Melbourne has always attracted artists of all sorts. The most famous school of Australian painting, the Heidelberg School, was based in Melbourne; Dame Nellie Melba chose to name herself after the city, and a generation of Australian music legends made the city their home in the 1980s.

But the earliest artist to look for a new place, a site where a dawn of creativity could take place, was one Donald Creswell, a poet and sculptor who came to Melbourne in 1873, and took up residence in the corner of Richmond circumscribed by the Yarra, Punt Road and the railway line. Creswell spent much of his time encouraging other artists to join him there, in search of a proper bohemian atmosphere of creative ferment, from which he believed he and others would be inspired to works of genius.

As it turned out, his efforts were largely unsuccessful, and the time and energy he spent on them left him too drained for creative endeavour of his own. Creswell died in 1895, of what legend tells was a broken heart (but which the coroner’s report listed as a liver failure brought on by alcoholism).

Although there is no doubt that Creswell was repsonsible for the area’s name, there is some question as to how: does Cremorne take its name from the creative morning that he sought to create, or from the years of sorrow he spent mourning his failure to do so?

Suburbs near Cremorne:

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