We all know Preston today for the amazing range of different cuisines on offer, and for the vibrant, community feel. But how well do you really know the area? Here are eleven little tidbits we bet you knew nothing about…
11 Things You Didn’t Know About Preston
1. The current day City of Darebin is situated on land that originally belonged to the Wurundjeri-willam clan, one of the two branches of the Wurrundjeri balug tribe.
2. Samuel Jeffrey, the first white resident, nicknamed the suburb “Irishtown”. In 1850, he bought another tract of land in the suburb, which took his property to the edge of what is now Preston Primary School.
3. In the 1850s, the first store – a post office – was opened in the district by Edward Wood. The store was on the corner of High St and Wood St. If it were still standing today, it would be opposite the modern day Preston Hotel.
4. Members of the local church wanted to name the town “Brighton”, after their former home in England, but the name was already taken. Instead, they named it after Preston, a village near Brighton – not to be confused with the city on England’s north-coast – on September 11, 1885.
5. Until 1885, Preston had been formally known as Jika Jika Shire. Jika Jika was an electoral district for Victoria’s lower house until 1927, when it was replaced by the electoral district of Northcote. The seat is now held my Greens MP Lidia Thorpe.
6. In 1861, at the time of the first census, the population was just 623 people – 1.89% of the 32,851 people who were listed as Preston residents after the 2016 census!
7. The Preston Bullants Football Club, now aligned with Carlton Football Club and known as the Northern Blues, was formed in 1882, meaning the club is older than AFL powerhouses such as Richmond and Collingwood. You can catch AFL-listed players battling it out in the VFL at Preston City Oval every second weekend!
8. High St was relaid in 1929, much to the chagrin of one lorry driver, who managed to bog his cart on the road while it was under construction in 1930.
9. In 1934, High Street was finally declared as a main road! Today, more than 7000 cars go through the intersection connecting High Street/Bell Street during an hour of peak traffic.
10. Roy Cazaly – you know, from “Up there, Cazaly” – coached the Preston Bullants in the VFA in 1931, at the height of the Great Depression. They finished third but were knocked out of the finals by Northcote, who dissolved in 1987. The premiership was eventually won by Oakleigh, who dissolved in 1994. In 1995, the VFA became the modern VFL competition.
11. Preston became easily accessible in 1904 when a direct rail link between Collingwood, Flinders Street and the suburb was built. The route was electrified n 1926. Today, it’s easy to get to Preston Central using the South Morang line, or via tram.
By Jack Banister, The Township
City Oval image via www.instagram.com/nickrmg/