robert Cox (nee’ Gee) who once lived there.
Named after NSW Parliamentarian William Michael Daley (1870-1944)
Named after Harry Hardy, who kept a small vineyard and sold wine to local residents.
Sources: Geographical names board of NSW, Gosford Library Factsheets, The Australian Dictionary of Biography, https://wyongoneplacestudy.weebly.com