Mitcham belongs to that more widespread than most people think class of places whose original names have been altered by adding a consonant at the beginning, in order to make them less embarrassing. As stupid an idea as this sounds, it actually does work, although it helps to encourage a high rate of turnover in your suburb’s housing and wait a generation or two.
Mitcham got its name for the reaction it inspired in most visitors, even those merely passing through on the train (back in the days when trains still had windows that could be opened). This is because the land on which the suburb now stands was a swampy lowland for the most part, one densely wooded enough to dry out entirely only on the very hottest of summers. Which meant that the thing the area was best known for – aside from being that foul-smelling bit of the train trip betwixt Nunawading and Ringwood – was clouds of mosquitoes. Hungry, angry mosquitoes.
Before some bright spark added that “M” and swapped one vowel for another, it was understandably better known as “Itch’em”.
Suburbs near Mitcham: