Although coming in the years immediately following the Armistice, the First World
War had a significant effect of the surrounds of the Park with many of the double-fronted
bungalow style houses to the immediate west and south-west (especially Arthur and
Edith streets) constructed for returned servicemen as part of a War Service Homes
scheme sponsored by the Federal Government.
"... the first houses that the War Services Homes built in Australia are down between
Bell Station and the football ground, Arthur Street, 'round that area. They go back
to 1919. I know that because at one stage in the fifties we were making a big thing
of the 100,000th house that we'd lent money on, and we were looking for the first
one and it was one of those places down there in Arthur or Gertrude Street, There's
another bit, Esther Street alongside of Bell Station ..."
Ron Ashworth, a former public servant with War Service Homes, quoted from "Back In
Them Days"- An Oral History of Preston edited by Roger J. Jones, City of Darebin,
Although not quite so close to the Park, many of the houses off the western side
of High Street to the south of Bell Street (Gertrude, Adeline and Esther streets)
were constructed as part of the same program - the streets themselves were not laid
out until around 1920.
Preston and Gowerville Park
War Service Homes. South-western end of Arthur Street, pictured circa 1922. The Preston Club, now the Darebin R.S.L. later acquired one or perhaps two of these as part of today's site.