Pender's Grove Estate, Northcote

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Collins, Flinders, Hotham, Dundas, Pender, Bourke & Plenty Roads

 Michael Pender was an original purchaser of Crown Land in the Northcote part of Jika Jika parish in 1839 and 1840 (south of Dundas Street by Darebin Creek).

In November 1885, after Pender’s death, the whole estate (256 acres) was put up for auction. A four page land sale promotion was published attracting property investors and speculators with its promise of the proposed railway to Whittlesea which would ‘greatly increase the value of this fine estate’.   Proximity to the city, a fresh water supply from Darebin Creek and first rate brick clay and areas of quality bluestone on the property were other features that were promoted as well as being ‘admirably adapted for subdivision’.

 Drawings on the promotional leaflet include forested views of the hills in the distance one way and overlooking the bay towards the city.

In 1886 an advertisement appeared for leasing the land to Dairymen, Grazers and others describing it as ‘splendid grass paddock with permanent water’.

The following October, in 1887, the area covering what is now Collins and Flinders Street had been subdivided into allotments and advertised for sale.

Prospective buyers were promised ‘cabs continually passing to and fro’ and ‘luncheon in a spacious waterproof marquee’ so they could attend the sale and buy land for £10 deposit in ‘Pender’s Grove – the Gem of Northcote’

A later sale in December 1887 also offered plots of land in Flinders, Collins, Bourke, Pender and Dundas Streets – for a deposit of £5.

After the auctions, Patterson & Sons reported sale of plots with frontages to Plenty Road which reached as high as £10. 15s per foot. Inside allotments £1. 15s to £4 per foot.

However the sale of the subdivision coincided with the end of the land boom at the end of the 1880s, and the land blocks were very slow to sell.

Pender’s Grove Estate Company were handling the sale at this time and the remaining 239 acres of the estate fell into the hands of the Bank of Victoria in 1895. The company paid the bank £700 as a release from liabilities and went into liquidation.

The bank sold the property to the Closer Settlement Board, who had plans to provide low cost suburban housing for the ‘working man’ on the estate.

Councillors decided these types of ‘inferior’ homes were not what they wanted in Northcote and resisted this development at first.

Eventually Council dropped its opposition to the Pender’s Grove housing scheme and an agreement was formed for the Board to guarantee street construction and set aside some land for parklands for which the Council contributed £1000.

Although the conditions for the housing scheme (including permanent ownership of the land title after leasing) seemed generous, by 1909 there were still only about 18 houses on the estate, mostly in Pender’s and Dundas streets, but further allotments were opened up and the population on the estate grew to 329 by 1911.

Lemon, Andrew. (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen. Advertising.
Argus (Melbourne, Vic: 1848 - 1957), Saturday 24 October 1885, page 14 To Let.
Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic: 1878 – 1903 ) Friday 9 July 1886, p 4
The Great Event of the Season. The Herald (Melbourne, Vic:1861-1954) Friday 9 December 1886, p 3 Property Sales.
Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic: 1869 – 1954) Saturday 17 December 1887, p 13
Pender’s Grove Northcote, 4 page Land Sale pamphlet. 1885. State Library of Victoria. Available online.
Pender’s Grove, Northcote Land Sale [cartographic material]. 1887. State Library of Victoria. Available online.
Pender’s Grove, Northcote Land Sale [cartographic material]. 1888. State Library of Victoria. Available online.