June 17, 2020
A town called ‘Mangalore’ in the garden State of Victoria
Another ‘Mangalore Town’ in the island State of Tasmania
A ‘Mangalore Street’ in Melbourne, in the inner suburb of Travancore
A ‘Mangalore Rise’ in Whittlesea town of Victoria, furthermore
This is the story of ‘Mangalore Drive’ in the suburb of Winston Hills
In the state of New South Wales - Exploring it was full of unusual thrills!
‘Mangalore Drive’ is a street in Australia’s most populated State of New South Wales, approximately 28 kms north-west of the state’s capital Sydney
New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) on the east coast of the country is the most populated State of Australia with Sydney as its capital. 28 kilometres north-west of Sydney Central Business District (CBD), in the Local Government Area (LGA) of the City of Parramatta/The Hills Shire Council, lies the suburb of Winston Hills. Mangalore Drive is the name of an interior street in the said suburb of Winston Hills.
In December 2017, on our road trip enroute to Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast in the neighbouring State of Queensland, we spent a couple of days in Sydney. After spending Christmas with friends, before heading back to our hotel in the evening, we took a detour travelling to ‘Mangalore Drive’ paying a visit.
‘Mangalore Drive’ (highlighted in RED) lies in the suburb of Winston Hills in the eastern Australian State of New South Wales
The 5 square kilometres (457 hectares) suburb of Winston Hills was named after Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965, who passed away that year. His first name was preferred over Churchill Hills which would have been a bit of a tongue-twister and a repetition of the word Hill which forms an integral part of his surname.
Winston Hills is a nice middle-class suburb, around half an hour drive from Sydney which taking into consideration the vastness of the state is a very short distance. Boasting of several heritage-listed sites, Winston Hills is just 7 kms on the north-west of Parramatta, a major commercial suburb in Greater Sydney.
For us, this suburb simply gains significance because it has an identical name to that of our hometown.
This entrance ‘Lachlan Drive’is the only way through which ‘Mangalore Drive,’ is accessible. The road of brown interlocking pavers and the private property markings sans a street sign are bound to confuse a first-time visitor
Property markings on the wider U-shaped ‘Mangalore Drive,’ that comprises of nearly 30 properties
While visiting ‘Mangalore Drive,’ we got lost not once, but innumerable times so much so, a lot of time was wasted searching this street as compared to being and exploring the street itself. Even technology gave in, as the satellite got confused sending out a mixture of wrong signals to our GPS navigator that went berserk ordering us to take an un-existing U turn every 10 metres. The only people you see in person here in the suburbs are the ones jogging or someone taking their dog for a walk. I happened to ask an individual walking his dog as to the location and he looked upwards straight towards the heavens.
Parking our vehicle on the side of Buckleys Road, giving my brain enough time to ponder about my next move having come so far, noticed another car passing our parked vehicle taking a left turn on the road of interlocking pavers and disappearing in a flash. That had my brains cracking. If it was an entrance to the private property, with the large white bungalow visible at the right-side-corner, the car would not have raced and vanished. That indicated there was a continuity with an accessible road. I bypassed this double entrance several times as I was a bit apprehensive to take the turn because I believed it would lead me straight into the private property. More than a couple of warning signs threatening, ‘entrance to a private property and trespassers will be prosecuted,’ the road having been laid with brown interlocking pavers in contrast to asphalt/bitumen, added to the confusion.
Finally figuring it out, turning left from Buckleys Road where I had my vehicle parked and entering Lachlan drive (there was no name plate indicating this), travelling about 300 metres and turning right from there was the entry point to ‘Mangalore Drive.’ Confusion galore as we moved, for we noticed an unmarked street on the left in 50 metres, thence in 200 metres one more road called ‘Colonial Court’ on the left and in 50 metres another left opening known as the ‘Currency Court’ which were all dead-end roads. Driving ahead approximately 90 metres from the intersection of Lachlan Drive/Currency Court, we noticed the bottle green name plate with capital letters in white confirming that indeed finally we were at our destination. It was a T-intersection and a mirror was placed slightly tilted towards the right on the top of the name plate for the drivers to have a good view to the oncoming traffic through the reflection of the horizontal road. It brought me memories of a gigantic mirror placed adjacent to a bridge for a similar purpose near Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, where we had been to visit the Mughal Gardens in 1985.
Located in the most exclusive part of Winston Hills, the horse-shoe-shaped Mangalore Drive without any through road had however a small offshoot road called ‘Governor Place’ which comprised of about 5 residences. Mangalore Drive about 200-250 metres or so in length, is narrow and a bit congested with the vertical entrance from Lachlan Drive and the far end elevated vertical section covered with brown interlocking pavers.
Have a look at our ‘slow drive’ onward and return, in the following pictures captured every 30 metres. Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs as they were taken from my cell phone, from inside the vehicle itself. There was no way that we could jump out and take a few shots as the way was too narrow with lot of hurdles. The vehicle, especially the windscreen through which the photos were captured was a bit murky because of our long drive of nearly 1000 kms from Melbourne the previous day.
Mangalore Drive consists of nearly 30 properties, the land size of each property being small/average and as a result, most of the dwellings on either side are built upwards - double storeyed or higher. Property prices are the most expensive in Sydney and its suburbs as compared to the rest of Australia and a typical four-bedroom house here would be valued at least a million Australian dollars (AUD). Mangalore Drive, falls under the realm of the highly acclaimed Lachlan View Estates which is at an elevated position with astounding surrounding district and reserve views. Each property thus, would have stunningly unobstructed scenic sights of the city and the mountains stretching across the neighbouring rooftops.
