Sydney – history of street names

bridge street  

A Guide to Sydney City Street Names

The history of street names in the old city core of Sydney is fantastically complicated. While careful mid-nineteenth century plans of Melbourne and Adelaide resulted in a reasonably stable street layout and street naming, Sydney’s streets have been the subject of ongoing modifications, alterations and confusions. Many streets have disappeared, been realigned, or renamed; while many others are being created.

In 1995 the council published a guide to street names researched by City Historian Shirley Fitzgerald. It was a valuable resource for local and urban historians and has been out of print for several years. Since the local government amalgamations in 2004, further research has been undertaken by Lois Sabine to incorporate all the streets in the former South Sydney area and the Glebe. This updated guide to street names is now presented in a new format: a searchable spreadsheet.

The original introduction to Sydney Street’s: A Guide to Sydney City Street Names written by Shirley Fitzgerald is reproduced as a pdf document. It comments upon some trends in Sydney street naming and re-naming, and the vagaries of the records.

Sydney’s Streets video

City historians Shirley Fitzgerald and Lisa Murray chat about the evolution of Sydney’s streets and their names. The video features historic photographs from the City of Sydney Archives.

A note on sources

This guide has been compiled from a number of sources including old maps, council records, government gazettals, and secondary sources.

The guide to street names is inevitably always in draft. While every attempt has been made to identify all current and former streets, there will always be gaps. New information regularly comes to light and it is intended to update the spreadsheet accordingly.

Information on lesser known names will almost certainly only come to light from family knowledge and personal archives – like the claim that Daniel Outtrim (Outram Street) was an engineer at the nearby Kent Brewery (information from Stella Green, Lindfield). Or the observation that near Bathurst Street between George and Pitt Streets (named for King and Prime Minister) there is Wilmot Street, named for a convict who ran a public house there for many years (information from Rian Willmot, Cherrybrook).

Readers are very welcome to provide comments, corrections or new information. Correspondence should be directed to Lisa Murray, Historian,

Guide Format

A Guide to Sydney City Street Names is presented with the following fields:

Name: Street name. The guide is by default sorted alphabetically by street name but can be searched or sorted by other fields.

Status: C = current street; R = renamed; D = disappeared

Location: Locality in which the street is/was located.

Postcode: Postcode area in which the street is/was located.

Map & Grid Reference: The map & grid references refer to the grid in Sydways street directories, which is utilised across the entire council GIS system.

Notes: Brief information about name origins, gazettal dates, cross references to other street names etc.