Mount Grand View Estate Preston

Queen, Northernhay, Southernhay & King William Streets

 In the 1880s Melbourne was experiencing a boom time with a great many land sales and housing estates developed. Preston was very much involved in this growth and land belonging to Samuel Jeffrey, an early settler in Preston, was subdivided and put up for sale as building allotments on what became known as Mount Grandview Estate. The main auction sale was held on Saturday 14 July 1888 at 3pm.

The day before the auction, a large advertisement in the Herald newspaper promised a ‘magnificent sub-divisional sale’ of High Street business frontages and residence sites facing onto Queen, King William, Northernhay and Southernhay Streets. Today these streets are listed as being in the suburb of Reservoir but in the early days when the estate was formed, the area was part of Preston.

No language can adequately describe the rare and unsurpassed beauty of its surroundings. Its elevation above the level of the sea affords from any part one of the most extensive and charming panoramic views of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, its spires and domes standing out in bold relief against the azure sky and sparkling sea. Where Earth and Heaven kiss.

As you see from this description, developers went to great lengths and used very descriptive prose to persuade people of the value of the land especially when on a hill with views. Also at the time many people believed that high ground was healthier, away from the ‘bad air’ of lower areas. It was probably true that being on higher ground would mean avoiding the foul smelling drains to be found in much of Melbourne and its suburbs before the coming of proper drainage in the 1890s.

The sales company hoped to entice people by making special arrangements for drays and other conveyances to meet the Clifton Hill trams to get them to the site of the auction. Much was made of public transport in the advertisement saying that the railway would be opening by ‘the first of the year and would bring this estate within 18 minutes of the city.’   The land sale poster below shows the railway station as ‘Preston’, but is in fact what we know today as Regent station.

Also the benefits of the tramway along High Street was being promoted.

The land has been subdivided in a most liberal manner with noble depths and 12ft rights of way all through, and from its elevation that the drainage is perfect, goes without saying.’

A second sale of further lots was held on Saturday 1 September. £5 deposit with balance in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months at 6% interest.

It’s possible that different land sale companies may have been selling land during similar periods but using different names for their estates. Regent's Park Estate began selling allotments earlier on in 1888 with the same streets on offer (see article on Regent's Park Estate). 

Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston. Advertisement.
The Lorgnette (Melbourne Vic: 1878 – 1898) Weds 11 July 1888, p 4 Auctions.
The Herald (Melbourne Vic: 1861 – 1954) Friday 13 July 1888, p 4 Mercury & Weekly Courier. (Vic 1878 – 1903) Friday 31 August p, 2  
Mount Grand-View Estate, Preston, facing railway station (land sale poster). Publisher. Melbourne: Mason, Firth & M’Cutcheon [1888]. State Library of Victoria.