Avondale Heights

Avondale Heights is all that remains of the much larger area once known as Avondale, named in tribute to the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. It was originally settled by the Batman party in 1836, a few months after their initial arrival in Melbourne. The area called Avondale extended a considerable distance to the south and west of the current Avondale Heights.

A thoughtful observer might notice that modern day Avondale Heights consists primarily of a stretch of the eastern bank of the Maribyrnong River, a notably low-lying area. Based on that, they might well wonder how the area came to be called a Heights. But if the name is no longer accurate, this is not to say that it never was. In truth, the area that still holds the name of Avondale was the highest part of old Avondale when the area was first cleared and settled in the late 1830s.

But the settlers had reckoned without the curse laid upon Shakespearian geography. Like the seacoast of Bohemia centuries before it, in 1851 Avondale was buried under many millions of tonnes of lava and soil, and lost forever to mortals. The families that had settled the region lived mostly on the western side of the Maribyrnong, and perished in the calamity. The eastern banks were orphaned, and the name of Avondale Heights today makes little sense, but it remains in any case, stubbornly defying the dramaturgical maledictions dogging the works of the world’s best known playwright.

Suburbs near Avondale Heights: