In 1864 the cattle yards on the north-west corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, North Melbourne’s front door, were divided into five blocks and sold.
Three new streets were needed, and why shouldn’t the Irish have had first say in naming them?
In the Legislative Council of 1852, John O’Shanassy (fined sixpence for punching an Orangeman’s head on July 12, 1846) sought authority for the sale of land north of Victoria Street.
The settlement of North Melbourne began, and the Irish named its front door streets.
These streets were called O’Connell, Cobden and Peel — a triology of famous names center of many stormy scenes in the English Commons.
Daniel O’Connell, pacifist champion of Catholic emancipation and of all Ireland’s troubles, was hailed in his day as “liberator” of his “most distressful country”.
The Irish certainly gave North Melbourne something to live up to when they hoisted their green banner at its front door.(1)
O’Connell Street North Melbourne was therefore named in honor of Daniel O’Connell.
Source. (1) Northern Advertiser, 23/9/1971. Blanchard collection,”What’s in a Name” at North Melbourne Library.