Flemington

Flemington has a long history as a garden suburb. From the days when the earliest settlers traveled up the Saltwater River (what we call the Maribyrnong today), they found a pleasant bend in the river overflowing with native blossoms.

Naturally, they ripped them all out and replaced them with more familiar and proper British flowers, and spent a bit of time reclaiming the floodplain on the river’s northern bank to turn it into a racetrack. (A proud and aristocratic tradition that is today commemorated by the exorbitant prices charged for membership in the racing club that formed there.)

The area is not, despite what you may have heard, the birthplace of the lamington. But lamingtons were important in its naming. In the early years of the area, when the first Spring Racing Carnival was held at the racetracks here, in Williamstown and in Croxton, the process of clearing out the native flora was not yet completed, and it would spring back in full bloom when the first suns of spring kissed the last rains of winter each year. To those unfamiliar with the area, the vast amounts of distinctly unfamiliar pollens launched into the air could cause some olfactory distress. One particularly savage distress occurred when the visiting Governor of Queensland was attempting to eat a lamington, rendering the innocent sponge quite, quite inedible.

Suburbs near Flemington: