Downie Street is located in the north-west corner of central Melbourne, between Spencer and King street. It extends through from Flinders Street to Flinders Lane.
The lane was known as Pritchard Lane from 1905 until 1940. Businesses located on Pritchard Lane in 1920 included the Argus paper store, a sack manufacturer and Bailey Brothers shipping providores. In 1940, the lane was renamed Downie Street. There are several conflicting sources as to the origin of this name. According to the City of Melbourne Planning Scheme, the lane was named after J.B. Downie, an importer of beer, spirits, machinery and Portland cement, who established a property on the lane in 1884. His business later moved to Market Street. According to Weston Bate, however, the lane was named after J.A. Downie, a bootmaker who also claimed to the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah. Downie Street was also the location of a blacksmith, and a commercial property in which the first documented occupation dates from 1839.