Dryburgh Street

“Burgh” is a shortened form of “borough”; obsolete in ordinary English usage since the 17th century, but retained in Scotland for a town possessing a charter. It is pronounced “borough’ not “berg”.

This street is a sign of Scottish nostalgia. It was named after Dryburgh Abbey, which stands in a setting of sheer beauty on a horse shoe of land encircled by the river Tweed. It looks out on the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills (1300 feet), where sacrifices were once made to the sun-god, and, later, the Romans built a great military camp.

It took 12 years to build. Meantime, the builders—English and Scottish monks— lived in wooden huts on the river-bank, feeding well on the excellent salmon the river provided. The Abbey was completed on 13th December, 1152. Years of, suffering awaited it.

In 1322 the retreating army of Edward II set the place ablaze. Helped by liberal gifts from Robert the Bruce, the monks restored it. In 1385, Richard II’s men made a bonfire of it again. Once more the monks restored it. At last in 1545, the English army under Hertford left it a smoking ruin. Centuries of neglect completed the destruction. Nov we have but a few ravaged fragments—a skeleton which only imagination can clothe with the flash of its ancient glorious days—and that with difficulty.

What is left of its soaring walls and graceful windows gives a fleeting vision of what it must have looked like in its completed wonder. Treasured patches of mural decoration give a whispered reminder of the colour that lit the walls of Dryburgh Over 800 years ago. Sir Walter Scott and his biographer, Lockhart, are buried there, as is also that controversial figure of World War I, Field Marshal Earl Haig.

On arriving in Melbourne, early migrants would soon meet a Thomas Dryburgh, who was Landing Surveyor of the Customs (1856-7) and Collector of Custom’s (1858-1864) and lived at 15 Victoria Parade, Collingwood. This may have suggested something to the Scots who settled in North Melbourne. From the Scottish names of other streets, however, we can be fairly sure that it was the Abbey, and not Thomas, they had in mind when they named Dryburgh Street North Melbourne.(1)

Source. (1) Northern Advertiser, Thursday, October 15, 1970. Blanchard collection, “What’s in a Name” at North Melbourne Library.

177 Dryburgh Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Also known as Address The Shakespere Hotel [11) 1862- 1986/7, renamed Oasis Oz 1987