Broadmeadows – originally The Broad Meadows – was a wide, flat plain to the north of Glenroy, owned by William F. Broad and the site of his attempts to turn clover into a cash crop. This quixotic mission was par for the course with Broad, whose Irish mother had filled his head with superstitions regarding leprechauns, pucas and cluricaunes. Broad (who bid fair to be a cluricaune himself, such was his fondness for a good ale, or any other kind of ale) would happily tell anyone who asked that he had met a leprechaun in his fields one day, who had advised him to grow four-leafed clovers in abundance.
While Broad’s story did tend to change details when he was in his cups (i.e. when he was awake), regarding such details as when and where this visitation occurred, and what the leprechaun had looked like, there is no reason at all to believe the claims of Timothy Kelly, who claimed after his father Richard’s death that the old man had dressed him a green pixie costume one day and given him a script to memorise and read out to Broad. While most conventional histories accept the Kelly account, others point to details that throw doubt upon it. For example, why did the leprechaun claim (in the 19th century) to have relatives in Cottingley, England? Why did he give his name as Harvey the Procrastinator? And could even Richard Kelly’s hatred of Glen Hollister lead him to enlist his own innocent son in a scheme to drive one of Hollister’s neighbours to insanity (Broad needed no driving to drink)?
Unspurprisingly, William Broad’s plans failed, largely due to the fact that the clover he planted was of a kind that acted like catnip upon the native fauna, especially the echidnas. The Broad Meadows were later bi-sected by a railway line, which prompted Broad to sell off the lands to the west of the line, but in truth, the area had largely reverted to a dusty plain by that time, looking more like something one might more reasonably expect to see in the outback of Queensland than the outskirts of Melbourne. Broad eventually committed suicide in despair over his mounting debts, leaving the land to revert to the Crown. Ironically, the Australian military had planned to purchase a large portion of his remaining lands for use as a training facility, which would have paid Broad enough to get back in the black. After his death, they got it gratis instead.
Suburbs near Broadmeadows:
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