Named for Saint Cliftas, an Albigensian friar famed far and wide for both his pacifism and the dreadful (and the usually terminal) fates that God visited upon his persecutors, Clifton Hill is perhaps best known today as the junction between the South Morang and Hurstbridge railway lines, which serve the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
Ironically, many of the stations further out on those lines were actually built prior to the construction of Clifton Hill station, which reflects its comparative lack of settlement in that era. In fact, aside from the monastery of St Cliftas – which was specifically built there due to the comparative isolation of the site – there was very little settlement there until the 1890’s.
The reasons for this go back to the truth behind the stories of St Clifta. Clifta was no fool. He believed in God, and the manifestation of God’s will in this world, but he also believed that men were the tools of God’s will. And since it was obviously God’s will that he, Clifta, have as few enemies as possible, he was not above taking matters into his own hands to ensure that this happened. St Clifta remains one of the very small number of serial killers ever canonized by the Catholic Church (although he was stripped of this honour at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960’s).
Although Clifton Hill today is one of the most densely occupied sections of Melbourne, the tensions between pacifism and murder addiction remain an intrinsic part of its nature – and a contributing factor, no doubt, to the failure of the Ritual of the Seven Hills in Melbourne.
Suburbs near Clifton Hill: