A feature of the street of Marsfield are the large portion of streets named after infamous battles. This blog sets out to explore which battles were chosen from British and Australian military campaigns from Portugal to the Crimea to Libya, and a range of dates from the Napoleonic Wars to World War II. It aims to reflect the significant occurrences in each battle, a date for the naming of the road and how it all relates back to us.

Culloden Road

On the 16th of April, 1746 the last ever pitched battle on British soil took place between a Hanovarian Government army and the forces of Charles Edward Stewart. This would be the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising.

The rising was an attempt to restores the House of Stuart onto the British throne by overthrowing the House of Hanover. Charles lead a force of 6,000 men in a defensive action to confront the Dule of Cumberland who led his opposition. The bog-like terrain however, did not work in his favour as the new Redcoart tactic of bayoneting broke his walls and left his men scattered. The battle lasted less than an hour. Overall, it was a great success to the British government and throne with only 300 casualties compared with the Jacobite 1,500-2000.

Culloden Road stretches from Abuklea Road to Talervera Road and through Epping Road. It lies just behind Macquarie University. It was most likely named this between 1885 and 1894 - the subdivision and the establishment of the “Municipality of Marsfield”.

Libya Place

The North African WWII Campaign stretched from 1940-1943. The Battle of Libya occurred in 1941 with Australian troops fighting on land, water and in the air. Three AIF divisions - 6th, 7th, and 9th - fought with the Royal Australian Navy providing support to the ground forces during the attack. Additional Royal Australian Air Force squadrons provided protection from the Germans and Italians. This was Australia’s first major land battle in WWII.

They took 40,000 prisoners, then ventured to captured Tobruk from the Italians in a 2 day operation in January. Then in March, Hitler sent one of his best generals - Erwin Rommel - to the aid of his Italian allies in Libya. By April they had cut off and surrounded Tobruk. For 8 months Tobruk was besieged, and as the Axis powers conquered all before them in the rest of the world, Tobruk held out. It was a message of strength and determination that raised morale in a time where things were looking bleak.

Libya Place is thus named after a strong allied victory and filled with patriotism. It was most likely named this after the conclusion of the War in 1945.

Nile Close

From the 1st to 3rd of August 1798, the Battle of the Nile aka the Battle of Aboukir Bay, ended the Napoleonic Wars. This became known as one of the greatest victories of the British admiral Horatio Nelson.

Fought between British and French fleets in Egypt, the battle sought to put an end to the French Revolution spurred by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 especially ones Bonaparte journeyed to Egypt to constrict Britain’s trade route and threaten their prized possession - India. Fierce fighting ensued when Nelson finally located the French fleet and attacked them despite their superior defensive position. at 10pm a 120-gun flagship blew up most of the French fleet, including their admiral. Suffering 9,000 casualties the French suffered their final defeat.

It can be assumed that this road was similarly named with the same time of as Culloden Road.

Sabraon Roads

The Battle of Sobraon occurred on the 10th of February 1846 as part of the Anglo-Sikh war. Taking place in the Punjab in North-West India, the British troops and Indian troops of the Bengal Presidency against Sikhs of the Khalsa, the army of the Punjab. They fought under their coomanders Major General Sir Hugh Gough and Sir Henry Hnry Hardinge of the East India Company against the Indian commander Tej Singh.

Following the death of Ranjit Singh and the provocations of the East India Company, the Sikh Khalsa Army invaded British territory. In the battle 20,000 of the Sikh army became trapped, none of which attempted surrender and eventually suffered the loss of 10,000 and the capture of the rest. The Sikhs were completed defeated, making it the first decision battle of the Anglo-Sikh War. This war was brutal conquest for India’s resources, resulting in a treaty where the Punjab had to pay 750,000 even after their loss of men, territory and morale. It’s statement remains one of British superpower and intolerance towards invasion; even if provoked. Therefore making its naming most probably linked with the First Fleet and British colony expansion.

Busaco Road

Fought on the 27th of September 1810 in Western Portugal against Marshal Maessena’s invading French army, the British, led by later known as Duke Wellington, held strong. in August, Marshal Ney’s troops began the French invasion of Portugal by besieging its fortress town Almedia. The town was forced to surrender after most of it exploded along with its occupants. Pressing forward, the French advanced under ill-advised and misleading advice and maps, giving Wellington the advantage.

The battle was long, gruesome and dirty. the French ultimately lost, suffered at least 4,600 men killed, wounded of MIA along with four of their generals dead. The Battle of Busaco was avilable for the Military General Service Medal for the brave actions of its soldiers.

It’s hilly expanse and massive athletic achievements have been immortalised in the modern naming of Busaco Road as it lies near the Macquarie University Sports Fields.

Crimea Road

One of the more recognisable names in this list is Crimea Road named after the Crimean War. Whilst previous battles have been historically influential, none have possessed the gravitas and legacy of this 3 year victory.

From October 1853 to February 1856, the war stemmed from religious divergences. With the French promoting the rights of the Roman Catholic and Russia for those of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the decline of the Ottoman empire and the tension between France, Britain and Russia as they denied its push to gain territory at the Ottoman’s expense sparked the war that has stood out for its “notoriously incompetent international butchery”. Eventually the Churches worked out their differences, but the French Emperor and Russian Emperor refused to back down resulting in an ultimatum. Subsequently a war began.

Dissatisfaction with soldier conduct, fiascos, and huge loss of life left the French and Austrian wanted to see the end of the War. Peace negotiations began after Britain lost their Prime Minister and eventually the Treaty of Paris restored the Ottoman Empire as Russia returned to its own land. This war had a profound effect on PoW’s and veterans with major psychological damage inflicted. No information surrounds when the street was named or built only speculation exists about the why - to remember the sacrifices and ensure it never happens again.

Madeleine Johnson

Madeleine Jonson is a Macquarie University student studying a Bachelor of Ancient History majoring in Greece, Rome, and Late Antiquity. After completing her initial studies, Madeleine will progress into a Masters of Teaching so she can bring her love of Ancient History to future generations and perhaps spark someone to follow in her steps as her Ancient History teacher once did.