At first glance, the suburb of Bayswater may seem, well, terribly, terribly inaccurately named. After all, it’s about 20 kilometres inland from the beach, and has a range of elevations from between 83 and 142 metres above sea level. By any stretch of the imagination, this suburb is not named well – at least, not if one is inclined to a literal interpretation. So why is it called Bayswater?

Well, it all goes back to the first settlements there, in 1882. The founder of Bayswater, Henry Upfield, was a close friend of the geologist Paulos Tyabb. And Tyabb was something of a loon. Before he arrived in Australia, he had spent months scouring the Pacific and Indian Oceans for evidence of Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu. Floods were much on his mind when he came to Australia, and he shared these thoughts with Upfield. He persuaded Upfield that not only were floods inevitable, but that the oceans would once again rise, to drown Melbourne as they had drowned the lost continents that Tyabb had searched in vain for.

And so it was that Upfield named his settlement for the beachfront property he confidently expected it to be any day now. A century before anyone had even put the words “global” and “warming” together, Upfield went to his grave still waiting to hear waves lapping at the beach outside his window, the soothing sound of the bay’s water.

Suburbs near Bayswater.

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