Northcote Historical & Conservation Society

We are interested in the histories of Northcote, Thornbury, Westgarth, Fairfield and Alphington, most of which are now located within the City of Darebin.

The Society was established in 1980. Our aim is the conservation, documentation and preservation of history relating to the former City of Northcote. History can be in a wide variety of forms including photographs, letters, articles, oral records, etc.. We foster an understanding of the history of the people, places and things pertaining to Northcote, Fairfield, Alphington, Westgarth & Thornbury.

Our membership is wide and diverse and includes people with a deep love and interest in Northcote's history. Many have a long connection with the area and are thus an excellent living history resource.

The Society works in close cooperation with City of Darebin, Darebin Libraries and Preston Historical Society. We are active in publishing Northcote's history. There is a current documentation project of cataloguing all the Society's collection.

The City of Darebin came into existance in 1994. It incorporates the former cities of Northcote and Preston.

Darebin Libraries (particularly Northcote Library) has an extensive historical collection on loan from the Northcote Historical & Conservation Society.

Tour of the City

Tuesday 23rd May 1933 - Northcote Jubilee Celebrations

For historical reasons this Tour is reproduced in entirety. To assist with reading, the editorial words are defined within square brackets and significant locations are indicated in bold. It is worth comparing this route with the earlier 1885 Tour and current locations.

Whilst most of the locations and streets have not changed over the years there has been some loss of sites.

Description of Route to be traversed

Visitors taking part in the Tour of the City are requested to assemble in the Town Hall, Westbourne Grove entrance, at 2 pm. Places will be allotted in cars immediately, and the procession will traverse the following route:-

[Starting] west along Westbourne Grove (passing immediately the St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church) to St. George's Road; thence south along St. George's Road to the Merri Creek Bridge, turning and travelling north along the west side of St. George's Road. [Continuing] past the Northcote High School and the Merri Park of 15 acres, controlled by the Council; thence west and north along Sumner Avenue and Winifred Street, passing on the left the Depot of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works(1), the property of which it will be noticed, has been beautified by lawns and gardens. This was carried out by the Board, at the instigation of the Council.

Turning east into Arthurton Road the Ink and Clag Factory of Messrs. Angus & Co. is passed. On to St. George's Road, and turning to the north, on the right will be seen the beautiful lawns and plantations, which have a length of 2 miles, established by the Council on what was previously known as the Pipe Track, but now [called] St. George's Reserve (2). The cost involved in this work was 15,000, 7,000 being provided by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. On the left will be passed the delicensed [Fitzroy] Racecourse (3), which later will be turned to more important use.

At Hutton Street a turn will be made to the left along that street, and then to the right along Comas Grove to Miller Street (the boundary street of Northcote and Preston). Then easterly to St. George's Road; on the left will be seen the extensive Depot and Workshops of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramway Board.(4)

It is not only a matter of interest, but a concrete illustration of the rapid advance made by the City to note that the section between the [Fitzroy] Racecourse and the northern boundary of the Municipality (Miller Street) was known as the Thornbury Park Estate (5), on which, prior to 1920, when the St. George's Road tramway was laid down, there were only a few scattered houses, the area being mainly open paddocks. Today the estate is practically covered with houses, and all [the] streets are constructed.

Turning south into St. George's Road, passing the Glen Iris Brick Works (6) (on the east), to Murray Street [now road]; thence east past the Thornbury School (7), and south and west back to St. George's Road. Thence south past the modern Church of Christ and Methodist Church buildings to Shaftesbury Parade; thence east along the latter street, and back along Woolton Avenue to St. George's Road. Thence south, passing Batman Park and the Little Sisters of the Poor, to Merri Parade; thence to Westgarth Street, along the latter street, across High Street, and passing on the right the factory of the Leeds Dyeing Co.(8), formerly known as R. B. Lawrence's. Continuing through the railway gates and past the Northcote Park on the right, where beautiful gardens will be noticed, and in the recreation grounds spacious grand stands.

Turning north into Victoria Road and continuing to Bastings Street, and again turning west to pass probably the best laid-out gardens in the City, known as Johnson Park, and later the factory of Smith & Sons (9), known previously as Smith's Bacon Factory. Turning north into Waterloo Road, west into Ilma Grove, and south into Bastings Street, through which streets will be passed some of the larger houses of the City.

Continuing along Bastings Street, passing on the right, the Baby Health Centre (?) and Creche. This building was once one of Northcote's fine old homes, being noted for its beautiful surrounding grounds, which have long since been sub-divided, and now contain some of the City's finest modern dwellings. Immediately opposite is "St. Neots,"(10) which previously fronted Bastings Street, and also boasted a beautiful garden. The grounds, which were attached to this home have, too, been sub-divided and replaced with modern houses.

A continuation is made to High Street, and south along the southern boundary, through the lawns and rockeries (for the construction of which the South Ward were responsible) to Urquhart Street at the southern boundary. There it may be noted that the replacement of the railway gates at the crossing over the tram line with the present overhead railway bridge took place in 1925; the cost of this improvement was shared by the Railway Department, Tramway Board, and the Council.

A turn will be made in Urquhart Street, to the west side of High Street, which will be traversed in a northerly direction, passing on the right just above Westgarth Street, the Westgarth Picture Theatre, which was erected in 1925 by several enterprising local business men. On the right at the brow of the Hill is the [Northcote] Post Office (11), erected in 1926, and on the adjoining corner of Bay View Street, the Church of Epiphany (12), with Vicarage, which is the site of "The Alpines,"another of Northcote's fine old homes, now completely removed. Continuing beyond the Town Hall is the Northcote Picture Theatre, which was erected in 1912, and was the first Theatre in the Municipality.

A source of interest is the number of large business houses erected between Mitchell Street and Elm Street. In this area the high price of 200 per foot for the land was paid within the last few years. Immediately south of Elm Street is the modern Northcote Market (13), and on the corner of Elm Street the Bank of Australasia building is nearing completion.(14)

The route is continued along High Street to Dundas Street, passing in the meanwhile numerous shops and business houses of modern design, including [on the east] several on the front portion of the old Croxton Racecourse and Recreation Ground, the balance of this area containing up-to-date houses.

Immediately before approaching Darebin Street will be seen on the right the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Memorial Hall, and, again, on the right at the north end of the City, the inspiring buildings of the Roman Catholic Church, known as St.Mary's, will be noticed. Further north on the left is the Regent Picture Theatre, erected in 1925.

At Dundas Street a turn will be made to the east side of High Street, proceeding south to Penders Street; thence westerly along this street, passing Penders Park to Victoria Road, where will be seen the Penders Grove School; thence southerly along Victoria Road to Darebin Street, passing the Northcote Tile and Pottery Co. on the right.

A turn will be made westerly along Darebin Street, where, on the top of the hill, will be noticed on the right, "Benvenuta"(15), another old home, the grounds of which have been sub-divided, and now contain a number of modern dwellings. Again turning to the right along Francis Grove to Speight Street, where the Wales Street School will be seen; thence westerly to St. David Street, turning north past the Prince of Wales Park Methodist Church on the right, into Martin Street, and thence to High Street, travelling southerly along this street to the Town Hall.

❊ Address & Contact ❊

Northcote Historical & Conservation Society⊜ P.O. Box 205 Northcote | Map
P.O. Box 205Northcote

❊ Web Links ❊

Northcote Historical & Conservation Society

Northcote Hysterical Society

❊ Also See... ❊

Northcote | 3070

❊ COVID-19 Notice ❊

Many locations have gone into lockdown as the state takes action to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).

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