Planet Suffolk: Bringing together the Suffolks of the world

Origins Of Road Names - Introduction

On the Roads Named Suffolk page, we list all the roads named Suffolk that we have been able to find.  The story behind how some of them received the name is interesting in itself.  When people move to other parts of the world, or even to unsettled parts within a large country, many of the early street names were, characteristically, named after counties as a reminder of the “home they had left behind”.  

Whereas those in the USA are more likely to be derived from a connection with the counties named Suffolk in that country, it is understandable that those in the former British Empire, now Commonwealth of Nations, should be named after Suffolk, England.  It has been easier to find information on these, so we have limited our presentation to the Commonwealth countries.

We have included those streets that have definitely been named after a person from Suffolk or where in all probability a known person from Suffolk or associated with Suffolk was responsible for its name.  In some other cases we have included a particular “Suffolk” street because it has a special significance for the early history of that part of a country.  

Many new housing developments have adopted a “theme” where all the roads are named after English counties, and often Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex are found together or near to each other on such estates.  We have not bothered to include these or individual roads that have been named Suffolk at the whim of the builder, unless we know of a connection with the county.  

The background to particular roads named Suffolk in Europe, Britain and Ireland are dealt with separately under “Places” on the Suffolk Misc. page.  Of note are the ones associated with either the Dukes or Earls of Suffolk, and those linked with the Suffolk Regiment.

If anyone has further information on the background to the naming of any “Suffolk” road, please e-mail us at to let us know.

Order of contents on this page: (Click on the links below)


New Zealand

Trinidad and Tobago


Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines 

South Africa


Suffolk Street and Suffolk Mews, Fremantle, Western Australia: Probably the earliest road named “Suffolk” in Australia was in Fremantle.  

The founding father of modern Western Australia was Capt. James Stirling who, in 1827, explored the Swan River area in HMS Success for the purpose of assessing the area’s suitability for establishing a British colony there.  With him as his First-Lieutenant was John Rivett-Carnac.  Stirling renamed the island named “Isle Berthelot” by the French in 1801 to Carnac Island in honour of Rivett-Carnac, and when Stirling formed a party to explore up the Swan River, he was confident in leaving the Success under Rivett-Carnac’s command.  This relationship is important to understand how Suffolk Street may have got its name.

Following the favourable report of Capt. Stirling, the first ship to reach the Swan River to found the new colony was HMS Challenger under Capt. Charles Fremantle who took possession on 2 May 1829.  Two further ships followed that year, one bringing Capt. James Stirling who had been appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the new colony, together with approximately 400 settlers.  It was established as a “free settlement”, unlike those on the eastern coast of Australia which were settlements for convicts.  Among these newcomers was John Septimus Roe (1797-1878), the first Surveyor-General of Western Australia, who was to lay out the new settlements.

After providing initial assistance to the fledgling colony, Capt. Charles Fremantle withdrew in August 1829 and, in gratitude for his help, James Stirling named the new settlement after him.  In 1830 there were no more than five or six houses and no roads as yet.  John Septimus Roe laid out the roads in his first survey in 1833, and among them was one that was to become Suffolk Street leading down to the harbour.  Roe formally named the two main streets in the traditional way - High Street and Market Place (now Market Street) in 1833.  It seems that James Stirling was also involved and he ensured that the first streets running across the High Street were named Mouat, Henry, and Pakenham Streets after the first, second and third lieutenants on board Capt. Fremantle’s ship, HMS Challenger: JA Mouat, John Henry, and H Pakenham.  To the south of these were four more streets running down to the harbour.  There was Collie Street, named after Dr Alexander Collie the Surgeon on board HMS Sulphur, the third ship to arrive in the colony in 1829, and then the three ‘county streets’: Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk Streets.   

Although it is obvious that the latter three were named after English counties, none of the sources indicate why these three counties were chosen.  We are of the opinion that James Stirling selected the three eastern counties because of his close friendship with two families that are connected with Suffolk and Norfolk, as well as his own home being named after a town in Suffolk.  With three streets to be named, it would not be unusual to include Essex as the third of the eastern counties, although there was no direct connection with that county.  

The uncle of James Stirling owned the estate and house of Woodbridge Park near Guildford, Surrey.  The family of Ellen Mangles, James Stirling’s wife, leased another house on this same estate, and this is how they met.  James would eventually purchase Woodbridge Park from his uncle.  The name of the estate derives from Thomas de Woodbridge, a 13th century occupant who is assumed to have come from that town in Suffolk.  Another Woodbridge House lies on the banks of the Swan River in Guildford, Western Australia, on land originally owned by James Stirling that remained in his family until 1883.

John Rivett-Carnac (1796-1869) was the first-lieutenant of Capt. James Stirling during the exploratory mission in 1827.  Although he was born in India as his father was the acting-governor of Bombay at the time, he was descended from the ancient Rivett family of Brandeston Hall in Suffolk on his father’s side, and his mother, Henrietta Fisher, came from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, and was descended from notable ecclesiastics of Norfolk and Norwich.  He had taken up his own command by the time James Stirling came out to Western Australia in 1829, but the fact that John Rivett-Carnac later gave the middle name of “Stirling” to his own son, Edward, indicates a mutual respect in the relationship of the two men.

The third family associated with Suffolk is that of Capt. Henry (Harry) John Rous (1795-1877).  He was the second son of the Earl of Stradbroke, Viscount Dunwich.  This was another long established Suffolk family whose home was at Henham Park at Dennington, near Blythburgh, in Suffolk, not too far away from Brandeston and Great Yarmouth.  James Stirling was at Wellington School at the same time as Henry Rous, and they renewed their acquaintance in Sydney.  Capt. Rous was with the Royal Navy based in New South Wales from 1827 to 1829 carrying out much exploratory work along the coastland into modern-day Queensland. James Stirling named Rous Head at the entrance to the Swan River after Capt. Harry Rous.

There was only five years difference in age between these three Royal Navy men, and they all became admirals.  It does seem that they were well-acquainted with each other, since their families moved in the same circles, they all had relatives who held senior positions in the East India Company and all three men had a similar naval career.

The Suffolk family: Our next entry is not a road, but a family named Suffolk. The relationship arises first with Suffolk Street, Windsor, New South Wales. Windsor is a town just north of Sydney and is the third oldest town in Australia. It was settled in 1791 and officially marked out as a town named Windsor in December 1810.

John Suffolk was born in March 1783 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England.  He married a Sarah Anson and they were living in Coventry, Warwickshire, where two of their children were born: Amelia in 1806, and Maria in 1809.  A third child, a boy named Joseph, was born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1815.  It is likely that there were other children, but none survived infancy, and we do not know what happened to the two girls.  John Suffolk was convicted (his crime is not recorded) at Reading Assizes in Berkshire in July 1818; he was then a shopkeeper living in Newbury.  He was sentenced to 14 years and transportation.  

John Suffolk arrived in Sydney on the Lord Sidmouth on 11 March 1819.  He was obviously an exemplary convict and earned his “ticket of leave” giving him freedom to earn a living and acquire property in Australia, since he is next recorded in 1821 as marrying Elizabeth Cockshall in Parramatta, and in the 1828 census of New South Wales he is living in Windsor with her. (There is no record of when his wife in England died.)  In 1830 he is recorded as a farmer living in Windsor, and by now he seems to have become a respected member of the local community, with several houses to his name.  In 1838 John Suffolk provided one of his properties to the community for a schoolhouse.  The street he lived in appears to have been built in the early 1830s as Brown Street, but in the 1840s it was renamed Suffolk Street, Windsor, after its prominent resident living there, and the name is still retained today.  John Suffolk died at Windsor in November 1852. (Information on Windsor is contained in the book “Early Days of Windsor, New South Wales”, by James Steele, 1916.)

Meanwhile, John’s son, Joseph Suffolk, born in November 1815 at Newbury, England, had taken up farming in the old country.  In October 1835 he married Jane Seeley at Newgate, London, England, and soon after they decided to join his father in Australia.  They arrived in New South Wales in March 1836 on the ship Richard Reynolds.  His wife Jane died at Windsor in February 1838.  Joseph married again in 1839 to Ellen Ferguson (1815-1855), and some time in the late 1840s they moved away from Windsor.   It must have been soon after 1855 when Joseph Suffolk acquired farmland at Tomerong, New South Wales, since his six children were all born elsewhere (the last one being born in 1854), his wife Ellen died in 1855 at Kiara, 64 km (40 miles) north of Tomerong, and it is known that Suffolk Creek at Tomerong was named after him by 1862.  The Suffolk family became prominent farmers in this part of New South Wales, and the creek bearing their name runs through Suffolk Farm, and two roads in the vicinity are named after the family: Suffolks Road to the west of Tomerong, and Suffolk Road to the southwest of the village (see Suffolk Creek, NSW page, under Other Suffolks).  Joseph Suffolk died at Nowra in 1895 or 1905 (sources differ on this date).

Some members of the family took up farming at Nowra, 21 km (13 miles) north of Tomerong, and it was here that George Archibald Suffolk, a grandson of Joseph, was farming in 1904.  In northern New South Wales the country around Nimbin had been cleared of its cedar forests by 1906 and was being subdivided into farming lots.  George saw this as an opportunity, and by 1908 he was farming at Nimbin.  He acquired land at Blue Knob seven km (four miles) north of Nimbin, and today the road that ran through his property is known as Suffolk Road, Blue Knob, New South Wales.  Blue Knob is a small settlement of 168 inhabitants.  It is named after one of the volcanic extrusions of rhyolite from a volcano that erupted around 20 million years ago, and erosion has left it as a capping on the high plateau.  George Suffolk was to go one better than his relatives.  Where they only had roads and a creek named after them, George gave his name to a whole town.  Admittedly it started off as a park, but 69 km (43 miles) east of George’s farm was Byron Bay and it was here that he bought a stretch of land in 1922.  This stretch of land is now Suffolk Park (see Suffolk Park, NSW page).

Suffolk Street, Chiltern, Victoria: This entry is an early road in Australia that is also indirectly named after an individual with the surname ‘Suffolk’, but one that is not related to the ‘Suffolk’ family above.  Chiltern is one of the ‘gold-mine’ towns that was established during the Victorian Gold Rush period in 1858-59.  Suffolk Street is a mainly non-residential road in the northeast of Chiltern with a length of 1.24 km going from near the town centre and connecting to Magenta Road.  It takes its name because it led to the mine and settlement of Suffolk Lead, so it dates from the 1858-1860 years.  The settlement no longer exists (see Suffolk Lead on The Ones That Got Away page).  It is said to have derived its name from the renowned confidence trickster Owen Suffolk (see Owen Hargraves Suffolk on the Suffolk Misc. page).  

Suffolk Street, West Footscray/Maidstone, Maribyrnong, Victoria:  This particular ‘Suffolk’ does not get its name from anybody associated with the English county, but is merely a promotional name to attract purchasers.  Nevertheless, we include it because it is different in being divided into two separate parts which effectively constitute two separate roads, and this has created an interesting aspect which is known as The Suffolk Triangle.

The area now covered by the City of Maribyrnong was surveyed by 1840 and named the Parish of Cut-Paw-Paw. It stretched from the Maribyrnong River (known as the Saltwater River until 1913) at Braybrook to the sea.  Cut-Paw-Paw is a corruption of the aboriginal word for “a clump of oaks”.  Reserves for future settlements were marked in, although they were not named at this time; this included the site of the future Footscray.  Land was offered for sale from 1843, and in 1848 the Footscray Village Reserve was declared, named after the village of Foots Cray (then in the county of Kent), located 19 km (12 miles) southeast of London Bridge.  
Much of the land that had been bought from the Crown was held by speculators who did not live on it or farm it.  Two such landowners were James William Thomson and James Long who, between them, owned the land on which Suffolk Street is located.  In the 1850s they decided to subdivide the land and offer it in small residential lots.  The plan drawn up by James Long in 1856 shows that initially there were to be three east-west thoroughfares across the land.  Going from south to north they were named (modestly) Long Street, Essex Street and Suffolk Street.  A fourth such street was outlined further north that would become Norfolk Street.  This clearly indicates that the three eastern counties of England were considered good promotional selling points, being largely rural without any of the industrial emphasis that could be associated with many other English counties.

James Long advertised his 540 quarter acre allotments for sale in June 1857.  These were between Essex Street and what is now Barkly Street (the original Long Street), and were the beginnings of that part of Footscray that became West Footscray.  Later that year he advertised a portion of allotments north of Essex Street to Suffolk Street at the eastern end of his land.  Although James Long claimed that all his allotments had been sold, the truth is that he was not getting the response he expected, and this is where James William Thomson stepped in.  It appears that Thomson purchased part of Long’s land and attached to his own subdivision that was to the north.  In December 1858 Thomson offered for sale 3,500 allotments on his land between Ballarat Road and Suffolk Street that he named ‘Maidstone’, after the Maidstone in Kent, England, that is 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Foots Cray.  The lots being auctioned along Suffolk Street were described as being on the ‘boundary between Maidstone and Footscray’.    

This development was originally referred to as the Suffolk Park Estate and advertised as such in the local newspapers until February 1887 when the final 81 lots were offered for sale by auction (see also entry on The Ones That Got Away page). Thus, the name Suffolk Park in Australia pre-dates the later developments in New South Wales and Western Australia (see Suffolk Park, NSW and Suffolk Park, WA pages respectively).  

Maidstone, thus, began as a private subdivision by J.W. Thomson.  His purchase of the northern portion of Long’s land led to the western part of Suffolk Street being placed further south than its eastern part.  The streets running south from this eastern part were developed much earlier than the others, being nearer to the centre of Footscray, and they have a different orientation.  This accounts for Suffolk Street having two separate sections, with Church Street intervening between the two (see map below), and gave rise to the later Suffolk Triangle.  The boundary of the properties was determined to be along Suffolk Street by J.W. Thomson, a situation that remains today since the boundary between Maidstone and West Footscray still runs along this road.

Suffolk Triangle arose from the difficulty in actually selling plots to the north of Suffolk Road.  In the census of 1861 there were only 47 houses in Maidstone.  Even in the 1880s, there were renewed attempts to market parts of this estate, particularly in the eastern corner which was re-advertised as a completely new estate.  This staggered development left a small parcel of land between Suffolk Street, Church Street and Studley Street (see map, right).  This became a neglected, rather barren piece of wasteland which had fallen into council ownership.  In 2008 a group of residents formed themselves into the “Friends of Suffolk Triangle”, and petitioned the council to develop the plot into a small park and community garden.  The council agreed and the area was upgraded with facilities provided to ensure an open space for the neighbouring households.  

Suffolk Drive, Morphett Vale, South Australia: Morphett Vale is now a southern suburb of Adelaide, although it was originally the first major town south of that city.  It takes its name from John Morphett (1809-1892) who was active in London in supporting the establishment of a colony in southern Australia.  He declared his intention of migrating and his readiness to act for purchasers of land there.  He arrived in 1836, and as the land agent for the South Australian Company, he was energetic in the exploration and surveying of land.  He was also a keen supporter of the establishment of Adelaide as the capital city.  In October 1840 the land where Morphett Vale is now located was subdivided and given this name.  By 1866, the town was said to have ‘a large number of neat residences’ and it had churches, a flour mill, a brewery, court house and police station.

Meanwhile, Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General of South Australia, had resigned his position, and in January 1839 he moved to a site to the northwest of Adelaide where he had planned a town.  This new town was first subdivided for housing in February 1839 and Colonel Light built himself a home he called Theberton Cottage after Theberton Hall in Suffolk, England, where he had been educated.  In poor health, Light succumbed to tuberculosis on 6 October 1839 (see also Suffolk Place, Colonel Light Gardens, SA, below).  The settlement around his incomplete house was named Theberton, although a typographical error in 1840 led to the name being spelt Thebarton, the way it is still spelt today.     

Onto this scene came George Head (1804-1883).  Head had been born at Hollesley in Suffolk where he married Mary Ann Walton in 1829, also born in 1804 at Hollesley.  The family migrated from Suffolk with four children, arriving in South Australia aboard the Duchess of Northumberland in 1839.  George Head established himself as a storekeeper at Thebarton that same year and soon became a prominent member of the community.  However, Thebarton remained no more than a village whereas Morphett Vale had grown into a reasonably large town, and George Head could see better opportunities arising at that location.

In January 1859 Head purchased the Emu Hotel in Morphett Vale and the family moved there.  The Emu Hotel was already a notable establishment, and the present Emu Hotel in
Morphett Vale continues the tradition, being recognised as one of the best venues in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.  The first Emu Hotel in Morphett Vale was built by Alexander Anderson (1811-1862) on the corner of David Terrace and Main South Road, opposite St Mary’s Church.  He emigrated to South Australia with his family in 1839 and immediately settled in Morphett Vale, keeping the Emu Hotel from 1839 to 1845.  The hotel traded successfully on this site until 1864 when the license was transferred to a public house on the present site on Main South Road.  Soon after, a two-storey addition to the public house was constructed.  The principal two-storey section of the present hotel is likely to be what remains of the 1864 hotel (as seen in this 19th century photograph, right).  George Head seems to have sold the business in 1864, but it is not clear if this was after the move.                   

                                                                                                                                   From City of Onkaparinga Libraries
Head remained in Morphett Vale where he is recorded in the local press a
s serving on the town’s Roads Committee in 1870 (requesting time for a ratepayer to pay).  This is a position where he would have been instrumental in naming Suffolk Drive, recalling his home county in England.  This road is located just east of the present site of the Emu Hotel in an area where the town was expanding at this time.  George Head may have later returned to Thebarton, where at least one of his married daughters still lived, since his death is recorded there in 1883.  

Suffolk Street, East Toowoomba, Queensland: The main road leading towards Ipswich, Queensland, was inevitably called “Ipswich Street”, and it seemed that an appropriate name for a road crossing Ipswich Street should be Suffolk Street.  That, in a nutshell, is how Suffolk Street, Toowoomba, got its name.  

The road that became Ipswich Street is important to the early history of Toowomba because it was part of the main route ascending onto the Darling Downs  through the Great Dividing Range, the mountain chain running the entire length of eastern Australia, on the highway from the coast at Brisbane.

The first settlers arrived on the Darling Downs in 1840 some 90 km (56 miles) southwest of where Toowoomba stands today.  In 1842 a general store and a settlement named Drayton was established just 6.5 km (four miles) south of Toowoomba.  The location of Toowoomba was then in a large depression containing extensive swamps.  In 1849 surveyors visiting these swamplands recommended that it would make a better settlement because of its fertile soil and abundance of water.  In 1853 the first town block was surveyed to begin the new town.     

The first range crossing in the Toowoomba district was Gorman’s Gap, to the south of Toowoomba. This route was aptly named “Hell Hole Road” because it was so steep and dangerous that it took three days to travel just 12km.  In 1849 surveyor J C Burnett found a route through the range to the north that led directly to what would become Toowoomba.  In January 1855 this road was opened and a simple gatehouse was erected near the current intersection of Ipswich and Curtis Streets in Toowoomba.  A bar crossing the road and a fence either side stopped traffic and enabled a toll to be collected, hence the road was referred to as the “Toll Bar”.  After completing the steep ascent over the mountains by the Toll Bar the bullock teams emerged where there were green pastures and unlimited water.  This became a stopover for the travellers, and the road that now led into the new settlement from the tollgate became known as Ipswich Street.

The opening of the Toll Bar road over the range increased the importance of the settlement, then just called “The Swamp”, that it took on its present name of Toowoomba in 1858, an aboriginal name of uncertain meaning.  At first the town expanded westward and soon superseded Drayton as the primary settlement, the latter place now being a suburb of Toowoomba.  The swamplands were eventually drained to enable the residential spread towards the east, and the Ipswich and Suffolk Streets were not fully developed until the 1880s.

The Toll Bar remained a rough stone pavement until the advent of motor transport saw the need for a better road surface.  As the road was unsealed and very steep, with grades as much as 14%, it was subject to severe scouring during heavy rains.  However, it was not until 1938 that a major upgrade took place.  The next major improvement was in 1964 when work started on construction of a new two-lane highway (the Warrego Highway) that rendered part of the Toll Bar road redundant.  The terminus of the road can still be seen at the eastern end of Ipswich Street, and is now a suburban street named Old Toll Bar Road, but 400m of the road, from just below Curtis Street to Stevenson Street, has been turned into a walking track.

Suffolk Street, Binda, New South Wales:  Binda is a small village in the Southern Tablelands region of New South Wales with a population of 211 (2011 census).  It is the oldest European settlement in the area, recorded in the 1828 census, and used to be the commercial and administrative centre of the Crookwell district.  Today Binda is a sleepy little village surrounded by farmlands, and is considered an important heritage village.  Suffolk Street is an isolated, non-residential street coming east off the main road through the village.  

At the time of the 1828 census, the pioneer landholders were employing several convict and ex-convict labourers.  This is relevant to Suffolk Street since it is connected with such an ex-convict, Joseph Last/Laste.  Joseph is one of those people who does not seem to have had much in the way of luck in his life, but continued to soldier on regardless.  Joseph Last (sometimes spelt Laste) was a farm boy who was arrested at the age of 20 for stealing a gun.  He was tried at the Suffolk Quarter Session on 6th March 1833 and sentenced to transportation to the Penal Colony of Port Jackson (today Sydney Harbour) for seven years, arriving later that year in the Aurora.  After serving his sentence, Last became one of the labourers employed in the Crookwell district.  Nothing is recorded of him until 1851 when he married a 49 year old widow, Mary Ann Cramp.  No doubt this was as much out of necessity on her part as she would have had no property of her own, and had five children still “at home” to look after.  The two decided to visit relatives in England, presumably lodging the children with their elder siblings.  Unfortunately, Mary Ann died at Woodbridge, Suffolk, in March 1853.  Joseph did not immediately return to Australia but stayed in England for over five years.  This would seem to indicate that, at this time, he did not own property in Australia.        

The widower Joseph, aged 45, married 18 year old Elizabeth Tuffin in 1858.  It is thought that Joseph came from the same village as Elizabeth.  This is Horningsheath (now Horringer) in Suffolk, where she was living with her parents.  Joseph with Elizabeth arrived in Sydney on the Glen Isla in November 1858.  They came to Binda, Joseph not really having known of anywhere else in Australia.  His step-children from his previous marriage were undoubtedly settled elsewhere by this time.  Joseph Last was probably not in a position to acquire land until the passing of the Crown Lands Acts 1861, introduced by the New South Wales premier, John Robertson.  This was designed to break the domination of land tenure by the few large landowners by allowing smaller, unsettled areas of crown land to be bought freehold at affordable prices.  Joseph may have accumulated sufficient savings to get himself a smallholding, but he is not recorded as having one of the larger spreads.  The property was along the road that he named after his native county.  On 1st July 1866, Elizabeth Last died in childbirth and her son Joseph R Last died six months later; they are buried in the Church of England section at Binda Cemetery.  Joseph continued to live on his smallholding without ever marrying again.  He died on 11th March 1907 and is buried with his wife and son in the Binda Cemetery.

The population of Binda was over a thousand in the 1870s, but the town declined with the growth of Crookwell, 19 km (12 miles) to the south, after the 1861 Act opened the land to settlers.  In 1878 Crookwell became the administrative centre of the district, and by the 1909 census Binda only had just over 300 people in its environs.  Most of these would have been living on farms.  Binda remained then, as now, a rural area, and there is little evidence of housing built in the village since the 1870s, nor of the actual sale of blocks originally subdivided for housing.  Suffolk Road is a long, lonely road wending its way through the vast grasslands.

Suffolk Street, Mount Clarence, Albany, Western Australia: Mount Clarence is an inner suburb of Albany between the city centre and Middleton Beach.  Both French and British had explored this coast with a view to establishing a foothold on the continent.  Afraid that the French would beat them to it, Major Edmund Lockyer was sent by the governor at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), and claimed the whole of the western part of Australia for Britain on 26 December 1826.  This was at King George’s Sound as it was located on the shipping route between Britain and Port Jackson.  King George’s Sound became a penal settlement under the control of New South Wales.  This was not very satisfactory because of the distance between the two, and the new Swan River Colony established in 1829 objected to convicts on its doorstep.  In March 1831 the settlement was made part of the Swan River Colony, and the convicts and military garrison were withdrawn to New South Wales.  
On 1 January 1832 the settlement was renamed Albany after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, second son of King George III.  Albany was actually settled some three years before the Swan River Colony at Perth and Fremantle.  From 1832 until the opening of the new Fremantle harbour in 1897, Albany was the only deep-water port in Western Australia and, thus, it was that colony’s major international port.  The port serviced the immigration and produce needs of the goldfields, and exported timber and agricultural products.  The significance of the port in the naming of Suffolk Street will soon become clear.

Suffolk Street is a long road running south from Middleton Road, the main route between Albany and Middleton Beach, 4 km (2.5 miles) east of Albany.  In the early years of Albany’s settlement, Middleton Beach provided a handy spot to off load supplies and stock onto shore as some of the larger boats could not navigate the entrance into the main port.  Consequently, Middleton Road was long in place before the roads running south from it had even been planned.  The suburban lots in this part of Albany were drawn up for sale in the late 1870s.  Six roads were laid out in the usual grid pattern.  Running west to east from the north was the existing Middleton Road, then Rowley Road (renamed Burt Street about 1882), and finally Norfolk Street (renamed Serpentine Road soon after 1882).  Running south off Middleton Road down to Norfolk Street, going from west to east, were Aberdeen Street, Suffolk Street and finally Campbell Road.  Today, the area has been altered quite substantially and the grid pattern has gone.  Only Middleton Road and Suffolk Street remain much as they were.

Although it is not recorded why Suffolk Street was so named, the source can be inferred.  A major influence in Albany at the time would have undoubtedly been the harbourmaster.  He was George Trevor Butcher (1828-1900), born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, a town right on the boundary of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.  It cannot be a mere coincidence that those two counties are recalled in these street names.   

Captain George Trevor Butcher arrived in Western Australia as chief officer of the barque Tientsin, and in 1860 he was appointed pilot at Fremantle.  He transferred to Albany in 1866, and became the harbourmaster next year, a position he held until shortly before his death in May 1900.  He was associated with an epic incident in connection with the saving of the barque Strathmore at Fremantle in June 1867. The vessel was in distress and four of the harbourmaster’s crew were drowned during the attempt to save her. Volunteers were asked to man a whale boat to go to the ship’s aid.  Captain Butcher got together five other seamen and they were able to board the Strathmore, and were instrumental in saving her from destruction.

His son, Samuel George Butcher (1853-1934), was born in Lowestoft, England, and also took to the sea for a career.  He first visited Western Australia as a cabin boy in 1868, and in 1879 he took up permanent residence in the colony.  Samuel joined the pilot service, and became the harbourmaster at Geraldton before an accident in 1904 necessitated his retirement.  After retirement he was elected to the Albany Municipal Council, became mayor and was also a justice of the peace.  

The “Thomas Butcher House” in Middleton Road, built as the harbourmaster’s residence in 1870, has been a protected heritage site since 2000.  In 1999 a new housing development was built around the house.  The residence was restored using similar decorative touches and colour schemes as the modern houses now surrounding it.

Although planned as a residential area, most of the plots either side of Suffolk Street were bought up in 1885 by the West Australian Land Company Limited.  This was in anticipation that the Beverley to Albany Railway (the GSR - Great Southern Railway) that the company was to construct, would bring an influx of population to Albany.  However, this did not materialise as had been hoped, not least because the building of the harbour at Fremantle led to a decline in the importance of Albany.  In 1896 the Western Australian Government took over this company and the railway route.  Houses were built on the western side of Suffolk Street, but the eastern side was acquired by the local authority for the establishment of schools.  Today, the Albany Primary School and Albany Senior High School are located there.

Suffolk Road, Aldgate South Australia: Aldgate is located 21 km (13 miles) southeast of Adelaide in the Adelaide Hills.  In 1864 Richard Dixon Hawkins opened a hotel which he named the ‘Aldgate Pump’.  The hotel was named after Aldgate in London, England, where Hawkins was born in 1819, and from the pump he had installed outside.  The pump became popular to water the horses and bullock teams which passed through the area on their way to the goldfields, and the hotel became quite famous as a place of refreshment as well as rest.  A hotel of the same name still stands more-or-less on the same spot today, and is just as famous.  By 1870 a small settlement had been established taking its name from the hotel.  In 1882 the Hills Land and Investment Company acquired and subdivided land for further settlement, as they were aware that the railway line from Adelaide would be arriving in 1883, and this would enable workers in the city to live in the countryside.  The company decided that the new subdivision should be named Aldgate.

The first streets of Aldgate were named after London thoroughfares (Fenchurch, Oxford, Ludgate Hill, Euston and Edgeware), and English counties (Devonshire, Somerset, Surrey, Kent and Suffolk).  Suffolk Road was a long road that began near to the hotel and went southeast to join the Edgeware Road, the main route south from Aldgate.  None of the original directors and managers of the company appear to have had any connections with eastern England, but there was one man that had some importance to the community who did.  He was the owner of the ‘Aldgate Pump’.

Richard Hawkins remained owner of the hotel until 1875 when he sold it to John Borrett of Langhorne Creek.  John Borrett had done extremely well in his business ventures, and was a rich, influential person in South Australia.  He was born 1822 in Suffolk, England, believed to be from around the Orford area.  He came to South Australia in 1837 and, like other settlers from Suffolk at this early period, he first settled at Thebarton where he was a shepherd.  In 1843 Borrett married Agnes Donnen in Adelaide, and they had eleven children.  He became a successful farmer and ended up with large holdings of land near Langhorne Creek, where he lived at Raydon Farm.  He died on his farm at Langhorne Creek in 1906, a very rich man.  If the businessmen of the Hills Land and Investment Company were seeking names for their roads, and the owner of the ‘Aldgate Pump’ happened to mention “Suffolk”, they were not going to ignore him!      

Although not living on Suffolk Road, just round the corner on Devonshire Road was another Suffolk man who was of some significance, George Sparrow (1854-1913).   George was born in Stowmarket, Suffolk, England, and began his training as a gardener in a Suffolk nursery followed by work on several estates in central Suffolk.  By 1883 he was engaged by Alexander G. Downer as a gardener and received free passage to Adelaide.  George initially designed and planted the layout of the Downer Estate ‘Monalta’ at Belair.  In 1888 William Austin Horn, a notable politician, pastoralist and mining stockholder, acquired the 13 hectare (32 acre) ‘Wairoa’ property on the approach to Aldgate.  He engaged George as his head gardener.  The Sparrows lived on Devonshire Road in Aldgate before eventually moving nearer to ‘Wairoa’.  George worked on the estate garden while his wife was employed within the house as a governess and a house manager.  From 1888-1896 George designed and laid out the historic garden, arboretum and lower lawn terraces.  He remained head gardener until his death in 1913. ‘Wairoa’ is an historic home and garden. The elaborate two-storey Victorian mansion was finished in 1893, and beneath it is its 110 year old garden. It is the last remaining intact Victorian garden in the Adelaide Hills, and it is regularly open to the public as part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme.

Suffolk Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria: Surrey Hills is a suburb of Melbourne, 11 km (6 miles) east of Melbourne’s Central Business District.  Much of what is today Surrey Hills was bought by Henry Elgar from the Crown in 1841, comprising 20.7 km2 (5,120 acres or eight square miles) of land.  This large area was subsequently broken up for farmland between the 1850s and 1870s.  The name ‘Surrey Hills’ was reputedly given by John H Knipe in his subdivision of about 30 acres in 1878, probably to associate  with the neighbouring area to the east which had been named Box Hill, after a well-known beauty spot in Surrey, England, in 1861.  The extension of the railway in 1882 encouraged the development of the new suburb.  

In the northern portion, further subdivision of the land gave rise to a small area popularly known as the ‘English Counties District’ where the streets were named after English counties: going from west to east, Middlesex, Durham, Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk Roads, with Kent Road crossing them in the middle.  This gave the impression of stability and a sense that the new area was well established, thus enabling the estate agents to promote the suburban lifestyle and attract the aspiring middle classes.  Although the roads were not associated with any particular person, it is noticeable that the three eastern counties of England were selected as being areas giving an impression of domesticity, comfort and well-being.

The first sales occurred in March and April 1885, with twenty-one lots sold in that year, including some on Suffolk Road.  The prosperity of the 1880s gave way to a bank and property collapse in the 1890s, prompting a severe economic depression throughout Victoria.  Despite the early sale of residential plots that had marked the 1880s, by 1909 the majority of land at Surrey Hills still remained vacant.  Along Suffolk Road, of the 26 plots only 10 had then been built upon.  As a consequence, many of the sites sold were to remain unimproved until after World War I, and most of the houses were actually built from the 1920s through to 1940.

In 2014, the ‘English Counties Residential Precinct’ was adjudged to be of historical, cultural and aesthetic significance and, therefore, subject to heritage protection.  In particular, some individual properties were singled out as ‘significant heritage places’ due to exhibiting particular architectural merit or unusual or distinguishing characteristics.  They are also typically highly intact, with few if any visible external changes from the day they were built.  One such house is ‘Scarne’, 22 Suffolk Road, built c.1905 (see photograph, left).  This is described as “a substantial Queen Anne villa with distinctive architectural detailing and a high degree of intactness.  Architectural features of note include the sinuous half-gable end decoration, verandah fretwork, chimney detail and window headlight”.  
Suffolk Street and Suffolk Lane, Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales: Paddington is an inner-city, eastern suburb of Sydney, located 3 kilometres east of Sydney central.  The first land grant in the Paddington area, of 100 acres (40.4 hectares), was made to Robert Cooper, James Underwood, and Francis Ewen Forbes by Governor Brisbane in 1823, allowing them to commence work on the Sydney distillery.  It was at first an area of large estates until 1839 when James Underwood subdivided 50 of his 97 acres.  He called the subdivision Paddington after the London Borough.

After the start in building Victoria Barracks in 1841, the district’s first cottages were built around the barracks along what was then the South Head Road to accommodate the families of the stonemasons, quarrymen, plasterers, carpenters and labourers working on the buildings.  A small community grew up to supply goods and services to the military establishment.  In the later part of the 19th century, many streets of terraced houses were constructed to the north of South Head Road to house the city’s emerging middle class.  To reflect this “upgraded status” the local council in 1885 renamed the road on which the Barracks stood as Oxford Street, an extension of the main thoroughfare in Sydney of that name.

Built in the period from 1890 to the early 1900s were Suffolk Street and Suffolk Lane, the latter coming off Norfolk Street which had Norfolk Lane as a cul-de-sac.  Cambridge Street and Cambridge Lane were in close proximity.  Well to do Victorian terraced houses were built, and Paddington for a while was considered a better class area of Sydney.  However, over time, these houses filled up almost every parcel of land, causing the suburb to become overpopulated.  It then became an unfashionable suburb that continued until the mid-1960s, when gentrification took hold.  At this time the area developed a Bohemian aspect with a large arts community attracting creative residents.  Today, Paddington is considered a largely intact example of a Victorian residential suburb, well worth conservation.  

The names of the three eastern counties in England were given to these roads because they were built on the land formerly owned by John Gurner (1792-1882).  He was proud to proclaim that “he was of East Anglian stock” and is described as such in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  He was born at Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, England, in August 1792, and practised law as a profession.  In 1814 he married Rebecca Ann Gallifant who was born in Braintree, Essex, England.  In 1816 Gurner was appointed clerk to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, and arrived in Sydney with his wife in the Lord Melville in February 1817.  He remained in the service of the Crown until 1841 when he returned to private practice.  His advice and opinion were frequently sought by the government and he was often appointed to commissions of inquiry.  In 1833 he received a 7 acre grant in Paddington to which he later added another 8 acres.  His home, Duxford House, was built in 1843; it stood on the corner of present day Suffolk and Norfolk Streets.  John Gurner died at his home in July 1882, his wife having pre deceased him.  The property was purchased in 1886 by his neighbour Thomas Broughton of Bradley Hall (located at what is now Broughton Street, the road into which Suffolk Street and Suffolk Lane enter). The properties were sold off gradually for terraced house development, the actual estate houses only being demolished in the early 20th century.    

It should be noted that the Suffolk Regiment was based at nearby Victoria Barracks on Oxford Street. The main barracks building was constructed by convicts between 1841 and 1846, and was designed to accommodate 650 soldiers.  The 12th Regiment of Foot (East Suffolk) was in Australia from 1854 to 1866.  Upon its arrival in Sydney in 1858, the 12th Regiment was quartered at Victoria Barracks, Paddington.  The Suffolk Regiment made important contributions to the original layout of the grounds.  Whole families lived in Victoria Barracks, and were obviously part of the social life in the surrounding neighbourhood.  British troops vacated the Barracks in 1870 and today it is an Australian Army base housing the Headquarters Forces Command (see photo, above).

Suffolk Street, Newstead, Launceston, Tasmania: Newstead is an inner suburb of the city of Launceston.  However, Suffolk Street is at the westernmost point of the suburb; the boundary with East Launceston is at the end of Suffolk Street so, to all intents and purposes, its development was linked to that of the eastern suburbs of Launceston.  Most of the time, its address is given as East Launceston.  European settlement of the area dates from the early 1800s, with land used mainly for farming and grazing.  Rapid growth as a residential suburb took place during the late 1800s, and Suffolk Street was built in the period from 1888 to the early 1890s.

The name may have been suggested by Henry Button (1829-1914) who was alderman and mayor of Launceston in 1885.  In particular, it could have been to commemorate his uncle, the recently deceased William Stammers Button (1795-1876).  This family were very influential in Launceston throughout the 19th century, and they came from Sudbury in Suffolk, England.  The family also lived in this part of the city; Henry Button in Lord Street, and his uncle William in St John Street.

William Stammers Button and his brother Thomas Boosey Button (1794-1865), the father of Henry Button, were actually born in Nayland, Suffolk, England.  This is 14.5 km (9 miles) from Sudbury, the main centre for this part of the county, where they conducted their grain milling and tanning businesses with their brother-in-law, Jonathan Stammers Waddell (1801-57).  The family suffered financial misfortunes in England, and were using different surnames when they emigrated rather quickly to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) in 1833 aboard the Forth.  There they started in business as brewers at Norfolk Plains (now Longford) 21 km (13 miles) to the south of Launceston.  They were obviously more successful in their business ventures in Tasmania, and by 1837 they had moved to Launceston where they added tanning as well as brewing to their portfolio.  Nevertheless, it was not until 1839 that the two brothers began using their real identities, having assumed the names William Williams and Thomas Lloyd for “business purposes”.

The family were prominent Congregationalists, and this aided their acceptance into the wider community.  In 1845 the brother-in-law, Jonathan Waddell, who was a printer by trade, collaborated with the notable Congregationalist minister, John West, in firmly establishing ‘The Examiner’ as the leading newspaper in Launceston; this is Australia’s third-oldest surviving daily newspaper (first published in 1842).  Both William and Thomas were elected to Launceston’s first municipal council with William Button serving as Launceston’s first mayor from 1853 until 1856.  He was appointed a justice of the peace in 1855, and from 1856 to 1862 was elected to the colony’s Legislative Council.

Henry Button was actually born in Sudbury, England, in 1829, the third of the ten children of Thomas Button.  He did not join his family in Tasmania until 1837.  Henry became a journalist and he inherited his uncle’s interest in ‘The Examiner’. In 1887 he became the sole proprietor. From 1879 to 1888 Henry Button was an alderman of Launceston, and mayor in 1885.  He was a minor poet and author, particularly noting the social and administrative history of Tasmania.   

Suffolk Street, Caversham, Western Australia: The name was probably given in the 1890s by Edward Robinson (1839–1913) who was born in Suffolk, England, either at Brampton or Euston. The full history is covered on the Suffolk Park, WA page.

Suffolk Road, Hawthorndene, South Australia:  This is a long road of 1.76 km (1.1 miles) from Blackwood to Upper Sturt Road in Belair National Park.  Suffolk Road Reserve is a recreational park along that road.  Of significance is Suffolk Farm Cottage, at 27 Suffolk Road, opposite Hawthorndene Primary School.  This was placed on the State Heritage Register in 2005 because it is one of the oldest houses in the state that is relatively unchanged.  It retains its “1850s character which is of decidedly European appearance from the German pioneer who built it and yet has features that have kept it habitable for over 160 years”.
Hawthorndene is a southeastern suburb of Adelaide located in the Adelaide Hills immediately to the east of Blackwood.  Early in the 1840s, the southeast area of Blackwood was taken up under Land Grants, and in 1854 Alexander Wardlaw took up what is now Hawthorndene, and before he died in 1894 the area became known as Wardlaw Vale.  (Note that “The History of Hawthorndene Primary School” has the incorrect year of 1884.  The obituary of Alexander Wardlaw was printed in the South Australian newspaper The Register
giving his date of death as 21 September 1894.)

Johann Carl Schober settled on Section 873 and built a cottage in 1855.  Johann was born in Prussia in 1826 and migrated to Australia in 1848 or 1849.  He was naturalised in 1850 after having worked as a miner in South Australia for 12 months.  He then made enough money on the Victorian gold-fields to return to Germany where he married Anna Dorothea Pense.  The couple returned to Australia and settled at Wardlaw Vale.  Schober built a farm around the cottage and was one of the earliest growers of strawberries in the colony; strawberries became an important cash crop in the early economy of South Australia.

                                                                                                                                      Suffolk Farm Cottage 27 Suffolk Road

Johann Schober died on 21 March 1892, aged 66.  At the time of his death, neith
er the farm nor the road had been given the name “Suffolk”.  The sources are quiet on this, but we believe the derivation comes from the Hewett family.  In 1882 Daniel John Hewett moved his family to the Blackwood district where he found rolling hills, native scrub and land with great potential for development.  The land in Blackwood had just been subdivided for further residential development and a railway station was to be opened in 1883.  Hewett established a family firm to build houses, and by 1914 it is thought that his firm had built about half the houses around Blackwood.  

In 1896 Daniel Hewett bought a 65 hectares (160 acre) property in Wardlaw Vale, most of which is the present Hawthorndene.  Running through the northern part of this property was a dirt track leading to the farm of the deceased Johann Schober.  His wife did not die until 1903, but the farm would no doubt have been passed on to his children.  These were four daughters of whom two still lived in the Blackwood area.  The youngest, Helena (b. 1866), was married to Robert Hewett.  Robert Henry Hewett was the eldest son of Daniel Hewett.  Now it seems most unlikely that a German immigrant would name his farm after an English county.  It is probable that at the time it was known as “Schober’s Farm”.  At some time it acquired the name “Suffolk Farm”.  This is most likely to have been in the 1914-18 period when so many German names fell out of favour to be replaced by English names because of the First World War.  So how did it get this name?  It is necessary to look at the background of Daniel Hewett.  He was born in Adelaide in 1842 and does not seem to be connected to the eastern part of England.  In 1865 he married Alice Ann Vawser, born 1844 in the town of March, Cambridgeshire, the county to the west of Suffolk in England.  Since her son had married the daughter of Johann Schober, it seems probable that the Hewett family was effectively in possession of that farm. 

It is likely that the name was changed to “Suffolk Farm” because, during war-time, sales of produce coming from a farm with a German name were being affected.  An English name would be patriotic.  We don’t really know why the name was chosen, although the only member of the family born in England was the mother, who came from Cambridgeshire, so there may have been some connection with the neighbouring county. The track leading to the farm would then become known as “Suffolk Road”.   

Most of present Hawthorndene remained the property of Daniel Hewett until his death in 1924 when it was subdivided.  The name originally proposed for the subdivision was ‘Hawthorn’ because of the many hawthorn bushes growing in the district, but this was rejected because a suburb of the same name already existed.   Although ‘Hawthorne Dene’ was suggested, the local authority decided on ‘Hawthodene’ and this remained the official name of the suburb until 1959.  This name was unpopular and the rejected version was often used, so that year the local council and state government agreed to the current ‘Hawthorndene’.

With the development of the new subdivision, Suffolk Road was sealed and was no longer a dirt track except at its top end where it joins the Belair National Park.  The farm was soon enveloped by new housing units and a primary school built opposite the original farm cottage, of which the Hewett family relinquished ownership long ago, but is now a protected heritage site.

Suffolk Place, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia: Colonel Light Gardens is a model garden suburb, featuring wide, tree-lined streets, rounded street corners, and manicured, well maintained open spaces, located within the City of Mitcham in the metropolitan area of Adelaide.  It is named after the first Surveyor-General of South Australia, Colonel William Light (1786-1839).  He was a British military officer, famous for choosing the site of the colony’s capital, Adelaide, and for designing the layout of its streets and parks.  Light arrived in South Australia in August 1836 and carried out his surveys with very limited staff and little support from his superiors.  Disagreements over the layout of Adelaide led to Light’s resignation in June 1838.  He was already in poor health and he died the next year (see Suffolk Drive, Morphett Vale, SA, above).
An area of 1.2 km² was purchased in June 1915 by the Government from the estate of William Tennant Mortlock.  The Government decided to establish a ‘model garden suburb’, originally called “Light’s Gardens”; it was renamed “Colonel Light Gardens” on 1 January 1929.

Suffolk Place is a small road between two other roads, named because of Colonel Light’s association with the county of Suffolk in England.  He was the second son of Captain Francis Light, the Superintendent of Penang in Malaysia.  His father had been born in Dallinghoo, Suffolk, England, and had named his house and estate in Malaysia after that county (see Suffolk House, Malaysia page, under Other Suffolks).  William Light was actually born in Kedah, Malaysia, and spent his infant years at Penang, but at six went to England where he was to be educated by his father’s friend, Charles Doughty, of Theberton Hall in Suffolk, until he entered the navy in 1799.

In 2000 the suburb was declared a State Heritage Area.

Suffolk Place, Tahmoor, New South Wales: This is a small cul-de-sac off River Road which is a fairly recent development from the late 1980s.  It may have been given this name in memory of Joseph Ratcliffe who has descendants still living in Tahmoor.  Joseph Ratcliffe was born in 1800 at Layham, Suffolk, England, a small hamlet one mile south of the town of Hadleigh.  Joseph Ratcliffe was tried at Bury St Edmunds assizes in 1823.  He was a brickman and ploughman at the time.  His offence is not recorded, but he was given a sentence of life, and transportation.  He came out on the Guildford, arriving in Sydney in March 1824.  Joseph was allowed to marry in 1837, and obtained a conditional pardon in 1839.   

It is not known exactly when Joseph and his family came to Tahmoor (then known as Myrtle Creek), but it is known that three of his daughters married three brothers of the Whitfield family in 1861, 1864 and 1874.  When the first government school opened in 1872 with an enrolment of 21, it was noted at the time that the pupils came from ‘tenant farmers, in poor circumstances’, among them the children of Joseph Ratcliffe and William Whitfield.  In 1881, when Joseph Ratcliffe died, he was living in Berrima, 49 km (30.5 miles) south of Tahmoor.

Prior to the official naming of Tahmoor in 1916, the district was generally known as ‘Myrtle Creek’ or ‘West Bargo’, and sometimes ‘Cordeaux’ (all after nearby rivers or creeks).  It was a farming area on the Great Southern Road (later named the Hume Highway).  The name ‘Tahmoor’, a local Aboriginal word for the common bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera), a native pigeon seen in the area, was first used as the name of a farm in the 1860s.  The State postal administration was fed up with the various names being used on mail that they asked the local postmaster what its real name was, only be told that “it has no definite name…”.  This was not good enough for officialdom, so in 1916 this situation was rectified.

