Coburg is a suburb found 8km north of Melbourne’s CBD and it boundaries are: Gaffney St and Murray Rd in the north, Elizabeth St and Merri Creek in the east, Moreland Rd in the south, and Devon Ave, Rose St and Sussex St in the west. It is 7km2 in size and had a population of almost 25,000 people. Its local government is the City of Moreland.
Today almost half of Coburg’s households speak two or more languages and it is regarded as a culturally diverse suburb. However, before European occupation the area was occupied by the Wurundjeri people. By 1837 there was at least one sheep station established on the east bank of Merri Creek. Soon after Bell St and Sydney Rd, first known as Pentridge Rd, were marked out by a local surveyor who named the area Pentridge after his wife’s birthplace in England. The area grew to include several farms and an inn and by 1859 Coburg was connected to mains water and a road board was formed to get roads built in the area.
Blue stone quarrying was soon established and when Pentridge Prison was constructed around 1850, the prisoners were put to work breaking up bluestone for road surfaces as well as for the prison’s impenetrable walls. At the instigation of the local residents, the area’s name was changed in March 1870 to Coburg, in order to be disassociated from the local prison.
The growing borough of Coburg soon had a train line and station as well as a horse tram service along Sydney Rd which was electrified in 1916. Several hotels and commercial premises sprung up along Sydney Rd and some of its historic buildings are still evident today.
The bulk of Coburg’s commerce precinct is on and around Sydney Rd. There, you can find a huge variety of shops, 4 shopping arcades, a small indoor market, several supermarkets and discount stores with ample parking at the rear of the shopping strip. The Victoria St pedestrian mall is a popular place for locals to congregate and enjoy coffee and to watch the world go by. There are several restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars many of which reflect the cultural diversity of Coburg’s inhabitants.
Coburg residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to public transport. The Upfield railway line runs through Coburg with 4 stations servicing the area: Moreland, Coburg, Batman and Merlynston. Also three tram lines run through Coburg along Sydney Rd, Nicholson St and Melville Rd. Cyclists have a choice of many on-road bike lanes as well as the Upfield Bike Path and the Merri Creek Trail. There are also several bus routes including route 527 along Bell St.
Coburg residents have access to a large choice of educational facilities:
- Coburg Special Developmental School,
- Coburg West PS
- Moreland PS
- Coburg North PS
- Coburg PS
- Newlands PS
- St Fidelis PS
- St Pauls PS
- St Bernards
- Coburg Senior High School
- Coburg Junior High School (opening in 2015)
- Antonie Sisters Maronite Catholic School
- Mercy College
- Australian International Academy
There are also two Kangan Institute campuses in Coburg as well as several kindergartens and pre-schools.
The Coburg Lake Reserve is a popular picnic spot on the Merri Creek complete with amphitheatre, 3 playgrounds, walking tracks and wildlife. It’s haven for the whole family. Coburg also has plenty of sporting grounds and clubs including basketball, football, cricket, tennis, baseball swimming, track cycling, soccer and athletics. The John Fawkner Hospital is conveniently located on Moreland Rd. Coburg’s most famous landmark, Pentridge Prison has recently been redeveloped into a housing estate, providing a rare opportunity to build in an established suburb with existing infrastructure.
Moreland City Council: www.moreland.vic.gov.au