Regents Park Estate
During the late 1880s Melbourne experienced a land boom with numerous developers and speculators offering land for sale.
The promise of a railway line in the Preston area encouraged subdivisions of land and plenty of optimism.
In 1888 there were at least 25 different estates on the market in the Preston area including Regent’s Park Estate which offered land for sale in stages, starting in March 1888. At that time the area was known as Preston rather than being part of the current suburb of Reservoir.
In general the optimism of the land developers at this time wasn’t founded for some years to come and much of the land on these estates lay vacant for many years until after the First World War when interest picked up.
It’s possible that different land sale companies may have been selling land during similar periods but using different names for their estates. Mount Grand View Estate began selling allotments later on in 1888 with the same streets on offer (see article on Mount Grand View Estate).
On 28 March the first sale took place on what was also known as ‘Jeffrey’s Paddock’ after the land owned by one of Preston’s early settlers, Samuel Jeffrey.
Advertising for the event was quite poetic in its description of ‘grand panoramic views … and the rolling ocean in the distance’ and promised to be ‘the most important subdivisional sale ever to be held in Preston’
The fact that the land was within a few minutes walking distance from two railway stations ‘rapidly approaching completion’ was a drawcard.
The advert also offered a ‘first class luncheon in spacious marquee with drags, cabs and buggies due to leave several places in the city to bring prospective vendors to the site’. The allotments were on sale for a deposit of £10.
Further sales took place including one on 28 April 1888 which offered 53 villa and business sites almost opposite Preston reservoir in what was Section B of the estate.
The advert boasted of ‘magnificent views in every direction’ and with a reliable water supply and two railway stations about to be opened, the estate was ‘acknowledged to combine in the greatest degree all the advantages claimed for this rapidly rising locality, the highest point in the district.’
Lots were available for £5 deposit and there were strict instructions that no dummy bidding would be allowed.
In 1918 allotments were still available on the estate with a suggestion that land values would increase and that the buyer ‘would soon treble their outlay’.
Promise of a new park being developed in the area was also mentioned. ‘Where the tram goes, land values increase with extraordinary rapidity. The Gilbert Street electric tram goes right to the estate and will eventually be continued onto the artificial lake and gardens in connection with the projected Metropolitan Pleasure Resort.’
The tramway was not extended but the park certainly appeared and Edwardes Lake Park opened in 1920.
Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
Sales by Auction. Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), Tuesday 27 March 1888, page 3
Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 - 1954), Friday 27 April 1888, page 2
Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), Saturday 28 April 1888, page 2
Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), Thursday 14 February 1918, page 6
Regent’s Park Estate Land Sale Poster, March 1888 [cartographic material]. State Library of Victoria. Available online.
Regent’s Park Estate Land Sale Poster, April 1888 [cartographic material]. State Library of Victoria. Available online.