Prahran exists as a testament to the lengths some men will got to in order to mess with their fellows. With its deliberately awkward spelling, and multiple possible pronunciations (all of which have, at one time or another, been decried as incorrect), Prahran is a monument to human contrariness. One would think that finding the name unpronouncable, most people would just up on it, but they would be reckoning without the Australian propensity for creating and using nicknames. They would never have thought to call it simply “Pran.”

As Pran, the suburb has become a home for generations of the city’s bohemian population (like all good bohemias, Pran lacks a sea coast), latterly shading over to the more gay and lesbian end of the bohemian spectrum. As such, it is a source of great dismay to wowsers, moralists and other homophobes, but they might as well be trying to hold back the ocean with a broom. Pran remains a cultural centre in Melbourne, famed for its nightlife and fine dining. With the rise of increased density building throughout the inner city, Pran is also now home to a larger population of all kinds than it ever has been in the past, and its future, though still fashionably grimy, looks bright.

Ironically, while the motives behind the naming of Prahran seem to have been inspired by anti-marketing sentiments, the area – especially that part of it centred on Chapel Street – in one of Melbourne’s longest-lived and best known shopping areas, with several malls and arcades (and even a bazaar) located along its length. Even the loss of South Prahran (now Windsor) has not dimmed the suburb’s lustre.

Suburbs near Prahran: