Coburg, Victoria

From Academic Kids

Coburg is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is in the Local Government Area of the City of Moreland. The boundaries of Coburg are Gaffney Street and Murray Road in the north, Elizabeth Street and Merri Creek in the east, Moreland Road in the South and Melville Road, Devon Avenue, Sussex Street and West Street in the west.

Contents

People

According to 2001 Census data, 22,250 people live in Coburg with the population steadily declining over the past 20 years. The suburb is highly culturally diverse with above average proportion of citizens born overseas and a high proportion of citizens who speak a language other than English at home.

Religious affiliation is very high in Coburg with two thirds of citizens declaring themselves to be Christian, but also with a substantial Muslim population.

History

Prior to European occupation, the area around Coburg and Merri Creek was occupied by the Woiworung of the Kulin Nation. The Woiworung had a religious relationship to their land, participating in corroborees and sacred ceremonies on Merri Creek.

Coburg was first surveyed by Robert Hoddle in 1837 - 1838, and he recorded that a Mr Hyatt had a sheep station and hut on the east bank of the Merri Creek, near present Outlook Road. Hoddle marked out a 327 acre (1.3 km²) village reserve with two roads for the district: Bell Street West and Pentridge Road, later called Sydney Road. In 1840 the place was named Pentridge by a surveyor called Henry Foot who lived and worked near Merri Creek. It was named after the birthplace of Foot's wife: Pentridge, Dorset, England.

An extremely wealthy surgeon, Dr Farquhar McCrae, purchased 600 acres (2.4 km²) in the area which he called Moreland. In 1841 he also bought land called 'La Rose' in what is now known as Pascoe Vale South. The house he built in 1842 or 1843 is now known as Wentworth House, and is the oldest known private dwelling in Victoria still standing on its original site and the fifth oldest building in Victoria.

In 1842 the first inn, The Golden Fleece, was built on Sydney Road just north of Page Street. Twenty one farms were in the area by 1849. With the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s the population of the area grew rapidly. In 1858 water mains from Yan Yean were connected and the first local paper, the Brunswick and Pentridge Press, was started. In 1859 the Pentridge District Road Board was formed to get roads built in the area, the start of local government for the area.

Quarrying of bluestone began in the area 1850s, and by 1875 there were 41 quarries in Coburg. In December 1850 sixteen prisoners were moved from an overcrowded Melbourne Gaol to a stockade at Pentridge. Prisoners at what came to be called HM Prison Pentridge were immediately put on hard labour by breaking up bluestone for road surfaces. In 1867 a public meeting was called to change the name of the district, as residents were stigmatised and embarrassed at living in a suburb principally known for its gaol, Pentridge Prison. Robert Mailer of Glencairn suggested that the suburb name be changed to Coburg, inspired by the impending visit to the colony of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was a member of the royal house of Saxe-Coburg. The government agreed with the proposal and the change was made in March 1870.

Sydney Road attracted numerous hotels and commercial premises in the 1860s. Friendly societies soon formed: Manchester Unity (1863), Druids (1867), Rechabites (1868) and a St. Patrick's Society (1870). Coburg became a shire in 1875.

The Upfield railway line opened in 1884, and the Coburg railway station was built in 1888. In February 1889 the horse tram service began along Sydney Road. Electric trams started in service in 1916.

By 1899 there were 6000 people in the district. Coburg was gazetted as a borough in 1905 with Thomas Greenwood and his wife Martha becoming Coburg's first Mayor and Mayoress. The Public Hall built in 1869 was extended in 1909, but was still inadequate for the growing city. The new Town Hall was built and opened in 1923, with further extensions in 1928.

Lake Reserve is a popular picnic spot on the Merri Creek. The land was purchased in 1912 and a weir was constructed in 1915 to form a lake contained by basaltic outcroppings. The reserve was immensely popular, with diving boards, wading pools, kiosk and gardens, and continues to be a favourite picnic spot, also accessed by the Merri Creek Trail.

After World War I there was significant development east of Sydney Road, with the former East Coburg Primary School opening in 1926.

In 1994 the 135-year-old Municipality of Coburg ceased to exist when it merged with Brunswick to become the new City of Moreland.

Transport

The stations of Moreland and Coburg on the Upfield railway line service the suburb.

Two tram lines service the area. The number 19 tram service travels along Sydney Road from the terminus at Bakers road, North Coburg to Flinders Street Station in the city. The number 1 tram service travels from the terminus at Bell Street, Coburg, along Nicholson Street, then Lygon Street Brunswick East, Swanston Street past Flinders Street Station to South Melbourne.

Cyclists have available many on road cycle lanes as well as the Upfield Bike Path and the Merri Creek Trail.


Landmarks

Major features of the area include the Sydney Road commercial area, the Moreland City Council civic centre precinct on Bell Street, the John Fawkner Hospital on Moreland Road, and Lake Reserve on Merri Creek. The suburb's most famous landmark is HM Prison Pentridge, which has recently been redeveloped into a housing estate. Land prices have risen considerably since 2001 with the street "The Grove" being the most prestigious.

References

  • Richard Broome, Coburg: Between two creeks, Melbourne, 1987
  • Laurie Burchell (ed), Coburg Chronicles, Coburg, 1998


External links

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