Preston, Victoria

Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb
name = Preston
city = Melbourne
state = vic

caption = High Street, Preston
lga = City of Darebin
postcode = 3072
pop = 27,892 (2006) Census 2006 AUS | id = SSC21553 | name = Preston (State Suburb) | accessdate = 2007-09-17 | quick = on]
area = 11.3
est =
propval = $465,000 [ [ Preston] , accessed 27 November 2006]
stategov = Preston, Northcote
fedgov = Batman
dist1 = 10
location1= Melbourne
dist2 =
near-nw = Coburg North
near-n = Reservoir
near-ne = Bundoora
near-w = Coburg
near-e = Heidelberg West
near-sw = Coburg
near-s = Thornbury
near-se = Ivanhoe

Preston is a residential and industrial suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, located 10 km north of Melbourne's central business district.



The area where Preston now resides was first surveyed by Robert Hoddle in 1837 for sub-division. In 1850,Edward Wood, a settler from Sussex, England, opened a store at the corner of High Street and Wood Street. The original name for Preston was Irishtown. Meeting at the Wood store, members of the Ebenezer Church, Particular Baptist from Brighton, England met to change the name. They wanted to name the town after their former home in Sussex, but Brighton was already taken. Instead they named it after Preston, a small village also in Sussex, where the church members had happy annual outings. [Douglas Wood 24/04/08] .

The first church was accompanied by a growing number of hotels and other stores, which had emerged some 2 kilometres south of Wood's store at the junction of Plenty Road and High Street, the latter of which served as a route to Sydney. Throughout the 1880s the area between Wood's Store and the junction would be known as "Gowerville".

1854 saw the establishment of the area's first primary schools, an Anglican and a Wesleyian school. The first state school opened in 1866 to the east of the junction settlement, but was later joined by another, the Tyler Street School which had opened in 1875, north-east of Wood's store. The two denominational schools closed shortly before the Tyler Street School had opened.

During its formative years, Preston was heavily reliant on an abundance of fertile land for farming, dairying and market gardens. Areas that were not productive however, yielded clay for pottery and bricks. The 1860s saw the development of Preston's industrial capacity, with a bacon-curing factory opening in 1862, followed by a tannery in 1865. These original establishments would be followed by several larger factories, including Huttons Hams and Bacons and Zwar's Parkside Tannery.

1889 saw the opening of the first rail line between Collingwood and Whittlesea, passing through Preston. The new line provided stations at Bell Street, Regent Street, Reservoir and centrally in Preston.

Throughout the 1880s, Preston with its abundance of land and newly built rail stations was marketed as a residential area, capable of supporting 20,000 inhabitants. Between 1887 and 1891 Preston's population nearly doubled from 2,000 to 3,600. The majority of residential development took place within the corridor contained by Plenty and High Streets, however there was also limited development in the west of the town, along Gilbert Road. These areas would remain areas of growth well into the 20th Century.

Urban growth

Urban growth accelerated in Preston during the 1920s, thanks largely to the establishment of a direct rail link between Collingwood and Flinders Street in 1904 (later electrified in 1926), and a building of a tram line linking Melbourne and the city in 1920. The now famous Preston Tram Sheds would later be built in 1925. The reticulation of electricity took place in 1914, with the building of Preston's sewers taking place between 1909 and 1915. 1915 also saw the establishment of the West Preston primary school, which by 1927 had grown to accommodate more than 1,000 students. West Preston primary school would later be joined by a primary school in Preston East in 1927, and later by a Girl's High School in 1929. By 1922, Preston had been formally recognised as a borough, two months later it had become a town, and finally by 1915, Preston had been proclaimed a city.

With the 1930s and the Great Depression came economic hardship for Preston. However, capital works projects-which included the designation of new parks and reserves and the paving of roads, helped attract new residents to the area. Preston bucked the economic status quo by recording rapid growth between the period 1933 and 1947, with the population growing by some 40%. This growth also resulted in the establishment of a technical school in 1937, which would later become a campus of the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. A notable highlight for Preston residents during the era of depression was VFL legend Ron ("Up There") Cazaly's coaching of the local football team.

Two world wars provided Preston with two awardees of the Victoria Cross - the Empire's highest military award for valour-Bruce Kingsbury and William Ruthven, both of whom lent their name to future localities.

