I have observed a pattern of road naming in Melbourne that was used in the past. Some roads are named based on which place they lead to. For example, Ballarat Road goes to Ballarat while Old Geelong Road goes to Geelong. In the olden days, there were not many major roads. Towns and places were separated by huge expanse of empty lands so this system of providing road directions probably worked well.

Williamstown, our neighbour in Hobsons Bay, has a road named Melbourne Road that terminates at Princes Freeway while Footscray has a road named Williamstown Road that terminates also at Princes Freeway. It is the Princes Freeway diamond interchange that forms the demarcation between Melbourne Road and Williamstown Road. Before the Westgate Bridge and Westgate Freeway were built, I believe Williamstown residents would need to drive to Footscray via Melbourne Road and Williamstown Road in order to get to Melbourne city. The trip from Melbourne CBD to Williamstown would be the journey in reverse through Footscray along Williamstown Road and then Melbourne Road.

There is another Williamstown Road in Port Melbourne, which I guess, used to lead to a ferry that crosses the Yarra River to Williamstown. Williamstown Road from both Footscray and Port Melbourne stops short of Williamstown. This suggests that for the naming convention, it is not necessary that a road named after a destination needs to actually end up in that destination.

Altona has a road named Altona Road. Imagine you are driving from Williamstown along Kororoit Creek Road. Just before the level crossing, turn left into Racecourse Road. As the name suggests, this road was used in the past to get to the Williamstown Racecourse which was sited on the current Altona Coastal Park. You will reach Kororoit Creek and here the road often gets submerged under water after a heavy rain or when the sea level is high. The road is called Altona Road past this point. In the old days, visitors would have arrived at Williamstown Racecourse and any drive beyond will lead to Altona. The first housing block in Altona was sold in September 1888. This was followed by the construction of Altona Road in 1890, the first and only road into Altona. (Ref 1)

As seen from the YouTube video above, Altona has a very beautiful coastline and the bay sparkles with different shades of blue and green when viewed from above. I love driving from the western end of Altona coast from the Maidstone Street / Esplanade junction all the way to Beach Street in Seaholme, then on to Altona Road.

Altona Road is an interesting, scenic road. It passes by W.G. Cresser Reserve, Altona Yacht Club, Altona Boat Ramp, Altona Sports Club, Pines Scout Camp and Altona Coastal Park before ending at Kororoit Creek. In October each year, the Altona Coastal Park comes alive with a pink carpet bloom of pigfaces.

I am very impressed by this video. I have never imagined that Altona Road can be so beautiful when viewed from the air. Surprisingly it looks like quite a busy road despite being tugged away in an inconspicuous, quiet corner of Altona. A procession of cars moved in concert, fluidly and briskly like toy cars on a conveyor belt. This reminds me of those movies where cars are filmed from above, travelling along winding cliff-top coastal roads or in mountain valley settings. Together with the azure blue creek and the reddish-brown railway bridge, Altona Road forms a picture-perfect photo composition.

Racecourse Road and Altona Road used to have many potholes and were ugly ducklings of Altona. They now look fantastic after completion of road resurfacing works.

You may know that there are Altona Street in Kensington and Heidelberg Heights. These streets definitely do not lead to Altona. Hence, I came to the conclusion that the road naming rule that I postulated at the beginning of this post only applies to “Road” and not to “Street“.