The City of Darebin


Oz Sports History

Preston Park : 1909
Preston and Gowerville Park (Home).

Preston and Gowerville Park

Our understanding of how the Park looked during Preston's first tilt at the Victorian Football Association is greatly enhanced by the discovery of a Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works of 1909.  The map extended east to around Cooma Street, the section relevant to the Park is illustrated above.
(M.M.B.W. Map 2386)
The pavilion (3) shows as four rooms with a fence into the member's reserve just to the south with gates half-way between the oval and the external fence.  The northern reserve boundary (1) runs off Cramer Street with the gate about five metres in, the small building (2) shown in the forward pocket was presumably the press box.
A few yards to the south-west of the reserve gate next to the railway line is a small building marked "C.C" - this not one of the designated M.M.B.W. abbreviations and the "C.C" may possibly be "Cricket Club" and some sort of storage area. The scale is hard to gauge, but it was probably no more than ten feet square.  
Gates to the Park itself are not shown, but other material and the oblique angles in the map reveal that there were two at the corners of Mary Street with Cramer and Bruce, and the positioning of the northern member's fence suggest there was the third ticket box mentioned in the upgrade of 1904 was probably in Cramer Street and the entrance still in use.
Note the five single-storey cottages (64 to 72 Cramer Street) opposite that survived through to around 1960 when demolished for Preston Market.   Towards the bottom centre (4) on the corner of Mary Street is "Hazelglen", occupied by Cr. Fred. Bayliss when he went into bat for the football club in their bid to gain access to the Park in 1885.
Zwar's Parkside Tannery is on the corner of Cramer and Mary streets and the original Council Club Hotel shows on the corner of Cramer and High Streets, but only four buildings - the National Bank Receiving Office, McGeorge brothers, auctioneers, Wilkinson's timber yard (5) and the residence of Cr. Joseph Newton show on the western side of High Street.
Although not clear from this reduced image, gates are shown at the Bruce Street railway crossing - these were removed prior to the electrification of the line in 1921. The perspective is difficult to judge, but it appears that 12 Mary Street(7) used initially by the Railways Department and later by the caretaker of the Park may have been outside the fence line of the Park.
Sewerage was not laid on to the Park until 1916, hence there are no connections shown, although it is perhaps surprising that water pipes do not appear (the map is marked as "Sewerage", which may be the explanation.