William C. Neeland
William C. Neeland arrived in Northcote, aged only 18, from Euroa. He got a job working at Alfred Tharrat's hardware store on the corner of High Street and Arthurton Road. Within four years Neeland had become the manager of the store and Tharratt had moved next door where he established a drapers story.
By 1920 Neelands had bought out Tharratt and had established the store as his own. Neelands premises, at 383-385 High Street Northcote, sprawled from High Street along Arthurton Road, including a joinery, a saw mill, all located between High Street and the Northcote railway station. As well as timber the company also offered hardware, paint, galvanized iron, cement, and virtually all the things you would find in a modern day Bunnings.
In 1925 Neeland consolidated his business at the corner of Railway Parade and Arthurton Road, although keeping a store at 353 High Street to sell crockery, glassware and general hardware. A second store at 529 High Street Preston was opened in 1930.
Neeland was a substantial contributor to Northcote’s financial well being, the Northcote Leader stating that between 1925 and 1933 it had contributed £130,000 in wages and buildings into the community. Neeland had a love of horses and over the years built up a considerable stable and was a member of all the city racing clubs in Victoria. In 1969 Neeland finally retired, aged 80 and sold his premises to Julius Marlow, who established a shoe factory on the site.
City of Northcote (1933). Northcote Jubilee celebrations 1883 – 1933 : souvenir & official program. Northcote: Author.
Northcote Leader, (1933, May 19).
Northcote Leader, (1969, October 1), p.5