Wide street view of the main street in Warwick showing grand clock towers and store fronts

News of the day

Warwick Daily News

Wednesday 30 March 1932

Palmerin Street

- Origin of Name -

-  A puzzler for residents -

- Varied explanations -

How did Warwick's main business thoroughfare derive the name of Palmerin-street? Seemingly a question not so very difficult to answer, and yet a representative of the Daily News yesterday tried more than 20 residents and practically each had a different solution to what had suddenly developed into a conundrum. Even recognised local historians, when weighed into the balance, were found wanting.

The first resident to whom the question was put proved negative. "No; I came here in 1885 as a boy," he said. "When I first heard the name of the street pronounced I subconciously thought that it had its genesis in Pall Mall, London. Later, however, when I saw the spelling of the word I realised that that assumption was incorrect. Since then I have put the question to many old residents, but have been unable to secure a feasible answer."

The next person was likewise a dilemma, candidly admitting that he had not the faintest idea, "but supposed it was due to a few palms growing in the main street."

Another resident of long standing in the town advanced the suggestion that Palmerin was an Italian name. He believed it was a beauty spot either in Rome or Naples but was not quite sure. However, he recommended the writer to purchase a certain book, costing the abnormally low sum of £2/2/, wherein the tru derivation "might" be found. This suggestion was not availed of, primarily because £2/2/ during a period of depression is easier to spend than to earn, and secondly because the answer "might not" be found in the recommended book.

"From a family of Palmers who lived at the top of the street. At any rate, something to do with a man named Palmer," was the solution advanced by another prominent townsman. Another gave the version that the street had been called after Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer, one time Governor of Queensland.

"I'm hanged if I do. I did know once upon a time," was the decisive answer received from another source. Another declared "Palmerin" to be a perculiar name. He had never heard any of the old hands explain it's derivation. He could not make it out, "because it had nothing whatever to do with the name Palmer." "Could not the Town Council give you the information?" he queried, "It often tricked me where they got the name Palmerin. Furthermore, where did Dragon-street obtain such a name? I think some of the old pots must have been mellow when they selected those names, or could not spell them, something like that."

The next resident remarked, "I think it is a street in Warwick, Enlang; likewise, Guy, Dragon, and Percy streets. I believe Earl Percy was a relation of the Earl of Warwick."

"You have me beat," declared another local born. "No; I don't know. It is hard to ascertain the origin of the street name. I have often wondered myself. It goes back beyond my time and knowledge. There was a Sir Arthur Palmer in Queensland half a century ago or thereabouts, but I do not think that offers the solution. Sir Arthur was originally a squatter and well-known politician, but I do not think he had any interests locally. Your correspondent 'Gooragooby' might be able to provide a satisfactory answer."

"Most of the streets in Warwick are named after streets in Warwick, England," declared another local historian. "There was a Lord Palmerin in England. Several of our streets such as Victoria and Albert, have been named after royalty. Pratten-street is named after a surveyor. The late Governor MacGregor endeavoured to find out the origin of the names of our Warwick streets, but I do not think his quest was fruitful."

The next resident also supprted a theory that most of the names of Warwick streets could be traced back to English nobility. Albion was the poetic name for England, he stated.

After numerous other quarters had been tried out, the answers being mainly of a hypothetical nature, "Gooragooby" was telephoned at Dalveen. This local historian instantly confessed he had met his Waterloo. He did not know the answer, and could not recollect ever having come across reference to the street in his records.

The Daily News is indebted to the "Peter Piper" (Warwick) for the following explanation given in a woman's journal:- "The wide mile long streets of Warwick can boast such names as Wantley, Guy, Dragon, and Palmerin. They owe their origin to a legend of old Warwick, which tells how Guy, a Knight of the Palmerins, fought and slew the dragon of Wantley."

Webster's Dictionary describes "Palmerin" in the following manner :- "Any of the heroes of several Spanish romances of chivalry, the two most noted being 'Palmerin de Oliva' (1511), written by a woman, and 'Palmerin de Inglaterra (England)', 1547, by Luis Hurtado. After many marvellous adventures the knight Palmerin de Oliva, a son of a Greek emperor in Byzantium, marries the German emperor's daughter and becomes the ruler of Byzantium. Palmerin of England is a grandson of Palmerin de Oliva and is also a wonderful knight. Hence, any famous or redoubtable knight or champion."

So, after all, there is something in a name, even Palmerin.



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