Orrong Road

Orrong Road runs along the side of the suburbs of Lathlain, Carlisle and Welshpool, and forms the border of that side of the Town of Victoria Park.
This four-lane dual carriage way road is a major arterial road, connecting many parts of metropolitan Perth and allowing easy access to the Airport and CBD among other places. It’s tree-lined central median was planted with trees in the late 1980’s early 1990s when the road underwent construction as Graham Farmer Freeway was also being constructed.

Orrong road was gazetted in 1937 and was made from five original streets: Hawkstone Street, Prospect Road, Burswood Avenue, Nichalls Avenue and Wickalls Avenue. It was named after a similar styled access road in Melbourne, but the name itself stretches back to the mid-19th Century.
“The area bounded by Orrong Road, Malvern Road, Kooyong Road and Toorak Road [Melbourne] sold at the sale of Crown Land on 27th June 1849 and became the site of several significant mansion developments. Lots 27 and 28 were purchased by James Jackson, who was later to build Toorak House on the north side of Toorak Road. Lot 28 included 55 acres between Irving Road and Clendon Road.
“In 1852 Alfred Ross, a merchant, purchased lots 28 and 29. Kearney’s map of 1855 shows Orrong, the first house to be built in the area, located midway between Gardiners Creek Road (Toorak Road) and Commercial Road (Malvern Road), with its entrance drive on the south-east corner of Gardiners Creek and Orrong Roads.
“Orrong’s large estate was gradually subdivided and by 1890, John Horsfall had transformed the house, by then on 2 acres, into a forty-roomed mansion. Toorak was by this time considered the ‘vice-regal district’ and the proximity to Toorak House, Victoria’s first Government House, and the undulating land, attracted Melbourne’s wealthy families, including pastoralists, merchants, military officers and professionals. As the 1895 MMBW Plan indicates, the area was dominated by mansions, such as Orrong, Mandeville Hall, Norla, Coonac and Ottowa.

“Although Clendon and Irving Roads retain their original form, re-subdivision created a number of east-west roads linking these earlier roads. Grant Avenue is the result of the subdivision of Orrong’s much reduced, although still large estate. The mansion remained for some years, standing midway along Grant Avenue” (1).
Sadly no photographs or drawings of Orrong House have been discovered. There is a photograph from circa 1875 that shows four mansion houses situated in Toorak, with Orrong Road in front, but Orrong House is not in the photograph.

The origin of the word “Orrong” before the mansion house circa 1850’s, is a mystery however. There is speculation that the word may have come from the Woi Wurrung language word “Wurrung” but there is no evidence to support this.
(1) Thank you to Janet, the Local History Librarian at Stonnington History Centre, Stonnington Library and Information Service, Malvern, Victoria, for her generous assistance in sharing the history of Orrong Road in Melbourne.
Orrong Road, [runs between multiple suburbs including], Lathlain, Rivervale, Carlisle, Belmont and Welshpool
Former name: Five previous streets, including Hawkstone Street, Carlisle
Official date of naming: 14 September 1937
Naming method: Approved by the Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia in Executive Council, corr. 10860/06 under Section 10 of The Lands Act 1933-1934. Published in the Government Gazette of Western Australia, No. 44, Friday 17 September 1937, pp. 1565-1566.
Read the Government Gazette, 17 September 1937, pp. 1557 & 1565-1566.