High Street embankment

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The south side of Rucker’s Hill formed a formidable challenge to travellers in the 1840s and 50s. Land surveyor Robert Hoddle had planned for the main road to run directly up the steep hill, causing much hard work and swearing from teamsters and travellers as they wearily slogged their way up the hill.

The first embankment was created by the Central Roads Board in 1854. In 1860, local publican and contractor, George Plant carried out further work, easing the burden of travellers, and, not co-incidentally, stopping them from bypassing Rucker’s Hill, and thereby his hotel, the Peacock Inn at the top of the hill.

In 1890 the coming of the cable tram and rising property values convinced the Northcote Council that it was time to improve the embankment. At a cost of £3,000 the embankment was extended and widened, with strong bluestone walls holding the construction in place. The cost of the works was split between the Northcote Council and the Clifton Hill to Northcote and Preston Tram Company.

During the course of the work the forge of Owen Burgess, the long time Northcote blacksmith was demolished.