Suffolk Road, Marulan, New South Wales:  Until recently Marulan was surrounded by large farming estates.  In recent times these farms have begun to be subdivided into smaller lots, and sold off to newcomers seeking a change in lifestyle.  Suffolk Road is one such isolated road recently built around 2008 to the northwest of the village of Marulan.  Five acre blocks are on offer along this road where houses are yet to be built as at 2014.
Marulan is in the Southern Tablelands located south-west of Sydney on the Hume Highway, and 29 km (18 miles) east of the city of Goulburn.  Suffolk Road is an isolated road and not on an estate which has roads named with a “county theme”.  However, there are many people living in the area that are descended from a family that came from that county, and it is probably at their suggestion that the road was given this name.
One of the early settlers at Marulan was Lewis (Louis) Guymer (1862-1934).  He married Harriet Bell in 1890 at Marulan, and lived in the village practically all his life.  Lewis Guymer is notable for being the first explorer of the nearby Bungonia Caves.  In 1891 his father and brother lowered him and a companion (G Marsh) 200 feet into a cavity where they discovered the renowned Drum Cave.  This was so christened because, when a 12 foot long stalactite was struck, it emitted a sound like a muffled drum.   From 1889 to 1909 he was the first and only official government caretaker, and he gave guided tours of the caves.  Guymer discovered further caves and erected gates, guard rails, ladders, etc. some of which remain in use today.
Lewis Guymer was the third surviving son of Alfred and Hannah Guymer who in the 1860s lived in the Marulan area.  Alfred Guymer was born in Great Wratting, Suffolk, England, in 1836 and died in 1924 in Adelong, New South Wales.  He arrived in Sydney with his parents David and Mary Ann Guymer on board the Harriet in June 1853.  Alfred joined his father as an itinerant farmhand in the Goulburn district, and in 1858 married Hannah Jones who had emigrated with her family from Wales in 1855.  Alfred and Hannah left a long list of descendants since they had 14 children, 10 of whom survived infancy, and on Alfred’s death in 1924 he had no less than 62 grandchildren and 59 great-grandchildren.  Lewis and Harriet Guymer at Marulan had six children who survived infancy, many of whose descendants remain in the area today.      

Suffolk Avenue and Suffolk Common, Murrumbateman, New South Wales: These are on the “Merryville Estate”.  Suffolk Avenue is a cul-de-sac leading to Suffolk Common.  Merryville Drive was built as the main estate road winding through the natural grassland, and a number of cul-de-sacs have been built off that road.  Four areas of natural grassland were retained as ‘commons’ for recreational purposes, one of which is Suffolk Common (see photograph, right) that takes its name from Suffolk Avenue.
Murrumbateman is a village in the Southern Tablelands, approximately 30 km (19 miles) north-west of Canberra.  Murrumbateman district has a long history dating back to 1826 when the first white settlers took up land to graze sheep and cattle. It is assumed that the name is of aboriginal origin, but no conclusive evidence has emerged to prove this.  We prefer the apocryphal story that a pioneer innkeeper was a man with the name Mr Bateman.  One of his regulars used to order his drinks by requesting “More rum, Bateman!”   

Murrumbateman is well known for its fine wool industry, particularly through the achievements of the Merriman family with their Merino sheep.  One of the major figures in Australia’s wool industry, Sir Walter Merriman (1882-1972), was born in the area and educated at Murrumbateman School.  He established a new standard of excellence for super-fine wool at his property ‘Merryville’.  His father, George Merriman (1847-1915), founded the Ravensworth Stud in the Yass district to the north of Murrumbateman in 1865.  There he developed the fine-wool Merino breed.  In 1903 Walter Merriman began his own small stud, Merryville, on part of Ravensworth, and went on to breed a type of Merino which is now known today as the ‘Merryville’, founded on some of the purest and best Merino blood in Australia.  He was knighted in 1954 for his services to the sheep industry of Australia.  Sir Walter Merriman is buried in the Murrumbateman Cemetery.

Within easy commuting distance of Canberra, rapid growth took place in Murrumbateman from the early 1990s, with the population more than doubling between 1991 and 2011.  The Merryville Estate is one of the new developments, the first house being built in 1995.  The Estate comprises approximately 250 residential blocks as well as community facilities.   

How did Suffolk Avenue get its name?  Ever heard of the breed of sheep named the ‘Suffolk’?  All the roads on the first part of the estate are named after breeds of sheep: Merino, Suffolk, Border Leicester, Corriedale, Lincoln, Southdown, Dorset, and Saxon.  And when they ran out of sheep breeds, they followed with the names of cattle breeds and then horse breeds.

Top of Page

New Zealand

Many of the early street names in New Zealand were, characteristically, named after English counties as a reminder of the “home country”.  There are only three that can reasonably be said to have been given the name directly from an immigrant from the county of Suffolk in England.  The first mentioned below (in Stoke, Nelson) is definitely on record as being named in this way, the next two are more speculative in that direct evidence is lacking as to why they were named.  Two further roads can be said to have derived their name indirectly from a native of Norfolk in England.
We have tried to find out something of the history of all those roads in New Zealand that are named after Suffolk and are over 100 years old.    

Suffolk Road, Stoke, Nelson, South Island: Stoke is one of the suburbs of Nelson to the southwest of the city.  Established in 1841, Nelson is the second-oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island.

After Arthur Wakefield left the Royal Navy in 1841, he joined his brother Edward Gibbon Wakefield in the New Zealand Company.  Edward Wakefield was the driving force behind much of the early colonisation of South Australia and New Zealand.  He selected Arthur to lead the initial colonising expedition to the South Island to build a new settlement to be named Nelson.  With Capt. Arthur Wakefield was the 16-year-old son of his sister Catherine, the wife of the Rev. Charles Torlesse, the vicar of Stoke-by-Nayland in Suffolk and, as the captain’s personal attendant, William Songer whose birthplace was Stoke-by-Nayland.

Three ships sailed from Gravesend on 2 May 1841 under the command of Capt. Arthur Wakefield and reached Wellington in September 1841.  The flagship Whitby moved on to South Island under Capt. Wakefield, arriving at the harbour of the new settlement on 1st  November 1841.  William Songer was in charge of the Union Flag and thus hoisted the British flag four days later after a flagpole had been erected (see The Songer Tree,below).  The Company secured a vague and indeterminate area from the Maori for £800.  The other immigrant ships arrived in Nelson in February, 1842.

William Songer had been the gardener at Stoke-by-Nayland, and his wife had been t
he nurse who brought up the children of the Torlesse family.  His wife came out as a matron on one of the emigrant ships.  With others, William Songer and his wife stayed behind to help develop the settlement.  In 1854 Capt. Wakefield was killed when trying to arrest the Maori chiefs at Wairau.  Soon after, no longer being employed, William Songer settled at the locality referred to as Suburban South by the New Zealand Company, on land owned by the Rev. Charles Torlesse.  He built a mud cottage and began to farm, growing barley, potatoes as well as keeping cattle and pigs.  William gave the district the name of Stoke after his home village in England.  However, residents who followed adopted the name Brook Green.  Finally, in 1858, the name Stoke was decided upon out of deference to the first settler here.

The highway around which Stoke grew was named Main Road.  There were two early roads that ran the length of the district parallel to this thoroughfare, and William Songer accordingly called them Nayland Road and Suffolk Road.  Another highway running the breadth of the district was named Polstead R
oad after the neighbouring village to Stoke-by-Nayland in Suffolk.  At a later date the residents named another of the main thoroughfares running the breadth of the district as Songer Street.  

William Songer died on 13 August 1904 at the age of 90, the last of the original settlers to South Island.

The Songer Tree: the Giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum, located on a prominent ridge above Nelson is known as “The Songer Tree”.  According to the New Zealand Tree Register, the Songer Tree was planted on Signal Hill in memory of Captain Arthur Wakefield.  William Songer was invited by the Nelson City Council to assist at the planting in 1900 since he provided a link back to the original settlement, having been the person who hoisted the first Union Jack on 5th November 1841.  Due to a misunderstanding, the 84 year old was late for the ceremony and was disappointed to find the tree had already been planted.  However, as the inscription said that it had been planted by William Songer, he insisted on the tree being dug up and Songer himself replanted it in a most workmanlike manner.  It thus came to be known by the name of the man who planted it, rather than that of the man in whose memory it was planted.

Suffolk Street, Hampstead, Ashburton, South Island: Hampstead is a small residential suburb located about three kilometres from central Ashburton on the east coast of South Island.  The Ashburton area was initially settled by Europeans on the east bank of the river of the same name in 1863.  On the outskirts of the settlement to the south, the land was originally held in fairly large farmholdings by Frank Mayo, Captain McLean, John Hunt and Thomas Lloyd.  

In 1874 the first resident doctor came to Ashburton.  He was Dr James Ebenezer Trevor from Wiltshire who was related to the Mayo family.  He purchased the house of Gilbert Mayo an early teacher who had built it as a boarding school.  The school was not a paying proposition so Gilbert Mayo sold the house and five acres to Dr Trevor.  In the same year Dr Trevor purchased the 50 acres rural land grant of Thomas Lloyd.  In 1877 he named his property “Trevorton”, subdivided the land and sold it in ¼ acre sections at relatively low prices.  At one time as many as 40 houses were being completed simultaneously on land Dr Trevor had owned.  This Trevorton block of land is the oldest of the suburb settlements of Ashburton, and by 1879, when the Wakanui Roads Board came into existence to provide funds to build roads, it was recognised that there had already been residential development there.

“Trevorton” was bounded by today’s Willow Street (to the north), Beach Road (east), Trevor’s Road (south) and to the west was the Ashburton River.  The block only comprised three streets: Suffolk Street being the north-south axis running between Willow Street and Trevor’s Road with Leeston Street being the west-east axis.  A small cul-de-sac named Sudbury Street came off Suffolk Street towards the river.  There was no development near to the river because of the likelihood of flooding.  Beach Road is a long-established main route to the Pacific Ocean which is only 14 km (8 miles) distance.  Willow Street takes its name from the willows by the river, and Trevor’s Road gets its name from the landowner.  The west-east artery of Leeston Street is named after the principal town of that name in the Ellesmere area, some 54 km (33 miles) to the south-east.  There remains Suffolk and Sudbury Streets; since Sudbury is a town in that county in England, these two streets do appear to have received their names from the same source.        

Although it is not mentioned in the local records, it seems likely to us that these names derive from a school teacher who arrived at Ashburton around this time.  He was Walter Junius King (1847-1927).  Walter was born out of wedlock in Sudbury, Suffolk, to Mary Ann King, who came from Stoke-by-Nayland.  In the 1851 census Walter was living with his grandparents at Stoke-by-Nayland.  Probably because of these circumstances, Walter (aged 10) accompanied his mother’s younger brother, Henry, when the latter emigrated to New Zealand in 1858.  Two of Henry’s sisters had already emigrated and lived at Canterbury, South Island.  

Walter became a school teacher, married and was to have 13 children.  The records of their births do enable us to keep track of the family’s movements, and we can tell that in 1882 and 1885 they were living in Ashburton.  His wife was an assistant teacher and sewing mistress.  We do not have access to the records, but it does seem likely that the family could have been living at Trevorton and, as a teacher, Walter would have been literate enough, and possibly influential enough, to propose the names of his birthplace (Sudbury, Suffolk) for these two roads.  Other factors that relate to this premise are that Ashburton High School opened in 1881, and this may have led to Walter taking up an appointment there at that time, whilst at Trevorton, the rapid building of homes in the area led to a rise in the number of children requiring education.  In 1884 a ‘side school’ was built, just to the northeast of Suffolk Street on what is today Friedlander Park.  (A ‘side school’ in New Zealand is a separate school establishment that comes under the jurisdiction of another more central school in the area.)  Again we do not know who the master was at that school, but it is noted that the Education Board fell out with him and he was given notice to leave later in 1885.  This coincides with Walter King and family moving to Waimate by the next year.

Although officially referred to as “Trevorton”, by 1886 this community was already locally known as “Hampstead” after Frank Mayo’s farm of that name.  Frank Mayo was also to become chairman of the first Town Board established in 1886, so it came as no surprise when a motion was put forward to adopt officially the name “Hampstead” for the new town.  Since the vote was tied, it was decided that the area should be officially named Hampstead, keeping Trevorton as a district name.  Hampstead did not join Ashburton until 1921.

Walter Junius King remained in the teaching profession at various posts, finally ending up as the headmaster of a school that opened in 1898 at Whetukura, Hawkes Bay, in the North Island.  This Suffolk man remained there and became a popular character, described as “an ardent talker with a flowing white beard”.  He died at Whetukura on 10th May 1927, aged 78 years.   

Suffolk Street, Picton, Marlborough, South Island: Picton is located 25 km (16 miles) north of Blenheim and 65 km (40 miles) east of Wellington.  The site of Picton was first surveyed in 1849 and was purchased from the Maori in 1850.  The new settlement was called Newton, but this name never caught on.  In 1859 the province of Marlborough was established and the town was renamed Picton in memory of Sir Thomas Picton who fell at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.  Although Picton was made the provincial capital, it was Blenheim that thrived and, as a consequence, the provincial capital moved there in 1865.  Picton gained a town council in 1876, but by 1900 it was still no more than a village with a population of 875 compared to Blenheim’s 3,222 residents.  It was after the freezing works opened at the location in 1900 that a secondary period of house building began.  Only in 1956 did the population pass 2,000, and the freezing works remained the town’s biggest employer until its closure in 1983.

Many of Picton’s first streets were named after New Zealand provinces and English counties - reflecting the English heritage of New Zealand.  The first county streets in the town centre were Devon, Oxford, York, Kent, Dorset and Durham Streets, built in the 1860s.  Later, in the early 1900s, Leicester, Sussex, Lincoln, Suffolk, Surrey and Rutland Streets were built in succession between Hampden Street and Milton Terrace in the northeast sector of Picton.
It may be noticed that there is no uniformity in the counties selected; counties next to each other in England are not placed adjacent to each other in Picton; with regard to “Suffolk” there are no other eastern counties at all.  This seems to indicate a random selection, possibly by persons connected with the local authority suggesting the county name.  In the case of “Suffolk Street” we may infer that the Town Clerk of Picton, Jabez Blizzard, was instrumental in suggesting this name.

The only family in Picton recorded as coming from Suffolk in the early years is the Blizzard family.  Charles Blizzard, a blacksmith by occupation, was born at Old Newton in Suffolk, England, in 1819.  His wife, Mary Barnfield, was born at Langham in Suffolk in 1816.  They were married at Langham in 1846.  Four of their five children were born in Suffolk, including Jabez Blizzard, who was born at Old Newton in February 1856.  The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1856 aboard the John Masterman, landing in Nelson in February 1857.  They resided in Nelson for three years, then went to Wairau, before moving to Picton in March 1863.

The family was immersed in the social life of the community.  Jabez Blizzard was captain of the Picton cricket team and also a member of the Picton Rifle Volunteers.  Jabez worked with his father as a blacksmith but soon showed he had an aptitude for keeping the books of the business.  By the age of twenty he was appointed secretary to the local body of foresters, and went on to become the secretary of the Marlborough Permanent Building Society and secretary for the Picton Hospital & Charitable Aid Board.  After his father’s death in 1890 Jabez relinquished the blacksmith business, and set up as a general shipping agent in conjunction with his many public duties.  He was a justice of the peace and a member of the Picton Borough Council for 16 years.  In 1897 he was appointed Town Clerk, a position he maintained for 37 years.  Given his status within the borough council, Jabez Blizzard would have been well able to suggest the name “Suffolk” for this new street built during the second period of the town’s expansion in the 1900s.  Jabez Blizzard died in Picton in 1934.  The family is still represented in this part of New Zealand.   

Suffolk Place, Balclutha, Otago, South Island: This one seems to be a bit of a mystery even to the local inhabitants.  The European settlement of the Otago province in South Island was sponsored by the Free Church of Scotland with the arrival in 1848 of the first two immigrant ships from Greenock on the Firth of Clyde.  Thereafter the inflow of Scottish immigrants to New Zealand was mainly towards the southern part of South Island.  Even into the 20th century, Otago and Southland remained the heartland of the Scottish legacy in New Zealand.  

Balclutha is no exception.  Its name and that of the river on which it stands reflect the Scottish origin of the town.  “Clutha” is the Scottish Gaelic for the River Clyde, and “Bal” is a contraction of “baille”, thus Balclutha translates as the “town on the Clyde”.  The town’s founding father was James McNeil from Dunbartonshire, Scotland, who arrived in 1853.  His farm was on the site of the present town, where he established a ferry service across the Clutha in 1857.  The centre of the town developed around the farm on the alluvial flat land (known as ‘the Flat’) on the south bank of the Clutha River.   The town grew steadily, and in 1863 residential sections were surveyed and, in particular, a residential suburb called North Balclutha was planned on the hill to the north of the river.  The first bridge connecting the two parts of Balclutha was opened in 1868.

Now here is where the mystery occurs.  In 1863 the survey work was carried out on North Balclutha and ‘the Flat’ by two different gentlemen, both Scotsmen, Robert Grigor on ‘the Flat’ choosing Scottish place names for the streets, and Edward Campbell to the North choosing East Anglian names.  It is no surprise that a Scotsman within a largely Scottish population should choose familiar names from Scotland for the streets in ‘the Flat’, but as a response to a query made on the South Otago Museum website has stated “We would greatly appreciate any theory on Campbell’s choice of names”.  We think we may be able to help.

First, we need to look at the map of North Balclutha produced by Edward Campbell in 1863.  There were only eight streets then marked out and named.  They were in order going north from the river: Hasborough Place (along the river front, the first to be met after crossing the Clutha River), Stanford Street, Lowestoft Street and Yarmouth Street; and going from west to east: Pakefield Street, Cromer Street, Lynn Street (the top end of Cromer Street today), and Newarp Street.  These are all places in East Anglia.  The fact that six of them are located on a short stretch of coast in Norfolk and Suffolk is significant: Cromer, Hasborough (modern spelling is Happisburgh), Newarp, Yarmouth (these four in Norfolk), Lowestoft and Pakefield (in Suffolk).  The inclusion of Newarp is very interesting since this indicates that the person who gave this name must have had intimate knowledge of this particular coastline, possibly that of a fisherman, because this is the name of a dangerous shoal (Newarp Bank) lying in the North Sea immediately offshore of Hasborough.  (“Newarp” is a contraction of “new warp”; a “warp” being an Early English term for a shoal or sandbank).  The other two places were in Norfolk: Lynn is obviously Kings Lynn, and Stanford was a small village 12 km (7.5 miles) north of the town of Thetford.

There was one family among all the Scottish immigrants in the Balclutha area that fits the bill.  This was the Tuck family who came from Happisburgh (Hasborough) in Norfolk.  This is just a small coastal village.  The fact that the first street in North Balclutha was given this name rather than the names of the larger coastal towns of Yarmouth and Lowestoft speaks volumes in favour of the Tuck family being the source for the “East Anglian” choice of names.  

In the early 18th century, John and Alice Tuck settled initially at Worstead, a small parish six miles inland and south-west of Happisburgh.  They were living in Happisburgh by 1751 because their son, also John, was born there that year, and another son, William (the ancestor of the New Zealand family), in 1762.  William married a local Happisburgh girl, Sarah Kidd, and they had 11 children of whom Charles Tuck was born at Happisburgh in 1792.  In the 1841 UK census, William’s occupation was that of a fisherman.  Charles Tuck (1792-1881) married Hannah Elliot (1804-1888) who was born at North Walsham, Norfolk.  They had six children, all born in Happisburgh, of whom John Robert Tuck (1833-1920) was the first of the family to come to New Zealand.

John Tuck jumped ship in 1855 around the Catlin Coast of South Otago.  In 1858 he established a farm at a location named Romahapa, 15 km (9 miles) south of Balclutha.  John is described as a farmer and a butcher.  It seems that his father and mother, along with a younger brother (Robert) and sister (Elizabeth) joined him in 1861.

Little is known about the father, Charles Tuck.  We do know he died aged 89 in 1881 and is buried in Balclutha, and the death certificate states he had lived in New Zealand for 20 years, i.e. arriving in 1861.   His death certificate states his occupation as being a labourer.  In the 1851 UK census, Charles was living at Happisburgh and working as an agricultural labourer.  He does not feature in the 1861 UK census, so this rings true.  His wife, Hannah, died at Romahapa in 1888.

John Robert Tuck married Isabella Morton in 1865 (she was 17 and he 32) at Romahapa.  His younger brother, Robert Tuck (1842-1901), married Agnes Morton, younger sister of Isabella.  It was almost inevitable that the sisters came from Scotland, hailing from Hamilton.  John Tuck sold cattle meat to the early gold miners, and soon expanded into sawmilling.  His nine sons (out of a total of 17 children) all went into either farming or sawmilling.  He later moved to North Island, but his younger brother and other members of the Tuck family remained for several years at Romahapa.   

We do not know the connection between the Tuck family and the surveyor Edward Campbell.  It may be that the surveyor lodged with the family, and that he used Charles Tuck and other members of the family as assistant labourers while he carried out his work.  Whatever the connection, as other roads were marked out after 1863, the East Anglian theme was continued and extended to include neighbouring eastern counties.  To the east of the original centre the roads are: Harwich Street (Essex), Yare Lane (Norfolk), Ipswich Street, Henley Drive and Orwell Street (Suffolk), and Lincoln Terrace.  (Stanford Street soon became Stamford Street after the better known Lincolnshire town; Stanford village in Norfolk was abandoned during World War II so that the surrounding countryside could be used by the British Army as a training facility, and this is still the situation today.)

To the west of the original centre lies Springfield Street, taking its name from a rather obscure village near Chelmsford in Essex.  However, this obscure village was the progenitor of the many Springfields in the United States, and the selection of this name had probably more to do with the recent assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.  It was well known that Lincoln came from obscurity as a “prairie lawyer” from Springfield, Illinois, to hold the highest office in the country and abolish slavery during the American Civil War.

To the north of the original centre are three county names: Norfolk Street, Cambridge Street with Suffolk Place coming off it as a cul-de-sac.  So Suffolk Place gets its name indirectly from a Norfolk man, an occurrence that happened more than once (see below).             

Suffolk Road North and Suffolk Road South, Norfolk, Taranaki, North Island: European settlement in the Taranaki region began at New Plymouth in 1841.  European expansion beyond New Plymouth, however, was prevented by Maori opposition to selling their land.  In 1840 a number of Maori chiefs had ceded their authority to Queen Victoria, but only under the assurance that their own land, forests and fishing areas would be guaranteed.  Newly arrived settlers, anxious for land, were annoyed by the intransigence of the Maori to sell their land.  Maori customs and traditions would only allow such sales to take place after tribal consent had been obtained.  

However, a new governor of New Zealand, Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, appointed in 1855, adopted a policy of accepting an individual Maori’s right to the sale of his own land.  He agreed to a purchase by the Crown of 600 acres of land close to New Plymouth in the Taranaki Province.  In this instance tribal consent was not given and when the Maori refused to leave the site, the Governor ordered the military occupation of the land in March 1860.  This disputed sale and its subsequent events led to what has been called the First Taranaki War, 1860-1861.  Reinforcements were called from the military stationed in Australia.  The 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot arrived at New Plymouth on 16 April 1860 and, after peace had been restored, departed March 1861 to their main posting at Otahuhu, Auckland.  The regiment was, thereafter, mainly engaged elsewhere (see Suffolk Redoubts, New Zealand, on the Suffolk Misc. page).  Although the Suffolk Regiment was in New Zealand from 1860 to 1867 it does not appear to have provided its name to any of the roads in the country.  
Between 1863 and 1866 there was a resumption of hostilities between the Maori and the Colonial Government in Taranaki, which is sometimes referred to as the Second Taranaki War.  War flared again in Taranaki in June 1868 to 1869.  Impatience and prejudice on the part of the European settlers coupled with an ignorance about Maori customs and traditions, placed Maori who opposed land sales in the vulnerable position of being called rebels.  Large areas of land were confiscated from the Maori by the government under the New Zealand Settlements Act in 1863, purportedly as punishment for rebellion.  The confiscations, subsequently acknowledged by the New Zealand Government as unjust and illegal, began in 1865 and soon included the entire Taranaki district.  The effect was the confiscation of 1.2 million acres (4,850 km²) of land.  Military settlements, such as Carlyle ( see Suffolk Street, Patea, Taranaki, North Island, below), were established on land confiscated in order to enforce British rule.  Over time the confiscated land was handed out to European settlers and soldiers who had taken part in the fighting.  The Maori “rebels” were rounded up and placed on land especially reserved for them, amounting to 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares), scattered throughout Taranaki in small blocks.

However, by the early 1870s some Maori who had been displaced by the wars of the 1860s had returned to their homes within the confiscated territory that had not yet been allocated to Europeans.  The Colonial authorities did not prevent this, and inaction on the part of the government caused great uncertainty about the status of confiscated land.  From 1872, under mounting pressure to find land for European settlers, the Crown began to purchase substantial quantities of Maori land in the interior of Taranaki, both inside and outside the confiscation boundary.  In December 1873, the Crown purchased the 32,830 acre Moa Block of dense virgin forest to the east of Mount Taranaki.  Trails used by Maori crossed the area, and there were three bush clearings, but no permanent settlement.  This land now had to be surveyed and cleared before it could be allotted to settlers.

The task was given to Edwin Stanley Brookes, Jnr (1840–1904) who was appointed Assistant Surveyor on the Taranaki Provincial staff in 1873.  He spent his time in Taranaki surveying settlements from Inglewood to Hawera, working in conjunction with fellow surveyor Peter Cheale.  From 1874 to 1879, Edwin Brookes oversaw the cutting of a Meridian line (known as Mountain Road) from Waitara southwards to Hawera for a distance of 42 miles, and the original subdivision of blocks on the eastern side of Mount Taranaki.  As they progressed, names were given to prospective settlements along Mountain Road and the roads that would lead to these locations.  The topography of the country determined the layout.     

Mount Taranaki, (also named Mount Egmont) gives its name to the Taranaki region on the west coast of North Island.  It is the classic volcano shape and forms an almost perfect circle as it rises from the surrounding plain.  The Taranaki ring plain encircles the volcano and the streams that run down from it form a radial pattern like the spokes of a wheel.  The roads are constructed on the higher ground between the streams and, therefore, form a similar radial pattern starting from the base of the volcano.  The names of roads in radial order clockwise are: Dudley, Durham, Norfolk, Surrey, York, Denbigh, Radnor, Monmouth and Pembroke Road.  Mountain Road forms the main thoroughfare running from Waitara on the north coast of Taranaki to Hawera on the south coast.  At the same time as this road was being laid, a railway track beside it was being plotted.  Two parallel roads either side of Mountain Road were planned; that to the west was named Bedford Road (in the north) and Derby Road (in the south); there was to be a parallel road to the east near to the Manganui River.  Since this latter road was of much shorter length than the others because the size of the rivers this distance from the volcano was that much greater and difficult to bridge, there was only one of the radial roads that would reach the parallel road to the east of Mountain Road.  This was Norfolk Road.  Hence, it seemed natural that this parallel road should be named Suffolk Road.
It should be noted that the names of settlements and roads were generally in place before the settlers actually arrived.  The survey teams gave the names as they progressed, and suggestions came from the various parties that had a stake in the future success of opening up this territory.  The surveyor Peter Cheale (1846-1931) undoubtedly named Norfolk after his father-in-law’s birthplace in that county in England.  Peter Cheale was born and educated in London, where he trained as a mining engineer and surveyor.  He emigrated to New Zealand in 1864, and in 1865 joined the Survey Department in Auckland.  He married Eliza Shalders in January 1876.  She was the daughter of the leading Baptist minister, Richard Bareham Shalders, founder of the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle in 1855.  Richard Shalders (1824-1914) was born at Worstead, Norfolk, and emigrated to New Zealand with his new wife, reaching Auckland in March 1852.  Peter Cheale himself was a devout Baptist, and would often hold evangelical services as part of his visitations to various surveying camps.

The settlement of Norfolk was located where one of the radial roads met Mountain Road and, naturally, that road took the name Norfolk Road since it led to that settlement.  When we say “settlement” it does not necessarily mean a town or even a large village in the context of these bush clearances.  All that it implies is the meeting place for the surrounding homesteaders and need only be a school, a hall and sometimes a church.  Norfolk is not much more than this today.  However, it gives its name to a district that extends several kilometres over the surrounding farmland.  The land was picked out early as suitable for dairying, both for its volcanic richness and abundant rainfall, but the early settlers had to clear the land themselves.  They were organised into different groups and had the laborious job of stumping, draining, clearing the land for farms, and cutting the lines for the road and railway, before they could purchase sections with the money they earned.  The roads at this period were muddy, sometimes impassable tracks leading to isolated farmsteads in the bush.  The road was just a widened bush track full of stumps, with swamps to cross and ground so soft it made a bullock dray the only transport that could be used.  

The first settlers were granted their blocks of land along Norfolk Road in 1877.  Norfolk School was established in 1879.  Suffolk Road was not settled at this time, but the local press reported opening up the land “beyond the Suffolk Road” in 1881.  The earliest settlers along Suffolk Road were Swiss immigrants, notably Josef Bütler and his wife in 1886, all of their 14 children being born on their farm in Suffolk Road.  At this time Norfolk Road had still not been completed as originally planned, as it was in 1896 that a request was made to the authorities to “extend Norfolk Road east to reach Suffolk Road”.  It was not until 1917 that gravel was laid to provide a firm surface for Suffolk Road.  Today Suffolk Road runs either side of Tarata Road, the main route from Inglewood to Kaimata; Suffolk Road North has a length of 0.5 km north of the Tarata Road with only one homestead; Suffolk Road South is, obviously, south of the Tarata Road and has a length of 3.5 km (2 miles), with six homesteads along it.  It extends into the Tariki District, hence it is often shown as “Suffolk Road, Norfolk/Tariki”.
Suffolk Street, Tapanui, Otago, South Island: This is a small town with a population currently just under 700 in 2015.  It began as a forestry site in 1858, followed by a sawmill in 1866.  The town of Tapanui was laid out around the sawmill in 1868, and the first nine streets were typically given English county names.  Between Sussex Street (in the north) and Northumberland Street (the main street of the town in the south) running west to east were Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincoln, York and Durham Streets, representing the counties of England as they go south to north along its eastern coastline.  Other streets in Tapanui were also named after English counties.

Suffolk Street, Patea, Taranaki, North Island: Although missionaries had been in the area from 1842 until 1853, Patea came into existence as a military outpost called Carlyle or Carlyle Beach, which was situated closer to the river mouth than is the main part of the present town today.  Large areas of land were confiscated from the Maori by the government under the New Zealand Settlements Act in 1863, purportedly as punishment for rebellion, and in January 1865 a military force arrived under General Cameron to constructed redoubts on both sides of the river.  Hostilities continued in this part of Taranaki until 1869 when the Maori finally accepted defeat.

It had already been decided to establish Carlyle as a market town.  In November 1867 the present township was surveyed, about a mile north of the military camp.  With the cessation of hostilities, the first land sections were sold in 1870, and all the roads were named after English counties: the earliest are named after the eastern counties in the order going from north to south (more-or-less as in England itself): Cambridge Street, Bedford Street, Norfolk Street, Suffolk Street  and Essex Street.  Also built in this initial period were Kent, Surrey, and Middlesex.  These all reflect the counties in eastern and south-eastern England, but there is nothing on record to suggest why this is so.

On 13 October 1881 the township became a borough under the native name Patea, by which time the town was the main settlement in southern Taranaki and its river port was one of the busiest in the region.  According to Maori legend, Patea gets its name from a hunter who got fed up with his wife’s incessant nagging.  Patea took her for a walk and somehow she fell over a cliff to her death.  Patea fled into the wild, lonely country to the west where he remained for the rest of his life, hence it became known as Patea’s Country.

Suffolk Street, Arrowtown, Otago, South Island: Arrowtown is named after the Arrow River which flows alongside the town.  It was named the Arrow because the miners thought it flowed as swiftly as an arrow.  William Rees and Nicholas von Tunzelmann were the first Europeans to establish farms in the area in 1860.  The Maori, Jack Tewa, a shearer for Rees, was the first to discover gold in the river around May 1861.   It is unclear who was next, but the Irishman, William (Bill) Fox, being a forceful character, took the credit for the discovery in 1862.  Although there were attempts to keep the discovery secret, there were 1,500 miners camped out on the Arrow River by the end of 1862, and for a while the shanty town was called Fox’s Diggings after William Fox.  It soon became simply Arrow, and then Arrowtown as it began to take on the appearance of a real town.

After the initial gold rush, a more permanent town began to establish itself.  Avenues of trees were planted in 1867 in an attempt to make Arrowtown look more like European towns.  The first mayor was elected in 1874.   Arrowtown continued to survive after the gold ran out in the 1870s, becoming a farm service town.  Although the permanent population declined, during the 1950s it gained a reputation as a popular holiday destination and a “theme town” based on its mining heritage.  Arrowtown has around 70 buildings, monuments and features remaining from the gold rush era.  This saw New Zealand holiday makers restoring the historic cottages and building holiday homes.  Most of these have now become desirable permanent residences.  During the high point of the gold rush the population of Arrowtown rose to over 7,000; its permanent population dwindled to 171 in 1961; however, by 2011 the permanent residents had climbed up to 2,400.  Today, Arrowtown still has the feel of an old gold rush era town, but tourism is now its main source of income.

Suffolk Street is located southeast of the main centre, just a street beyond the first growth of the original town.  Most of the streets of Arrowtown are named after English counties, although there is no uniformity in how they are named.  The first map of Arrowtown in 1867 shows the future Suffolk Street marked with lots laid out, but not yet named.  The development of residential lots along this street is stated to date from the mid 1870s.  There is a possibility that Thomas Cleghorn had a say in the naming of Suffolk Street, but we must emphasise that we have no record to confirm this, nor do we know where he lived when in Arrowtown.  Thomas Cleghorn was born in Bildeston, Suffolk, England, in 1836, both his parents also being born in that county.  He became a saddler by trade, but emigrated to New Zealand in 1863 when aged 26.  He is next recorded as a miner in the goldfields of the Thames district in North Island at the Karaka mine in 1867 and 1868.  In the 1871 New Zealand census he is a miner at Waikaia in South Island, and by 1874 he had gravitated to the gold mines at Arrowtown because that year he gets married in that town to Eliza Charleton.  Their daughter, Sarah Jane, was born at Arrowtown in 1875, but by 1876 the family was living in Dunedin where their son, Thomas William, was born.  This is confirmed by the local Arrowtown press in May 1877 with the announcement that he had been removed from the register as a leasehold qualification voter.  Thomas Cleghorn died in Wanganui in 1917, aged 80.  

From 2013 to 2015, Suffolk Street became a cause célèbre in New Zealand because of local opposition to plans to build community housing in the street.  Headlines such as “Young families battle Arrowtown ‘nimbyism’” appeared in the national media.
 (‘Nimby’ for our foreign readers is an acronym for the phrase “Not In My Back Yard” and is applied to residents who oppose a development built right by where they live, with the connotation that such residents believe that the developments are needed in society, but should be further away.)

In 2013, the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust wanted to build 10 rental houses on a site in Suffolk Street.  Eight of the houses would be rented to eligible households with the other two reserved for senior citizens.  The scheme was aimed at low-income families who would live in the reduced-rent homes for up to five years, with the intention of saving money towards buying their first house in the district with help from the housing trust.  The Government would provide a $1 million grant towards the plan.  The site was then currently occupied by 12 small rental two-bedroom cabins, (nine of these cabins were owned by the Council and the remaining three were privately owned), and the old concrete block changing room of the Arrowtown Rugby Club (the Rugby Club used the football ground on Jack Reid Park with an access road coming off south of Suffolk Street).

Of 263 submissions to the council, the vast majority were against the proposal for reasons such as “we don’t want ... trash renting cheap houses in Arrowtown” and “the land was too valuable for a housing development that would only benefit the few; it should be used for community social use, particularly to improve the existing sporting facilities”.  There was concern that criminals would be attracted to the area since “Arrowtown has a very low crime rate because poor people can’t afford to live here”.  Many stated that they were supportive of affordable housing, but felt it should be on a less prominent site.

However, those groups supporting the affordable housing development in Suffolk
Street accused the opposition of wanting to keep Arrowtown as a village for the rich, and it was felt that “workers such as teachers and their families should be allowed to rent at an affordable rate in the town”.

This controversy continued on a national scale for two years.  Finally, the proposal was given approval and the development was completed in 2015.

Suffolk Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland, North Island: Eden Terrace is an inner city suburb of Auckland.  It is located 2 km south of the city centre, one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, and the second smallest.  Eden Terrace formed a separate district in 1875.  In 1880 a street plan was drawn up showing three roads running north from Victoria Avenue to Newton Road that were given English county names of Suffolk Street, Devon Street, and Sussex Street.  It seems that houses were built in the period 1881 and 1882 since Suffolk Street was being rated by the latter year.  We have no idea why these county names were chosen; none of the other roads in the vicinity were given county names.

The area was massively re-developed when motorway construction began in the late 1970s to connect the Northwestern Motorway to the Auckland city centre.  This resulted in the loss of Sussex Street and both Suffolk and Devon Streets were truncated, becoming cul-de-sacs.  The top part of Suffolk Street was converted into a green open space, named Suffolk Reserve, also known as Victoria Suffolk Playground (see image, right, which shows the view looking north with the open space beside Suffolk Street and the approach road to the North Western Motorway).

Suffolk Street, Phillipstown, Christchurch, South Island: Phillipstown is a small inner suburb of the city of Christchurch.  Suffolk Street was originally named Elizabeth Street, a name that first appears in street directories in 1892.  This is a small street that arose from the subdivisions of the vast Linwood Estate in the late 1880s.  The Linwood Estate with Linwood House was built as the homestead for Joseph Brittan, who as surgeon, newspaper editor, and provincial councillor, was one of the dominant figures in early Christchurch.  The borough of Linwood to the east of Christchurch was incorporated in 1893.  It was a residential borough close enough to the centre of business in Christchurch, yet removed from the incessant noise and turmoil of a city centre.

It was only a matter of time before the borough would be absorbed by the larger city.  This happened in January 1903 when Sydenham, St Albans and Linwood amalgamated with the city of Christchurch to form Greater Christchurch.  After the amalgamation, confusion arose because many street names were duplicated in the various boroughs.  It was, therefore, decided to rename these streets after places in England.  There was already an Elizabeth Street in Sydenham, New Brighton, Waltham and Riccarton but no “Suffolk Street” elsewhere, so in 1904 Elizabeth Street in the former borough of Linwood was renamed Suffolk Street (7th  March 1904).   

There is no record of why Suffolk was chosen.  It would be tempting to credit William Derisley Wood with suggesting the name; however, there is no evidence of his involvement in the matter.  William Derisley Wood (or W D Wood as he was usually known) was born at Great Blakenham in Suffolk, England in 1824.  He was one of the pioneers of Canterbury, having arrived by the Randolph on 16th  December 1850.  W D Wood trained as a miller at his father’s mill at Great Blakenham, and he established the first mill in the Canterbury area.  With William Chisnall, another Suffolk man from Polstead, W D Wood established successful sheep and dairy farming interests.  He later expanded into general mercantile business, exporting grain and flour.  He also served as a Christchurch City Councillor from 1875, and was for many years a member of the Chamber of Commerce.  At all times he was keenly interested in the welfare of Canterbury.  Six of his seven sons were involved in the milling and farming industries of the region.  William Derisley Wood died at Christchurch in September 1904.

Top of Page 

Trinidad and Tobago

Suffolk Road, Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad:  It seems that French immigrants were the first to name the hill overlooking Puerto d’España (Port of Spain) “Belmonte” (beautiful hill).  This was in the period from 1783 to 1801.  French plantation owners (many of them royalists) with their slaves were driven from their estates in Grenada, Martinique and Guadeloupe by the new republican rulers in Paris and the British, who were taking advantage of the chaos by capturing the French islands in the Caribbean. In 1783 the Spanish governor of Trinidad issued a decree which encouraged the settlement of French Catholics on the island, leading to a rapid increase in the town’s population and its geographical extension westwards.

In 1797 Trinidad was taken by the British.  In 1803 the First Commissioner of Trinidad, Colonel William Fullarton, built a country house on “Belmont Hill” to escape the heat and noise around the governor’s official residence in the capital.  After the great fire of 1808 which destroyed Port of Spain, including the governor’s residence, the country house became the official residence of the governors, and Thomas Hislop, the governor at that time, referred to the surrounding area to the northeast of Port of Spain as “Belmont”.  In 1820 a new governor’s residence was chosen elsewhere.  The site of the old country house is now the location of the Hilton, Trinidad’s first international hotel.  

Belmont was initially an area of large coffee and sugar estates, interspersed with smaller cocoa and cotton plantations, with wild animals roaming the steep hillsides.  Col. Edward Warner, who came from Dominica to Trinidad in 1807, purchased the estates just north of the present site of Suffolk Road.  (We will return to this family’s role further below.)  Meanwhile, after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, Britain ended its involvement in the slave trade and began to rescue Africans from slave ships.  Many of these freed slaves were brought to Trinidad, and they settled just south of the plantations in Belmont where they found work on the coffee and sugar estates.  For a while, an area in Belmont became known as Freetown Village, named after these African settlers.
Most of the smaller estates had to be abandoned after the emancipation of the slaves in 1838, when the former labourers turned to find work in the city and shunned the estates.  However, people still had to live somewhere, and soon shacks and settlements began to spring up as estates were divided up by their owners and divided into lots.  These were given to family members or sold to freed slaves who settled in the area and, thus, Belmont was established as the city’s oldest suburb.  Nevertheless, the larger estates, such as those of the Warner family, held out for a bit longer.  Erthig Road is two roads north of Suffolk Road and the Warner estates lay north of the Erthig Road.  In 1860 this part of Belmont was still mostly unoccupied.  There was a sugar factory and an estate manager’s house.  However, lots were sold from 1860 onwards and from 1864 to 1866 much of the present network of narrow, winding lanes that characterise Belmont was in place.

Most of the roads were given their names at a later date, but the main thoroughfare running north to south through Belmont was named Norfolk Street after the home county in England of the governor’s wife.  John Manners-Sutton (1814-77) served as Governor of Trinidad from 1864 to 1866, and this was at the time that the streets of Belmont were being built.  It was quite usual for streets to be named after colonial governors or places associated with them.  Sutton Street in the town of San Fernando in Trinidad was already named after him.  The Manners family is itself among the prestigious noble families of England, being related to the Duke of Rutland (whose surname is Manners).  The association with Norfolk begins with the grandfather of John Manners-Sutton, the Rev. Charles Manners-Sutton who was Bishop of Norwich, 1792 to 1794, and eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury.  (John Manners-Sutton later succeeded to the title of 3rd Viscount Canterbury in 1869.)  The elder sister of John Manners-Sutton married Lord Hastings (the Astley family) whose family home at the time was Burgh Hall, Norfolk, and who later lived at Walsingham in Norfolk.  In 1838 John Manners-Sutton married Georgiana, youngest daughter of Charles Tompson and Juliana Kett of Witchingham Hall, north-west of Norwich, Norfolk.  The mother Juliana Kett was the daughter of Thomas Kett of Seething Hall, south east of Norwich.  The second son of John Manners-Sutton in 1867 also married into the Astley family of Burgh Hall, Norfolk.  So it seems that Norfolk Street owes its name to the close association that the governor had with the landed aristocracy of the county of Norfolk in England.  

Near to the bottom end of Norfolk Street, a cul-de-sac comes off and runs west towards St Anns River.  This is Suffolk Road.  It probably takes its name mainly because of its connection with Norfolk Street, but the association of the Warner family with Suffolk should not be ignored and this may well have played a part in the naming of the cul-de-sac.   

The Warners were the ‘first family’ of the English colonial settlers in the Caribbean, and they were without question the most powerful family in the West Indies.  Sir Thomas Warner (1575- 1649) was born in Parham, Suffolk, England, and as a young man he had served as a captain in the bodyguard of King James I.  Like many young men of that era, he came out to the Caribbean to make his fortune, and settled at St Christopher (St Kitts) in the Leeward Islands in 1624, with settlers chiefly from Suffolk.  Despite initial hostility from the native Caribs and battles with French and Spanish settlers, Thomas Warner achieved his ambition and became the first Lieutenant Governor of the Caribbean islands.  Warner’s sons and grandsons established themselves in the British West Indies: Edward Warner, first governor of Antigua; Col. Philip Warner, also governor of Antigua; Thomas Warner, deputy governor of Dominica, (“Indian Warner”, son of Thomas Warner and a Carib slave woman).  Their plantations and estates spread throughout the islands as British power in the Caribbean grew from its acquisitions in the wars against the French.

Col. Edward Warner (1775-1849), who held estates in Dominica, was a sixth generation direct descendant of Sir Thomas Warner.  In 1807 he brought his family to Trinidad where he purchased land in Belmont.  His brother, Ashton Warner (1780-1830), became Chief Justice of Trinidad.  Edward’s son, Charles Warner (1805-87), was the Attorney-General of Trinidad from 1844 to 1870, and effectively determined government policy on the island during this time.  Among the more prominent children of Charles Warner were: Aucher Warner (1859-1944) who was also Attorney-General of Trinidad from 1918 to 1922, but is probably better known for having captained the first West Indies cricket team in a first class match in the West Indies during the 1896-97 season, and also the first West Indian touring side to England in 1900.  His brother, Sir Pelham Francis (‘Plum’) Warner (1873-1963), achieved even greater international fame as a cricketer.  ‘Plum’  Warner played first-class cricket for Oxford University, Middlesex and England.  He played 15 Test matches from 1899 to 1912, captaining in 10 of them.  He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1904 and 1921, making him one of only two to have received the honour twice (the other is Sir ‘Jack’ Hobbs).  He was the chairman of the England Test selectors for several years, and later became President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).  He was knighted for his services to cricket in 1937.

In 1856 Charles Warner donated two lots of land on Belmont Circular Road to the Anglican Church for the construction of a church and school.  In 1860 four lots next to the site were purchased by the church and St Margaret’s Parish was established.  This really began the break-up of the estates in the northern part of Belmont.  The Warner family was immortalised in the street names of that area: Cadiz Road (the wife of Charles Warner was Ellen Rose Cadiz); Archer Street (which was originally Aucher Street, named after Aucher Warner,); and Pelham Street (after Sir Pelham Warner, the distinguished cricketer mentioned above).  

Belmont emerged early in its development as a suburb of the working class, but it became middle class in the 1880-90s as the black professional families built homes in Belmont.  When Belmont was included in the town limits of Port of Spain in 1899, it already had a culture of its own and a proud middle class that had emerged after Emancipation, comprising public servants, office and store clerks and low income blue collar workers, with a smattering of upper middle income households in the north of Belmont.

Historically, Trinidad was divided into counties.  Saint George was a county in Trinidad and Tobago, occupying the northwestern portion of the island of Trinidad, and Port-of-Spain (then written with hyphens), with Belmont, was in that county.  In 1992 local government was reorganised and the counties disappeared to be replaced by regional corporations and municipalities.  Belmont remained a part of the separate municipality of Port of Spain (now spelt without hyphens), the country’s capital.

Top of Page


Suffolk Street, St John, New Brunswick: During and after the conclusion of the American War of Independence in 1783, some 40,000 supporters of the British fled to the north to escape persecution by their fellow American countrymen.  The 3,000 “Loyalists” who arrived in Saint John in May 1783 were followed by 11,000 more before the year ended. They established two settlements at the river mouth: “Parr Town”, on the east side of the Saint John River, named after the Governor of Nova Scotia, and “Carleton”, on the west side, named after their Commander-in-Chief in New York.  In 1785 the two settlements were incorporated by Royal Charter into the City of Saint John, making it the first incorporated city in British North America (present-day Canada).       

The street plan of Carleton was drawn up by Paul Bedell in 1783.  This was laid out on a simple rectangular grid pattern around two squares, Queen Square and King Square, both squares being laid out in the shape of a Union Jack.  The street that became Suffolk Street ran south to north ending up against the waterfront of the Saint John River.  (The configuration of Suffolk Street is somewhat different today because it has been truncated by the later commercial development of the waterfront and the railway connections to it.)  As building was completed, the colonial administration gave the streets their names at this early date.  There was no pattern to the names given, and these seem to have been randomly selected.  Of the 25 streets within the original town boundary of Carleton, only three had place-names: Lancaster Street, Ludlow Street and Suffolk Street.  

A likely candidate who may have suggested its name is John Coffin (1751-1838).  He was an army officer, businessman, politician, and justice of the peace.  Born into a prosperous mercantile family in Boston, Coffin and his family remained loyal to the British Crown during the American revolution.  John Coffin began his military career at the battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, and retained his links with the military after the war, receiving the rank of full general in 1819.  Following the withdrawal of British troops, he relocated his family from Boston to New Brunswick in 1783.  John Coffin immediately set about establishing himself, using his connections with the governing élite of colonial New Brunswick.  He became one of the loyalist land agents, and obtained an estate of 6,000 acres on the west side of Saint John Harbour.   He was involved in numerous other land transactions and business ventures.  He became a justice of the peace and a judge, and also served as a representative in the legislative assembly for 25 years.  His many contacts gave him much influence in all matters, and it is possible that he suggested “Suffolk” with reference to the English county, but with a hidden reminiscence of the Suffolk County in which his birthplace of Boston was located.  (It would not have been politically expedient to indicate that the street was named after his birthplace at this particular time, since most of the new inhabitants had just been kicked out of that place.)

Suffolk Street, Guelph, Ontario: Guelph was selected as the headquarters of the British development firm “the Canada Company” by its first superintendent John Galt in 1827.  Galt designed the town to resemble a European city centre, complete with squares, broad main streets and narrow side streets, which are still in place today.  The town was named to honour Britain’s royal family, the Hanoverians, whose ancestral family were the Guelphs.  Thus the city later earned the nickname “The Royal City”.  Early street names, however, were given mainly by Samuel Strickland.

Samuel Strickland was born in 1804 at Stow House, Bungay, Suffolk, England.  Colonel Black, a friend of the family who had emigrated to Upper Canada, offered to sponsor and instruct Samuel in pioneer life.  He eagerly accepted the offer and sailed for Canada in 1825.  In 1828 John Galt employed Samuel Strickland as a Canada Company “engineer” and involved him in the development of Guelph, where he managed the company’s stores, kept the labour rolls, and superintended the building of roads and bridges.  The plan of the town was drawn up in 1828 and the present road system in the centre had been surveyed and cleared, but as yet no names had been given.  By 1830 names were in place and, as today, Suffolk Street was a main thoroughfare crossing with Norfolk Street.  The earliest streets were Suffolk, Norfolk, Cork and Dublin, but soon Essex Street and Cambridge Street were among the names.  Although it was an area of British county and town names, Samuel Strickland had obviously given thought to the part of England from where he originated.

Samuel Strickland left the employ of the Canada Company in 1832 and became a prominent landowner, farmer and a leading citizen of Lakefield (now Selwyn) in Ontario, where he died in 1867.  He was also the author of “Twenty-seven years in Canada West” (1853), a practical book on the pioneer life in Canada that became essential reading for newly-arrived immigrants.

The Wellington County Land Registry Office was moved to Guelph in 1840 and was located in the Courthouse, which at the time was in the Suffolk Hotel along Suffolk Street.  However, this was short-lived as the hotel was destroyed by fire in 1841, and not rebuilt.  In 1845 it was stated of Guelph that “many settlers came from Suffolk and Norfolk”.

Suffolk Street has recently given its name to an alcoholic beverage named “Suffolk St Session Ale” (see Beers & Cyders Named ‘Suffolk’  section on the Suffolk Misc. page)

Suffolk Road and East Suffolk Road, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, are directly related to immigrants from the home county in England, and the Suffolk name was in place by 1840.  The full history is covered on the Suffolk, PEI page.

Suffolk Lane, Greater Sudbury, Ontario:  It was almost inevitable that a city called Sudbury should have a street named after the home county of the city’s namesake.  However, Suffolk Lane is very much a narrow, back lane, built in the 1920s just north of one of the main thoroughfares, Kathleen Street.  There does not seem to be any direct connection with Suffolk, England, for it to be given this name.  

However, the city of Sudbury was named after Suffolk, in England, which was the hometown of the wife of the Canadian Pacific Railway commissioner, James Worthington.  The area was a remote logging camp when the westward-bound Canadian Pacific Railway reached it in 1883.  The halt needed a name and the construction superintendent James Worthington named it Sudbury after his wife’s birthplace.  Sudbury was incorporated as a town in 1893.  Records show the marriage in Toronto of a James Worthington to Caroline Frances, ‘second daughter of John Hitchcock, Esq. of Bollington, Suffolk, England.’  There is no such place as ‘Bollington’ in Suffolk but Ballingdon is the southernmost part of Sudbury lying across the River Stour.  The census of 1861 records John Hitchcock and his wife Caroline living there, and in the 1851 census they had a daughter Caroline, born c.1833.  The daughter, Caroline, came out to Canada in 1858 and was married in 1859.

Suffolk Avenue, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia: Coquitlam, a First Nations name meaning “salmon”, was mostly farmland.  However, in 1911 when the Canadian Pacific Railway moved its freight terminus from Vancouver to “Westminster Junction”, a spur line was built to the Fraser River where workshops and yards were established.  This was named Port Coquitlam in 1912, and it was incorporated as a municipality in March 1913.
Visualising a great port, promoters and speculators rushed in; among them was John Charles Thorn, born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England, in 1881.  He emigrated to Canada in 1902 and became a financial agent and broker.  In 1912 he established J. C.  Thorn & Company, a real estate firm in Vancouver, British Columbia.  His firm won the contract to develop roads and houses for Coquitlam City Lands Ltd, which hoped to attract the better paid managers of the Canadian Pacific Railway to large, impressive homes overlooking the railyards to the south.  A long residential road became one of the first in the new community, and the developer named it Suffolk Avenue after his home county in England.  Today, three of the houses in that road have been granted conservation status as the oldest houses in Port Coquitlam, with unique features of the Dutch Colonial style of that period.

Within a couple of years, Europe was engulfed in World War I.  John Thorn was one of the first to volunteer for service and joined the 7th Battalion (1st British Columbia), Canadian Expeditionary Force, created in September 1914.  He was captured at Ypres in April 1915 and, as a POW, made several attempts to escape.  However, he did not taste freedom again until the end of the war in 1918.  Although he returned to Vancouver, he immediately moved to Los Angeles and later became an American citizen.  He wrote a best-selling book of his war-time experience entitled “Three Years a prisoner in Germany”.  John Charles Thorn died in 1947.

Suffolk Street Southwest, Calgary, Alberta: The derivation of this name is different in that it has no direct connection with any other “Suffolk” location, and the district where it is situated is set among numbered streets.  It is in the neighbourhood of Sunalta, where building began in 1909 in the southwest of Calgary, just west of downtown (the central district).  The area was established as a residential community in 1912 with its name derived from “SUNny ALberTA”.  

As they were in “Sunalta”, it was decided that all the streets in this community should begin with the letter ‘S’, rather than the usual numbering system (23rd Street, 15th Avenue, etc.) that is found elsewhere in Calgary, hence: Sunset Avenue, State Road, Summit Street, Salem Avenue, Scotland Street, Sonora Avenue, Scarboro Avenue, Superior Avenue, Shelbourne Street, Sudbury Avenue, Sharon Avenue and Suffolk Street.

Suffolk Road, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia:  Salt Spring Island is located in the Strait of Georgia between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island.  (In 1910 the name was changed to Saltspring Island by the Geographic Board of Canada, but local usage prefers two words.)  Its name was given by the Hudson’s Bay Company in the early 1800s because of the springs of brine located on the island’s north end.  It is the largest and most populated of the Gulf Islands.  Suffolk Road is situated in the northern part of the island at the southeast side of St Mary’s Lake, about three kilometres from the settlement of Ganges which is on the east coast.  It is at an isolated location comprising a couple of farms and a vacation cottage by the lake.

It was not until 1857 that Salt Spring Island became the first of the Gulf Islands to be occupied by non aboriginal people.  What was unusual at the time was the large proportion of Black families who settled there.  Nine American Blacks who had purchased their freedom from slavery settled on the west coast at Vesuvius Bay, which is just west of the Suffolk Road neighbourhood.  In 1858 Blacks from California were invited by the governor of British Columbia, James Douglas (himself of mixed race), to take up land in the new colony.  In the United States, many Blacks were denied rights such as citizenship, suffrage and the right to homestead land, and they saw British Columbia as a place of freedom where they had the same rights as everyone else.  

Most of the Black population settled in the northern part of the island, and the first pre-emption of lands around what later became Suffolk Road was to Black families.  (“Pre-emption” was a method of acquiring Crown land by claiming it for settlement and using it for agricultural purposes to “improve” the land.  Once a certificate of improvement had been obtained, the land could be purchased at a discount rate or at no further charge.)  By 1866, about fifteen Black families were settled on the northern end of the island, along with fifteen White families. The absence of racial problems on the island was noted; the first teacher was a Black and one of the first island constables was also Black.  It was said that “most of the settlers were far too busy working their lands to be bigoted; prejudice was a luxury that they could not afford to indulge in.”  Nevertheless Blacks and Whites seldom married each other.  In 1895 it was estimated that of a total population of 450 people, 40 were Black, about the same number as there were in 1862.  The numbers continued to dwindle as the younger Black people moved away to the big cities for work.  Today there are only a few descendants of the original Black families on Salt Spring Island.
Stark’s Road joins North End Road near to Suffolk Road.  It is named after Sylvia Stark (1839-1945), a freed slave, who arrived with her husband in 1860.  Sylvia Stark was a true pioneer, living in an area that was then a wilderness, isolated from other settlers. Her first home was an unfinished log cabin.  Sylvia became a living legend as she lived to be 106 years of age.  In her later years, people would often gather to hear her tell stories of the days of slavery, and the early pioneering experience on the island.

Most of the roads in the interior did not have names during this early period.  Suffolk Road only seems to have acquired its name after the First World War.  It is at a fairly isolated part of the island with few other roads around, so there is no estate providing roads with an “English county theme”.  At first glance, there does not appear to be much connection with the English county.  However, the name could have come to prominence at this time from the coincidence of “Suffolk” becoming noticed on the island from two sources, both associated with the county.

The settlement of Ganges is located in the middle of Salt Spring Island, and it is the island’s commercial and service centre.  To be given the name of a river in India seems more unlikely than a road being given the name Suffolk.  However, it is named after the British naval ship HMS Ganges.  The HMS Ganges was built in Bombay, India, and launched in 1821.  She was an 84 gun second rate vessel, and was the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir R. L. Baynes in the Pacific region from 1857 to 1861.  In particular, HMS Ganges was in the Georgia Strait in 1859 and 1860 when the new settlement was being established by the immigrants from California.

HMS Ganges is notable for being the last sailing ship of the Royal Navy to serve as a flagship.  She then became a boys’ training establishment in 1865, and was based alternately in Falmouth, Harwich (from 1899) and Shotley in Suffolk, England (from 1905).  In 1906 the ship was renamed and moved elsewhere; she was finally broken up in 1930.  However, the name HMS Ganges lived on as a shore-based Royal Naval Training Establishment at Shotley in Suffolk.  It seems significant that a few years later Suffolk Road acquired its name, possibly from the association between the main settlement on the island, Ganges, and the location of its namesake in Suffolk.  

A second possible source for the name of Suffolk Road comes from the arrival on Salt Spring Island in 1913 of the Johnson family.  Hugh Johnson (1868-1927) and his wife, Ada (1878-1944), were both born in the Lowestoft area in Suffolk, England.  It is not known if they were involved in the naming of the road, either by suggestion or by direct ownership of property there, but they were later living at Ganges, and both died and are buried there.  Their arrival on the island and the establishment of the Ganges naval school at Suffolk, all within a few years of each other, were very opportune.   

Suffolk Road also gave its name to a particular soil profile found in British Columbia (see Suffolk Soil section on the Suffolk Misc. page).

Impasse Suffolk, Namur, and Impasse du Lac Suffolk, Boileau: Two roads in Quebec that are only indirectly named after Suffolk, England.  These two roads lead to Lac Suffolk.  All these “Suffolk” names derive from the municipality of St Émile-de-Suffolk.  (For full history see St-Émile-de-Suffolk, QC page.) 

Please sign the Guestbook

Top of Page

Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines

In colonial times roads were built under the auspices of the colonial government.  Although local labour was used, the management and supervisory staff were invariable British expatriates.  The roads were usually given names that reminded the expatriates of “home” or they were named after British royalty, colonial governors, military leaders and politicians.  When the British colonies were given their independence, it was not long before most of the new governments wished to erase this reminder of their colonial past and they changed the old names, replacing them with local native names or those of the “freedom fighters” who had fought for this independence.

However, the Chinese in Hong Kong and Singapore took a more practical approach and retained many street names with colonial origins.  It was said that “changing a road name is not an easy thing.  People living along the road will have to change their addresses, change their identity cards, business cards, and new maps will have to be issued.  It just causes a lot of inconvenience.  And the other thing is, why deny history?”

Hong Kong

Suffolk Road, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon: Kowloon Tong was originally a small village (‘Tong’ means ‘a pond’ which was once here but long gone).  In the 1920s, the Hong Kong Government decided to develop the land east of Kowloon Tong on both sides of the Kowloon-Canton Railway into a low density residential area based on the British model.  

Suffolk Road runs west from Waterloo Road, one of the principal thoroughfares of Hong Kong.  Waterloo Road was named to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, and the stretch of road through Kowloon Tong was built in 1922 as part of the plans to develop the area.  Suffolk Road joins To Fuk Road at its west end, and Tim Fuk Road comes off south to connect with Norfolk Road. To Fuk Road means “Many blessings road” and Tim Fuk Road means “Add blessings road”.

Kowloon Tong is one of the territory’s oldest housing estates, construction beginning in 1922 and lasting into the 1930s.  It was part of the Garden City movement initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom.  Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities in healthy environments with plenty of open green spaces, epitomised by Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City in the UK.  
The scheme was not proposed by the government, but by British businessman, Charles Montague Ede, a member of the Executive Council, and a Portuguese businessman, Francisco Soares.  They gathered together a group of British investors to form the “Kowloon Tong and New Territories Development Company” to develop Kowloon Tong as a residential neighbourhood. The project was finally approved by the Hong Kong government in 1922. It was to be a planned community with 250 residences and gardens with no commercial buildings. As mainly an English venture, the streets were named after English counties with no historical significance to the area; all four eastern counties are represented: Cambridge Road, Norfolk Road, Suffolk Road and Essex Crescent.  Because of financial difficulties caused by the 1925-26 general strike in Hong Kong the company went bankrupt. The development was rescued by the Hong Kong entrepreneur, Sir Robert Hotung, but the English street names were retained and still exist today.

The existing layout and the names of streets in Kowloon Tong still retain the original Garden City concept.  The area is well-planned, with broad roads and streets. It soon established itself as an exclusive area for the privileged British colonial officials, interspersed with the residences of many wealthy European businessmen and Chinese entrepreneurs. However, the original residences in Suffolk Road have given way to modern buildings mainly given over to educational, nursery and kindergarten establishments, with a couple of low level office blocks.

Suffolk Road itself is best known today for the Kowloon Tong Suffolk Road Public Transport Interchange.  This is a station on the Kwun Tong Line (opened in 1979) and the East Rail Line (opened in 1982).  The station not only serves Kowloon Tong and its vicinity, but it is also one of the two interchange stations for the East Rail Line, leading up to the New Territories and entry point to mainland China.  Therefore, it is one of the busiest stations in the system.  

Kowloon Tong is remembered as the location of martial artist Bruce Lee’s death in 1973.  Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  His father was Han Chinese, and his mother, Grace Ho, was half-Chinese and half-Caucasian.  Grace Ho was the niece of Sir Robert Ho-tung.  Lee and his parents returned to Hong Kong when he was three months old.


Suffolk Road and Suffolk Walk, Singapore:  When the British arrived in Singapore in 1819, there already existed 20 gambier plantations, run by the Chinese and Malays.  Gambier is an extract derived from the leaves of a climbing shrub.   It was initially used as medicine and chewed with betel.  Local Chinese also used gambier to tan hides.  The land that Suffolk Road & Walk now occupy was thus soon given over to plantations and nurseries, the only viable crops being gambier and black pepper because of unsuitable soil and environmental conditions.

The future roads would also have been adjacent to the Balestier Estate.  This was a 1,000 acre sugar-cane and cotton plantation, with a plant to manufacture sugar and rum, established in about 1837 by Joseph Balestier, the first American consul in Singapore.  His wife, Maria Revere Balestier, was the daughter of Paul Revere (see Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA page).  Balestier’s plantation was not very successful because of British import duty on Singapore-grown sugar.  This failure and the deaths of his son and wife broke the health of Balestier; he therefore sold the estate and returned to the United States in 1848.  Balestier Road, which joins Thomson Road further to the north of Suffolk Road, was named after him.

Suffolk Road & Walk are bound up with the development of Thomson Road.  They are cul-de-sacs that come off the western side of Thomson Road, where it begins at a major road junction with Keng Lee Road, Kampong Java Road, Cavenagh Road and Norfolk Road.  Thompson Road leads northwards through the Novena residential area and, before the Central Expressway was built in the 1980s, it continued on as the main arterial road linking Singapore’s central business district with the northern part of the country.  As a highway, it was first cut as a rough track in the 1840s to provide a route to the mangrove swamps which were to be drained for rubber plantations.  It was first known as Seletar Road because it led to the Malay settlement of that name.  It was given the name Thomson Road soon after 1853 in appreciation of the work undertaken by John Thomson.  He was a Scotsman who was the Government Surveyor and Chief Engineer from 1841 to 1853, and who helped build many roads into the interior of the island, including the road that bears his name, which he completed in 1852-1853.

Along the Thomson Road were nutmeg, gambier, coconut and fruit plantations. The peak of Singapore’s gambier trade was in the 1830s through to the 1850s, driven by demand from the British dyeing and leather tanning industries.  The nutmeg industry in Singapore took off at the same time.  By 1848 there were 58 nutmeg plantations in Singapore, but by 1866 there was not a single nutmeg plantation left because of a blight that had wiped them out.  In just thirty years the soil had become exhausted and the infertile soil could no longer sustain further growth of most of these plants.  The plantations were then divided into small plots and sold to property developers.  By the 1880s, large bungalows had been built along the Thomson Road for the wealthier residents.  In between the bungalows, many cottage industries were also set up by pioneering immigrants.

The land immediately to the east and south of the Thomson Road junction, mentioned above, was not opened up for residential development until after 1902.  The roads in that area were all named after English counties and towns, such as Bristol Road, Cambridge Road, Dorset Road, Rutland Road, Norfolk Road, etc.  As a consequence, this district became known as “Little England”.  On 11 June 1929 the cul-de-sac, built off Thomson Road opposite Norfolk Road, was named Suffolk Road to indicate the relationship between these two counties in England.  The next road further north on the other side of Thomson Road was named Essex Road for the same reason.  Developers went on to construct landed properties in “Little England” through to the 1930s with bungalows, villas and spacious houses.  Generally, it was the British civil servants and colonial staff who lived in these “county roads” because the names reminded them of their home country.  However, the residences were also occupied by the wealthier Eurasians and Chinese entrepreneurs.  Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of independent Singapore, lived as a boy at 28 Norfolk Road.

A major change between 1969 and 1980 was the widening of Thomson Road into a dual carriageway when residences on the west side lost their valuable frontages.  It was then that they began to be converted into condominiums (apartments).  However, the change that made the greatest difference to Suffolk Road & Walk was in 1989.  The flyover of the Central Expressway completed that year cut off Suffolk Road & Walk,  Essex Road and Derbyshire Road from “Little England”.  This effectively detached them from the other “county roads” and the type of residential buildings that then existed in “Little England” with its more genteel character.  This freed up the land either side of Thomson Road for property developers to move in to take advantage of the close proximity to the city centre of Suffolk Road & Walk to provide accommodation for those who were unable to afford the high cost of property prices elsewhere.  The earlier apartment blocks and tenements were torn down in the 2000s to be replaced by high-rise condominiums, as illustrated below.

Suffolk Road: Tower blocks are located on both sides of the road.  There was originally Suffolk Apartments (No. 2 Suffolk Road), but this was demolished in 2011 and replaced by the Lucida, a 25 storey apartment block of 62 units finished later that year. Subsequent to the demolition, a terraced residence at No. 4 Suffolk Road was renamed Suffolk Apartment. The Spinnaker, a 15 storey apartment block of 36 units, completed in 2000.  The Ten @ Suffolk a 15 storey apartment block of 37 units, completed in 2006, and the Suffolk Premier, a 15 storey apartment block of 41 units, completed in 2007. All apartment blocks have swimming pools, gyms and playgrounds.  

Suffolk Walk:  This cul-de-sac is just north of and on the same side as Suffolk Road. It was built in 1955 when the Thomson Road Baptist Church moved here and was constructed on the south side of this cul-de-sac.  The north side is taken up by the Viva Condominium, built in 2012-13, comprising four tower blocks, (30 floors, 235 units).           

The two roads are in the district of Novena which takes its name from the famous Novena Catholic Church, founded in 1935, along Thomson Road, just a short way north of Suffolk Road.  Its proper name is the Church of Saint Alphonsus, but it gets its colloquial name from the novena prayer devotion for which this church is famous. A novena (from Latin Novem, meaning Nine) is an act of Roman Catholic devotion consisting of private or public prayers repeated for nine successive days in the belief of obtaining special intercessory graces. The Saturday novena services usually attract more people than the normal Sunday Mass services, and worshippers come from all parts of Singapore.


Suffolk, Northwood Village, Hacienda Royale, Sindalan, San Fernando, Pampanga, Central Luzon: Although there was no British presence in the Philippines to justify the inclusion of this street in our review, the very fact that it exists at all in this Far Eastern country seems to require an explanation.  It is quite simple really.  The Philippines was under the sovereignty of the United States from 1898 to 1946, and the American influence is still very strong in that country.

The developer has chosen to name some of the streets after a particular part of the United States.  This is the area known as “Hampton Roads” in the eastern portion of the State of Virginia where the tidal part of the James River meets the Atlantic Ocean.  In the Northwood Village development between two main thoroughfares there are five residential streets in a row which are named: Virginia, Hampton, Suffolk, Cedar Point, and Portsmouth.  (There is no further designation such as “avenue”, “road”, etc.)  Hampton and Portsmouth are major cities either side of the entrance from the Atlantic, Cedar Point is located on the James River at its junction with the Nansemond River, and Suffolk refers to the City of Suffolk around the Nansemond River (see Suffolk, Virginia, USA page).  It seems that someone in the Philippines may have had connections with this part of the USA, possibly memories of a vacation or student exchange.

The residential development itself is recent, being constructed since 2010 as part of the government’s policy of encouraging urban expansion in response to the needs to sustain the growing population of the capital city.  This area has been part of the National Capital Region (Metropolitan Manila) since 1995.  The roads are part of the Northwood Village neighbourhood, a 5 hectare residential estate in the subdivision of Hacienda Royale.  The latter is a 33 hectare community within a perimeter fence and security gates on entrances to individual neighbourhoods, complete with amenities such as a club-house and parks.  This in turn is in Sindalan which  is a barangay (called barrio in Spanish), the smallest administrative division in the Philippines, and it is the native Filipino term for a village or district.  The English equivalent would be a “suburb”.  The barangay is in San Fernando City which is in the Province of Pampanga on the island of Luzon.

Top of Page 

South Africa

Very little can be found on the naming of roads in South Africa.  Of the roads named “Suffolk” we can only be certain of the origin of the one in Cape Saint Francis.  We provide the background for two other roads, but cannot identify the exact reason for their naming.  Most of the twelve roads named “Suffolk” in South Africa are found on residential estates built in the 20th century, four of the twelve being on estates with a ‘county theme’ where they are named after counties and towns in the United Kingdom.

Another factor that is occurring in South Africa in the 21st century is the renaming of roads to eliminate ‘colonial’ names and replace them with names reflecting anti Apartheid freedom fighters or indigenous (African) place-names, so it is likely that some, if not all, of the roads named “Suffolk” will eventually disappear.

Suffolk Lane, Cape Saint Francis, Eastern Cape Province: The indigenous African San and Khoikhoi people lived here before the European presence in South Africa.  However, it was in 1575 that the Portuguese navigator, Manuel de Mesquita Perestrelo, became the first European to explore this coastline and named the bay and headland after St Francis of Assisi.  The lighthouse, called Cape Saint Francis Lighthouse, was built in 1878 at this point to warn ships of the dangerous reefs that stretch more than a kilometre out to sea.  It is the tallest masonry tower on the South African coast standing at a height of 27.75 metres (91 ft).

In 1954 John Booysen, a farmer in the semi-desert region of the Karoo, had grown tired of the constant droughts, so he sold up and purchased a farm in this vicinity.  The farm covered an area which included Cape Saint Francis and lighthouse point.  Booysen built seven shacks to hire out to the fishermen that visited the area.  He also built a road through his farm to the lighthouse.  Since this area was already known as Cape Saint Francis, the small fishing village that began to grow up here took that name as well.  At the same time in 1954 the land around the bay was bought by Leighton Hulett and he established a fishing camp in this isolated paradise.  A small township of 51 plots was laid out in 1956 and at that stage it was going to be called Cape Saint Francis.  The local authority was not happy with two townships having the same name and, after a court case over the matter, the area developed by Leighton Hulett was required to change its name.  Following a public referendum in 1979 the name of his township was officially changed to Saint Francis Bay.  The two townships are contiguous.  

Most of the streets in the present village of Cape Saint Francis are named after shipwrecks (name of ship and date of shipwreck in brackets): The Hope Crescent (The Hope 1840), La Eagle Road (La Eagle 1840), Queen of the West Boulevard (Queen of the West 1850), Osprey Street (Osprey 1853), Lady Heal Lane (Lady Heal 1859), Niagara Street (Niagara 1870), Suffolk Lane (Suffolk 1900), Lingenfjord Road (Lingenfjord 1938), President Reitz Road (President Reitz 1947), Panaghia Street (Panagia-F 1970s).

Suffolk Lane, between Panaghia Street and Niagara Street, takes its name from the Suffolk which ran aground 20 miles to the west of Cape Saint Francis on 23 September 1900 (see Suffolk - 1899 on Ships Named Suffolk page).

Suffolk Road, Waterkant, Cape Town, Western Cape Province: Suffolk Road today is a dockside cul de sac that comes off Port Road, opposite the Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town.  It is non-residential, being an access road to two large warehouses and their car parks.  In the 19th century the area where Suffolk Road is now found was scrubland outside the limits of Cape Town.  The road was built as part of the dockside development at the beginning of the 20th century.  

The first harbour construction in Cape Town was a jetty built in 1654.  Ships all anchored in the bay, and goods and passengers were transferred to and from the shore by smaller vessels.  Table Bay is notorious for violent storms to the extent that eventually it was closed during the winter months.  A storm in 1858 saw 30 ships blown ashore and wrecked, with huge loss of life.  Lloyd’s of London declined all further insurance on ships in Table Bay during winter, resulting in the British Colonial Government starting the construction in 1860 of the first safe harbour.  The Alfred Basin, named after the second son of Queen Victoria, providing shelter for shipping, was completed ten years later in 1870.  

However, almost immediately Albert Basin was too small for the growing size of ships, with steam ships having replaced sail.  This problem stifled the planned development of the immediate hinterland behind the dock.  With the discovery of diamonds and gold in South Africa, there was a need to increase the capacity of the docks at Cape Town.  Thus, in 1900, work begun on a new breakwater which would protect an area of 27 km2 on the seaward side of Albert Basin.  In 1905 work was completed and Victoria Basin was opened.

In 1891 Suffolk Road did not exist.  What was to become Suffolk Road is shown as a planned road on scrubland, but not yet named.  The present Ebenezer Road and Bennett Street, then adjacent to Suffolk Road, were in existence and named.  The lack of adequate harbour capacity had delayed the development of the immediate hinterland, but in 1900 work on the plan was resumed.  Completion of the road development coincided with the shipwreck of the Suffolk, so it appears that Suffolk Road may have been named after the shipwreck in 1900.  

Although the Victoria and Alfred Basins became the centre for Cape Town’s fishing industry and small scale ship repair activities during the 1960s, the area became relatively isolated because shipping technology demanded larger facilities and new harbour expansion was established further along Table Bay.  The port hinterland became derelict and underutilised during the 1970s.  Suffolk Road used to join Ebenezer Road, but was now isolated by dual carriageways built in the 1970s (Helen Suzman Boulevard Freeway) and it became a run-down backwater and wasteland.    

A valuable land asset had to be converted to alternative uses in order to generate value and income.  In 1988 the South African Government approved a plan that proposed to redevelop the old harbour as a tourist and commercial centre to recreate the city’s Victorian heritage.  The historic Victoria and Alfred Basins, the original Cape Town harbour, now house the world famous Cape Town Waterfront (Waterkant) of which Suffolk Road is an integral part.  It has been redeveloped as a mixed-use area focusing on retail, tourism and residential waterfront development with the continuing operation of a working harbour.  This is still used by smaller commercial vessels, fishing and pleasure boats.

Suffolk Road, Berea, KuGompo (formerly East London), Eastern Cape Province: Although it is not recorded how this Suffolk Road got its name, it may well be related to the original name of the municipality in which it was located.  However, that municipality was not East London.    

In 1836 a survey was made of the Buffalo River mouth by John Rex and Capt. John Bailie of the Royal Navy.  Their report was positive and the area on the west bank of the river was named Port Rex.  John Bailie, who is usually credited with the founding of East London, was the first white settler to acquire land and build a house in 1837 on the east bank of the river.  However, it was not until 1848 that the territory was annexed as British Kaffraria and the port was renamed “London”.  The nucleus of the settlement was on the west bank of the Buffalo River.  It was not until later, when it was annexed to the Cape Colony in 1866, that it was named “East London”. From 21 September 2021 it was renamed “KuGompo”,  the Xhosa name for the place known as Cove Rock in the city.

It was originally hoped to entice retired British soldiers to settle the territory on the eastern side of the river, but few were interested.  The British government then persuaded a German volunteer force in the British Army to settle on the eastern bank of the Buffalo River which had seen very little development until then.  In 1857 the German soldiers were given 10-acre plots stretched along the ridge (called a berea in the native language) on the southwestern side of the Nahoon River which was 12 km (7 miles) to the north of East London.  Many of the settlements were given German names, but two villages were created which were given English names.  One of them was Cambridge, named after the Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces, 1856 to 1895.

It was probably inevitable that a place named Cambridge would have streets named after the other three eastern counties of England.  As well as Suffolk Road, a Norfolk Road and Essex Road are also to be found in Cambridge, as are other county roads.  None of the three “eastern county” roads are in proximity to each other, and they are all in different districts.

Another association with Suffolk is that John Gordon Sprigg (1830-1913), four times Prime Minister of Cape Colony in 1878-81, 1886-90, 1896-98 and 1900-04 was the Member of Parliament for East London.  He was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, and attended Ipswich School before emigrating to East London in 1858 (see Ipswich, England page on  There is a Sprigg Street in Cambridge. (See also Suffolk Farm, KuGompu (formerly  East London) in the Suffolk in South Africa section on the Misc. page.)

When the East London Municipality was formed in 1873, Cambridge was not included.  Instead, it formed its own Village Management Board in 1882 and became an independent municipality in 1902, incorporating the area that today marks the suburbs of Berea, Nahoon, Stirling and Vincent.  An attempt in 1914 to bring Cambridge into the East London Municipality failed and it would wait until as late as 1942 before the two municipalities were united.  From being an agricultural village for quite a long time, Cambridge was reduced to just another residential suburb of East London, along with Berea (in which Suffolk Road is located).

Top of Page