Huttonham Estate Preston
In 1937 the Huttonham Estate in Preston was created and subdivided into 100 building allotments. The land was located between Bell Street and Stokes and Penola Streets.
The estate was named after Hutton’s ham and small goods business which operated nearby in Oakover Road and would have been a potential employer of the residents.
The allotments bordering Bell Street sold for £4 /10 shillings per foot, whilst those on Stokes and Penola Streets fetched £2 to £2 / 5 shillings per foot as the roads were unmade.
The estate became well established.
In 1939, due to a shortage of housing in the area, the Housing Commission called for tenders to build 80 public houses on the estate. The site was one of the first to be purchased by the Housing Commission after it came into being and the Huttonham Estate was one of the first to be developed.
The brick houses were planned to range from small one bedroom dwellings to houses capable of accommodating families of between 10 and 12.
An article in the Herald said that the houses with one bedroom ‘will be for the elderly married couples who have no families’.
Other articles say that each unit has a laundry with two tubs and a fuel copper. Every kitchen having a ventilated food cupboard and bathrooms equipped with chip heaters and showers. Each unit would have the same size garden of a rectangle of 40ft by 100ft.
By the middle of 1940 the houses had been erected.
However, there was some criticism from the Council and some ratepayers describing the houses as ‘a menace to health’ and ‘a shade better than slum dwellings’.
Another comment said that ‘the kitchen-dining room scheme was not suitable. It meant that husband and wife would not be able to get away from the atmosphere of work. Another bad idea was to have the wash house in the centre of the building with the result would be that steam would pervade everything.’
At the same time there were articles and letters praising the new houses as being ‘well built, serviceable and a credit to the district … not ornate, but having a nicely finished exterior and the interior is sufficiently advanced to show a high standard.’
After many years of serving as family homes, by 2011 the remaining public housing on the site had been demolished.
Auctions. Northcote Leader 4 November 1937 page 11
Subdivision at Preston. Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 1848 - 1957), Monday 22 November 1937, page 9
Plans for 1000 new dwellings. Herald (Melbourne, Vic. 1861 - 1954), Saturday 23 September 1939, page 28
12 Commission homes ready tomorrow. Herald (Melbourne, Vic. 1861 - 1954), Friday 9 February 1940, page 4
Commission homes: criticised by Council. Age (Melbourne, Vic. 1854 - 1954), Tuesday 12 December 1939, page 10
The Preston Houses. Age (Melbourne, Vic. 1854 - 1954), Friday 29 December 1939, page 8