The post war period would also see Preston experience rapid growth. Between 1947 and 1954 the population grew by 37% topping 64,000. A 15 year joint vision between the Preston and Northcote Councils would later culminate in 1958 with the construction of the Preston & Northcote Community Hospital (PANCH). This period also saw the construction of some 2,600 Housing Commission of Victoria dwellings which continued up to 1966, by which time said dwellings accommodated approximately 11% of Preston population.

The acquisition of former Housing Commission land by the Myer Emporium led to the opening of the Northland Shopping Centre in 1966.

Currently, the suburb of Preston exists to the south of the original Preston municipal area. Suburbs which were once part of this include: Reservoir, Ruthven, Keon Park and Kingsbury.


Preston is bordered to the east by the Darebin Creek, a small tributary to the Yarra River and consists largely of flat terrain ideal initially for farming, but later for industrial and residential development.

The original abundance of land resulted in low density urban development of Preston's former farmland, however population pressures and Preston's locality with respect to the Melbourne CBD has led to a growing tendency to medium to high-density urban redevelopment.


Preston's census populations have been 623 (1861), 3,563 (1891) and 6,555 (1921). The Preston municipality's census populations were 5,049 (1911), 33,442 (1933), 46,775 (1947), 84,146 (1961) and 76,996 (1991). [ [ 1] ]

The three postwar decades saw an influx of European immigrants into the Preston area, later followed by Asian refugees in the 80s. By 1986 some 30% of the population was foreign born.


Although Preston is a large suburb, there are sections of it where class varies.East Preston is lower class consisting of smaller houses and shady streets.South Preston is closer to Thornbury and has more of an alternative appeal.West Preston is the most expensive part of Preston, consisting of larger homes, well kept sidewalks and nature strips and large established trees in its streets. Most exclusive streets are, Collins St, Grange St, Grandview Rd, Creamer St, Bruce St, Bischoff St, Mount St, James St, and Gilbert Rd between Bell St and Murray Rd.


Preston is part of the Darebin City municipality, whose offices are located at the former Preston Town Hall. Preston lies within the Federal electorate of Batman, which is the current seat of The Hon. Martin Ferguson, M.P., a member of the Australian Labor Party. The State Electoral District of Preston incorporates all of Preston (and some parts of Reservoir), and is currently represented by Robin Scott, M.L.A. of the {Australian Labor Party|ALP] .

Arts and entertainment

As part of City of Darebin, Preston has an active and eclectic artists and DIY community which is contemporary, experimental and culturally diverse. Writers, musicians and visual artists flock to the locality for performance, collaboration and acceptance. Notable contributors to the Darebin arts community are locals, Rose Turtle Ertler, Sundown and/or Last Stand, The Contrast, the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective, DIY artshows and housegigs collective, Loveanarchistpress Publishing, Performing Older Women's Circus (POW Circus), but this is only a drop in the ocean. Darebin celebrates the artistry and diversity of the community with regular festivals and events such as the Darebin Music Feast and the High Vibes festival.


. The Falcons were first division premiers in 2006 and 2007.

Preston has also been home to the Preston Lions Football Club since its inception in 1947 and currently competes in the highest soccer league in Victoria, the Foxtel Cup (VPL). The Preston Lions Football Club play their home games at B. T. Connor Reserve. The club has a large successful junior base with teams from under 8's to under 18's and also have a women's team who also compete in the highest league in the state, the Women's Premier League. In 2007 the Lions finished the season as Minor Premiers and then went on to claim the Championship in front of more than 5,500 people as the Lions won 3-1 against the Whittlesea Zebras.

Eating Out

Preston has a wide variety of restaurants, including fine dining and fast food. High street has been transformed lately, with many new cafes and restaurants opening and becoming popular with the youth in the area.


Preston is serviced by both tram, train and an extensive bus system. The suburb is serviced by two train stations, Bell and Preston, both located on the Epping railway line. A number of trams services operate though the suburb, including the route 11 to Collins Street, route 86 to Docklands, and route 112 to Fitzroy Street.

Bus routes 250, 251, and 513 also operate, in addition to the 527 which runs to Northland Shopping Centre, the Preston Market and High Street. 250 goes to La Trobe Uni from the City in the Eastern side of Preston, and 251 to the City form Northland Shopping Centre. 513 is a cross bus coming form Glenroy and heading to Eltham either through Lower Plenty or Greensbrough and Watsonia.


External links

* [ "Australian Places - Preston"]
* [ "Darebin City Council"]


* Carroll, Brian and Rule, Ian, "Preston: An Illustrated History", City of Preston, 1985.
* Forster, H.W.,"Preston Lands and People", F.W. Cheshire, 1968.

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