The area was originally part of a grant made to Irishman, Nicholas Devine, who arrived in 1790 as the first principal superintendent of convicts. Devine built his homestead near the corner of Erskineville Road and George Street. An error about the naming of Macdonaldtown is often repeated in publications - viz. "A Mr Macdonald, who owned a large ironmongery at the corner of George and Market Streets in the city, lived near the present Macdonaldtown station and was a major property owner here." The source of the name "Macdonaltown" has a very different story, involving a scandal of forged documents consigning Devine's property to a convict. In 1846 the property in the south of Erskineville owned by Stephen Macdonald was subdivided and advertised with the name "Macdonald Town". Macdonaldtown, the whole suburb, was incorporated as a local government area in 1872 and was renamed as Erskineville in 1893.