Friday, 4 May 2018

Grassmere becomes Doveton

The suburb of Doveton was established in the mid 1950s by the Housing Commission to provide housing for the employees of the 'Big Three' Industrial companies, International Harvestor Company (established 1952), H.J Heinz (1955) and General Motors Holden (1956).

The area was originally known as Dandenong or Eumemmerring or more especially Grassmere after Thomas Herbert Power's estate. It was called Grassmere well into the 1950s, and renamed Doveton after John and Margaret Doveton in 1953 or 1954 who had given their name to Doveton Avenue (where their house was located). The use of the name in Doveton Avenue preceded the use of the name as a suburb as we can see from this wedding report, below, from the Dandenong Journal of  April 22, 1951. The photo  shows Miss Ethel Florence Hilyear of Doveton Avenue, Grassemere and her groom, Mr David Newport.


Dandenong Journal April 22, 1951

Another article in the Dandenong Journal of October 24, 1951 (see below) talks about General Motors Holden feeling that Eumemmerring as an address is 'unwieldly', although apparenttly International Harvester thought it was a 'thundering nice name. The Journal asked if anyone knew the origin of the name and a further article in the Journal said the name was Irish. Not sure about that - most sources seem to say that it is of Aboriginal origin and means 'we are pleased to agree with you' or on a related theme, a word expressing pleasure or agreement.



Dandenong Journal, October 24, 1951.




Dandenong Journal November 21, 1951



Dandenong Journal April 29, 1953

According to an article in paper (see above) the name of Doveton was agreed to by the Shire of Berwick in April 1953 after  a request from the Hallam Progress Association. This decision preceded the establishment of the Housing Commission project at what was then called Dandenong East.

The Age September 27, 1954.

The Doveton Housing Commission Estate was announced in September 1954.

Dandenong Journal October 13, 1954

It seems that the formal adoption of the name Doveton for the Housing Commission Estate was in October 1954, according to the report in the Dandenong Journal, above. The area had been known as Dandenong East. It does appear that the year 1954 was the year the name Grassmere was finally abandoned for the area east of Doveton.  The modern day suburb of Eumemmerring was gazetted on May 20, 1981. As a matter of interest Doveton is a variation of the name Dufton which means ‘Farmstead where doves are kept’ in dovecotes.

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