Compiled for Darebin Heritage by Brian Membrey

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The Citizens

In this part of Darebin Heritage we look at some of the more prominent 1888 citizens that made up much of our Northcote history, Preston history and Darebin Heritage

One of Melbourne's earliest significant published histories was "Victoria and Its Metropolis - Past and Present". The book, of around 780 pages, covered the development of Melbourne and what were thought of as suburbs (such as Northcote), with an additional section devoted to "outlying districts", which included Preston.

Around 300 of the pages were devoted to pen-pictures of Melbourne's leading citizens, establishments and businesses. Given the style of the entries and the widely varying length, it seems likely that the people completed some sort of questionnaire (it's hard to imagine the author interviewing well over 1,000 separate individuals).

Supporting this theory is the omission of a few people known to be prominent in the Preston area - for example, William Paterson, J. P. who opened the district's first bacon and ham curing factory in 1862 and had by 1888 been a local councillor for 17 years including several as Shire President.

There is considerable similarity between the entry for John Clinch with an interview he gave the Preston Leader when he retired from public office in 1904.

Perhaps the competition in "outlying districts" wasn't quite as hot, but is seems unusual that Preston, with probably just a third of the population provided just as many entries as their "big brother", Northcote.

Areas to the north of Preston - Epping, Thomastown, Bundoora, Janefield and Germantown - were included under "The County of Bourke", again with a surprising number of entries, mostly in agricultural pusuits.

Other shires within Bourke were Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, Braybrook, Broadmeadows, Bulla, Gisborne, Keilor, Melton, Merriang, Romsey, Springfield, Whittlesea and Wyndham.