House owners appear to be well off owning at least two vehicles which parked on the driveway and on the nature strip. Considering the fact, it was a Monday, with Saturday and Sunday being a weekend, Monday Christmas and Tuesday a holiday on occasion of Boxing Day and Aussies having a penchant for travelling, the street I guess would be crowded with more owner owned vehicles during other times. Unless some people like us visit for a definite reason, it is almost certain folks who do not live here have seldom any reason to come. That is the better part of Mangalore Drive.
It was a different sort of thrill driving on this road, navigating under the legal limit of 15 km/hour. Our 7-seater/4-wheel drive, Toyota Kluger (an elder sibling of Toyota Fortuner if you like to call it so) was too big for this narrow street with the width of the vehicle almost equal to the width of the road. Especially while giving way to an oncoming automobile, I had to veer totally towards the left. As both vehicles struggled to pass each other without any friction, I happened to see the stars and the moon though it was not yet twilight. Ascending the fag elevated end of Mangalore Drive and then having to turn the vehicle a full 360 degrees to descend from there was a bit of a nightmare trying to avoid immovable postboxes, parked vehicles, huge earthen pots and garbage bins in the process. While doing so, we noticed from this top
end, the greenery and scenery was captivating.
I am proud that the street is called ‘Mangalore Drive’ and thus came here for a visit, but for which I would have never ventured this way. But honestly, the name ‘Hidden Street’ could be a better option than ‘Mangalore Drive’ as it is not even directly accessible from the main road, with a one-way entrance and exit and having to travel on another road in between to access this street. Moreover, justice was not done to the term ‘Drive’ due to the narrow nature of the road, with no through road. The nature strip here from an average nature strip was slender with a couple of properties appearing to be on the road itself, just like the case was with our Sujatha Hotel on K S Rao Road, Kodialbail of yesteryears.
With a lot of Indian and Asian grocery shops within a 5-km radius, it is my assumption that the area could be having a sizable Indian/Asian population. Asian in an Aussie context refers to people from East Asian and Southeast Asian ancestry like the Indonesians, Thai, Malaysians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Filipinos, Koreans but excludes Indians, Pakistanis and Chinese who are referred to by the country of their origin. The region is within a walking distance to most of the amenities and lies only 7-8 km from Westfield Paramatta – The 4th largest shopping centre of Australia by Gross Leasable Area (GLA).
The post code of ‘Mangalore Drive’ is 2153 and it shares the same postcode with other suburbs and localities like Baulkham hills, Bella Vista and Model Farms.
Origin of the name ‘Mangalore’
The reflection in the mirror of the horizontal portion of ‘Mangalore Drive’ is to alert the drivers approaching from the verticalstretch of the road
No piece of writing about ‘Mangalore’ would be complete without having a crack at the origin of its name, especially trying to figure out whether it has any link to our hometown, name wise or otherwise. Stepping into the shoes of current US President Donald Trump for a moment, the answer is: ‘may be’ or ‘maybe not.’ It may be because the suburb ‘Winston Hills’ where ‘Mangalore Drive’ is located was named during the 1960s. Continuing with that logic, during that time, Mangaluru then officially known as Mangalore, named thus by the British at the fag end of the eighteenth century, there is every reason they might have simply copied it giving the name to the street under discussion.
The council under which the street/suburb falls is the best bet and resource of information. As of May 12, 2016, with the local government’s (Council Amalgamations) proclamation, Winston Hills is now shared between the City of Parramatta and The Hills Shire Council. The part where ‘Mangalore Drive’ is located comes under the purview of the former and I had written to them with regards to my query. Anne Tsang, Research Assistant, Culture Heritage & Tourism of the Council had this to say – QUOTE: ‘Thank you for your enquiry in regards to the street name origin of Mangalore Drive in Winston Hills. I had a look through our records and unfortunately could not pinpoint the exact reason behind the naming of this street.’
I will especially remember this visit as it had all the twists and turns to give up the search and when finally, having discovered the place brought immense satisfaction. The special thrill lies in the fact you could not lay your hands on what you were after straightaway and needed to toil and work out the hard way to accomplish it. It will not be out of place to mention that I have visited Jog Falls in Shivamogga (formerly Shimoga) district of Karnataka five times and the one time I can vividly remember was during our fourth trip when our vehicle broke down time and again especially while ascending curves. In the torrential rain, we had to jump out of the van and push it hard for a jump start every time it stopped, then get into the moving van not long before it stopped again, getting totally drenched and muddied in the process.
It is extremely rare here to totally change or make amendments to a given name – Be it a street, locality or a town. It is virtually unheard of as no-one is really bothered to fiddle into such a trivial matter. If it warrants, a consensus is arrived at or a survey may be conducted and in the extreme scenario there may be calls for a referendum. So, these names are here to stay! Aussies have a fascination however for short names, with a three-syllable word reduced to one and I am not sure what the shortened form of ‘Mangalore Drive’ would sound like. That could be one of the reasons why the person walking the dog looked heavenwards hearing my query as the name was too long for him to digest, though I met him less than 400 metres from the location of the street. For instance, the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, more commonly known by its abbreviation MCG is simply called ‘The G,’ with even the abbreviation further abbreviated.
Mangalore - Are there further any? Yes! There are many. However, I do not intend to visit them all but will be able to do some research and get them published in these very columns. Articles under this series tend to be a bit boring no matter how much you try to uplift them in your write-ups. The enlightened people we are having made a name across the world, it would be apt to have some sort of knowledge about our namesake places around the globe. It is interesting to note that there is another street by the identical name of ‘Mangalore Drive’ in Annandale, a small city and suburb of Washington DC in Virginia, the south-eastern state of the United States of America with a ZIP Code 22003.