Lalor is a relatively young suburb as Melbourne goes. Until 1970, it was little more than a northward extension of Thomastown, but in that year, rock’n’roll almost came to what is now Lalor. In that year, the organizers of what would become the Sunbury Pop Festival were still looking for a site for their planned concert series, and were scouring the outer suburbs of the metropolis in an attempt to find one.

They found a number of candidates, and the empty paddocks between Thomastown and Epping were one of the frontrunners. But it was feared that no one would find a thing called the Thomastown Pop Festival attractive, and so it was decided that the area (which had already acquired a few evidences of civilisation in any case, including a train station that still gloried in the remarkably un-euphonious name of Rail Motor Stopping Place #77) would be made into a suburb of its own. But what to call it?

Mindful of their desire to attract a major music event to the area, the wise old men of Thomastown turned to the pop charts for help, and there they found both a solution, and everlasting division. Two of the hottest songs of 1970 were “Lola” and “Layla” (by the Kinks and Cream, respectively), and for some reason, it was decided that the best thing to do was to mash up the two names into one. (It is unclear whether this arose from a desire to avoid offending Ray Davies and Eric Clapton, or a desire to piss them both off). And so ‘Lalor’ was born.

And almost immediately, a dispute that rages to this very day sprang into full blooded and rather pedantic life. How was the newly christened suburb’s name to be pronounced? Was is ‘lay-la’, or ‘law-la’ or ‘lay-law’, or a fourth thing? No one knew, although factions grew up under the leadership of those who claimed that they did. In the 1980’s, these divisions would erupt into a bloody turf war, with the three factions fighting it out for ascendancy. It got so bad that the local football team were best known for getting reported for striking each other during games, and had the so-called ‘blood rule’ existed at the time, Lalor would probably have been fielding teams of two or three players by the end of each first quarter. In the end, the fighting eventually died down, as inconclusively as it had begun (although the local football team is still called the Bloods), and correct way to pronounce the suburb’s name remains a mystery for the ages.

Suburbs near Lalor: