It is widely believed that Tremont takes its name from three peaks of the Dandenong Ranges that lie within its boundaries (since almost all of the suburb is covered by the Dandenong Ranges National Park). Nothing could be further from the truth. The region takes its name not from natural features, but from a constructed one – the earliest in the district.
After the discovery of gold in the upper reaches of the Yarra, a feverish period of mapping each and every tributary of Melbourne’s greatest river ensued, though with little success. Some were unwilling to give up, and reasoning that the gold must be located in the outflows from the ranges, began exploring the streams and creeks of the southern side of them. It was on one such night, after a day of fruitless searching, that three men shared a campfire near Ferny Creek. The three were all weary prospectors who were ready to give up: Montague Duncan, Montgomery Dunstan and Etienne Montserrat. Discussing their various misfortunes, they came to realise that by returning to their original trades, they might well acheive greater wealth.
Montague ‘Monty’ Duncan had been a carpenter, Montgomery ‘Monty’ Dunstan a brewer and Etienne ‘Monty’ Montserrat a baker. The three made an agreement to pool their talents: they would build a public house and bakery on the main road (what is now Burwood Highway). The public house became known as The Three Montys, and was a reasonable success for a time, until the trio fell to arguing about what to call it. The two Scotsmen each wanted to name it after their own surname, while the Frenchman preferred to simply translate the existing name into his native tongue, which would lead to it being the Tre Montys – although being French, Montserrat was accustomed to not pronounce the last few letters of any word, leading to it become the Tremont. Later still, after acrimony had led to the business splitting into three parts (and each of those failing miserably), it was Etienne’s choice of name that remained, albeit now minus its definite article.
Suburbs near Tremont: