William Swift

(1862 - 1945)

William Swift was probably one of the most significant men in Northcote’s history from the 1890s through to the 1920s. After a brief stint as the Assistant Town Clerk at Collingwood, Swift arrived in Northcote in 1885 to take up the position of Town Clerk. He was to hold the position for 38 years and in doing so earned a reputation as being the “…guide, philosopher and friend…” of successive Councillors and business people.

Swift was well known for long speeches, reminiscing about the “old days” of Northcote so it came as no surprise that, after his retirement in October 1923, he would write a history of Northcote.  

Published in 1928, The History of Northcote is one of the most important local history resources on the early history of the suburb. 

Swift died in 1945.

Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.