Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Who was Pakenham named after?

I have seen four possible suggestions for the source of the name Pakenham.

In the Wake of the Pack Tracks suggests Pakenham is named after Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham (1778 - 1815) who served with the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War and was killed in 1815 at the Battle of New Orleans.

Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham (1778-1815)
Image: National Parks Service https://www.nps.gov/people/edward-pakenham.htm

Les Blake, in his book, Place names of Victoria (Rigby 1977) suggests that Pakenham was named for “General Pakenham who served in the Crimean War”. This is Lieutenant-Colonel Edward William Pakenham (1819 -1854) who was killed at Inkermann during the Crimean War. The Lieutenant Colonel was the son of Sir Hercules Pakenham who was the brother of Major General Sir Edward Michael Pakenham.

Lieutenant-Colonel Edward William Pakenham (1819-1854)
Image: Hampshire Country Council

The third suggestion is from Place Names of Australia by A.W. Reed (Reed 1973) Mr Reed suggests that the town was named for Catherine Pakenham, who was the wife of the Duke of Wellington. Catherine (1773 - 1831) married the Duke of Wellington in 1806. They had two sons, Arthur born in 1807 and Charles in 1808.

Catherine Pakenham, the Duchess of Wellington (1773-1831)
Catherine ('Kitty') Pakenham, Duchess of Wellington by Sir Thomas Lawrence 1814 
Wellington Collection, Stratfield Saye House 

From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick (Historical Society of Berwick, 1962) has this to say about the origin of the name – when Captain Clark was surveying the area, his cousin, a Naval officer named Pakenham, visited him. The two men agreed that the place should be named Pakenham, after their grandfather, Rev. Pakenham a Dublin minister. This is the Very Reverend Henry Pakenham (1787 - 1863)  who was Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin from 1843-1863.

Very Reverend Henry Pakenham (1878-1863)
Henry Pakenham's image on St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

Henry Pakenham's obituary in the Sydney paper The Empire March 16, 1864

The Duchess of Wellington  and the Very Reverend Henry Pakenham were siblings of Major General Sir Edward Pakenham and Sir Hercules Pakenham. Their father was the second Baron Longford and their nephew was Lieutenant-Colonel Edward William Pakenham.  Blake also suggests that the area was once called Longford. Pakenham was originally based around the Princes Highway and Toomuc Creek and the town that developed around the Railway Station from 1877 was known as Pakenham East. It was still referred to as Pakenham East until the early 1970s.

Here's a partial family tree to help explain the relationships
Edward Michael Pakenham - 2nd Baron Longford, suceeded to the Title in 1776, a Peerage of Ireland. He had the following children, that are of interest to us 
  • Catherine, Duchess of Wellington (1773-1831)
  • Major General Sir Edward Michael (1778-1815)
  • Sir Hercules (1781-1850) - the father of Lieutenant Colonel Edward William (1819-1854)
  • Very Reverend Henry (1787-1863)
I believe (and some people disagree with me) the most likely candidate is Lieutenant-Colonel Edward William Pakenham who was killed during the Crimean War as Victoria and Melbourne have other place names with a Crimean connection including the towns of St Arnaud and Sebastapol and the suburb of Balaclava. St Kilda has streets with a Crimean War connection - Inkerman Road, Crimea Street, Redan Street, Alma Road and Odessa Street. Clarendon Street, Codrington Street and Lyons Street in Cranbourne are also connected to Crimean War personalities.  See my blog post on Cranbourne Street names, here.

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