Croxton 3301Croxton is a residential area in Northcote and Thornbury 7 km. north-north-east of Melbourne.
It is best known for the Croxton Park Hotel in High Street, which was established in 1850-1 as the Old Pilgrim Inn, which was the first hotel opened in the Northcote district.
In 1865 a new proprietor of the Pilgrim Inn put aside an adjoining site for athletic contests and horse riding, and in 1869 a syndicate of new owners named the establishment Croxton Park, said to be the name of a fashionable English racing rendezvous. Croxton Park was between high Street and St. Georges Road. The horse riding ended after about four years, but Croxton Park remained, to be a foot-racing venue until the 1890s and an oval for the Northcote Football Club. The spectators added to the takings at the hotel, and the proprietors promoted other entertainments, albeit in the face of resistance from the churches and the local council who regarded the hotel as a pitfall for youth.
In 1915 the football club moved to a new venue, and Croxton Park's best days were over. The prospect of housing subdivision beckoned, however, as trams had been running on a reopened High Street service since 1901.
The Croxton Park racecourse, called the Fitzroy Racecourse, was opened on the other side of St. Georges Road in 1891, becoming one of John Wren's pony tracks. It was closed in 1931 and remained a wasteland until taken for postwar housing.
Between the 1911 and 1933 censuses for the Northcote municipality the population increased nearly two-and-a-half times. This period coincided with the residential settlement of Croxton, where houses were mainly double-fronted weatherboard.
The shopping along High Street runs through Croxton, but the sheer length of the strip has felt pressure from competition at its weaker parts, of which Croxton became one. In any event a local Croxton shopping centre grew in St. Georges road.
By the 1970s the first generation of long-term Croxton residents were moving out, and their places were often taken by Italian and Greek born residents. The Croxton Branch of the Labor Party had a heavy Italian membership. Croxton shades northwards into Thornbury, which has a strong Greek population.
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