The key of South Preston

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Showers Street

At the time of this land sale in 1888 a land boom was taking place with numerous companies being formed along with individuals subdividing and offering land for sale. Charles Showers was one of these people who were seeking to make money during the boom by selling off land and marketing it as ‘The key of South Preston’. Showers Street forms the major part of this estate and appears to be named after Charles Showers who was the owner of the land for sale and had interests in North Fitzroy. His father, Robert had also been an early property owner in Preston and Darebin Creek. Charles was interested in local politics and as well as being a Councillor he also went onto become Shire President of Preston in 1891-2.

Sixty villa and business sites were offered for sale for a deposit of £5 with a promise of ‘plentiful water supplies’ and that ‘gas will shortly be laid right to the estate.’ Plans for an extension of the Whittlesea railway line with stations in Preston was seen as a big drawcard and the South Preston station (Bell) is mentioned on the land sale poster.

The railway line and stations were opened the following year in 1889.

'Remember – that this property is situated in the very heart of the business centre of South Preston and immediately on the railway station.’

 ‘Conveyances will meet the Clifton Hill Trams on the day of sale and convey intending purchasers to the ground.’

 However, much of the land for sale during the boom lay vacant for many years until interest picked up just before and certainly after the First World War.

According to a street directory in 1910 there were still only 10 houses built on Showers Street.
Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
Lorgnette (Melbourne, Vic: 1878 - 1898), Saturday 14 January 1888, page 1
Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic: 1885 - 1939), Friday 23 October 1891, page 1
Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974. Melbourne, Australia: Sands & McDougall.
Plan of the Key of South Preston Estate [cartographic material]. 1888. State Library of Victoria. Available online.