Northcote, Victoria

Coordinates: 37°46′20″S 144°59′58″E / 37.7722°S 144.9994°E / -37.7722; 144.9994
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Northcote Town Hall
Northcote is located in Melbourne
Location in metropolitan Melbourne
Coordinates37°46′20″S 144°59′58″E / 37.7722°S 144.9994°E / -37.7722; 144.9994
Population25,276 (2021 census)[1]
 • Density4,010/km2 (10,390/sq mi)
Elevation55 m (180 ft)
Area6.3 km2 (2.4 sq mi)
Location7 km (4 mi) NE of Melbourne
LGA(s)City of Darebin
State electorate(s)Northcote
Federal division(s)Cooper
Suburbs around Northcote:
Brunswick East Thornbury Thornbury
Brunswick East Northcote Fairfield
Fitzroy North Clifton Hill Fairfield

Northcote (/ˈnɔːθkət/ ) is an inner-city suburb in Melbourne, Victoria,[2] Australia, 7 km (4.3 mi) north-east of Melbourne's Central Business District, located within the City of Darebin local government area. Northcote recorded a population of 25,276 at the 2021 census.[1]


Melbourne in 1888

The area now known as Northcote is on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people. According to the Darebin Historical Encyclopedia,[3] European settlers knew the Wurundjeri as the 'Yarra' tribe. They were closely associated with the Yarra River and its subsidiaries, with various subgroups of the tribe owning lands at various spots on the course of the Yarra.

The southerly surveyed portion is now Westgarth. It was the area further north of present-day Westgarth which saw settlement and development, particularly around the mansion built by William Rucker on Bayview Street in 1842 (the area now known as Ruckers Hill). Large, expensive houses were built throughout the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s. Lower Plenty Road (or High Street as it is known today) became the central street of Northcote, instead of Westgarth Street as initially proposed. A bridge was built across the Merri Creek in 1858, making access to the area more convenient. Throughout the 1850s, churches, schools, and hotels were built. (see Timeline). The Pilgrim Inn became the Red House hotel, at the back of which the owner, G. F. Goyder, constructed a racetrack, on which steeplechase and walking races were conducted.[4]

Throughout the 1880s, land in Northcote was relatively cheap. This attracted speculative property investors, as well as people of limited financial means, setting in place Northcote's reputation as a working-class suburb. More businesses opened along High Street, as well as churches and schools. The Little Sisters of the Poor began building on a site along St Georges Road, which still exists today. The town hall was built in 1890, the same year the Borough of Northcote was proclaimed. The Northcote Football Club was established in 1898, with its home ground at Northcote Park.

The Northcote Picture Theatre opened in 1912. Its building is now one of the oldest surviving picture theatres in Victoria.[citation needed] It is now used as a live music venue. A free library opened in 1911, financed by Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Throughout the 1920s, development grew along St Georges Road. Northcote High School opened in 1926.

The Preston and Northcote Community Hospital (commonly known as "PANCH")[5] at 205 Bell Street, opened in 1958.

Public transport[edit]

Access to Northcote via public transport was initially via the Inner Circle line, which when linked to the Heidelberg line in 1888, ran close to the southern border of the suburb. The line to Whittlesea was opened in 1891, creating a direct line to Northcote, although the line initially journeyed via Royal Park, Carlton North, and Fitzroy North, before a line was built from Clifton Hill to Melbourne through the suburbs of Collingwood and Richmond in 1901 to 1903.[citation needed] The northern section of the Inner Circle Line was closed to passengers in 1948, leaving the eastern section (from Melbourne to Clifton Hill, via Richmond and Collingwood).


Eight bus routes service Northcote:


Northcote has five railway stations along two lines. The Mernda line serves Merri, Northcote and Croxton stations. The Hurstbridge line serves Westgarth and Dennis stations.


A cable tram began operations along High Street in 1890.[citation needed] It was replaced in the early 1940s by a double-decker bus service, which was in turn replaced with an electric tram service in the 1950s (now tram route ). An electric tram service opened along St Georges Road in 1920 (now tram route ).

21st century gentrification[edit]

Northcote as a suburb has undergone gentrification over the last 25 years. In the 1990s, Northcote was classified as a low socio-economic area relative to the rest of Melbourne.[14] During the 1996 to 2006 decade, the number of two earner households rose by ten percentage points; the share of households in the top income quintile went from 14 to 19 per cent; and, the percentage of persons age 15 years and above with a bachelor's degree or high rose from 14 to 27 per cent (a much greater increase than experience by Melbourne as a whole). In 2011, a report from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute at Swinburne and Monash universities revealed Northcote had experienced the most intense gentrification of any Melbourne suburb in recent years. In 2013, Northcote was one of only four Melbourne suburbs whose median house price was at an all-time peak.[15] This has resulted in a significant change in the demographics of the suburb. An AHURI report states that between 2001 and 2006, almost 35 per cent of the members of vulnerable groups, including low-income households, single parent families and immigrants, had moved out of the area.

Since 2006, the most significant increases in occupation have come from those working in professional and managerial roles, with less residents now living in Northcote employed in manual labour positions. As a result, residents of Northcote now earn on average $1536 a week, $200 per week higher than the Melbourne average.[16] These changes in the population and demographics of Northcote and the greater Darebin area, have led to increases in the amount of cafes, bars, restaurants and other small businesses operating in the region. Estimates suggest that the greater Darebin area has seen its gross regional product increase by $1 billion in the last 10 years, to $5.23 billion.[17]

In 2011, 68.9% of residents in Northcote were born in Australia. However, 54% of those residents born in Australia had at least one parent born overseas, and 38.7% had both parents born overseas. This reflects the large numbers of second-generation families living in the area.[18]

The most common languages spoken in Northcote other than English are:

  • Greek (9.5%)
  • Italian (4.5%)
  • Vietnamese (1.2%)
  • Arabic (1.0%)
  • Mandarin (1.0%)


All Nations Park[edit]

All Nations Park is located adjacent to the Northcote Plaza Shopping Centre (which itself opened in October 1981 at the site of the old brickworks).[citation needed]

All Nations Park is a contemporary 13 hectare regional park created on the site of the former Northcote brickworks. When the brickworks closed the site became a tip. In the 1980s, the rubbish still remaining in the site was sealed beneath a compacted clay 'cap', and was then covered in soil, including the formation of an artificial hill which newcomers to the area sometimes mistake for Ruckers Hill (actually located a few hundred metres to the southeast). There are also vents built into the ground to vent the gases produced by the landfill underneath, which prevents pressure under the soil from building up and potentially causing an explosion.[19]

There are skating facilities, as well as basketball courts, play equipment and picnic facilities. There is a lot of open space. There is also a large native garden giving special attention to plants indigenous to the area, and a series of ponds.

The park was also the location of a December 2008 shooting involving police and a 15-year-old boy named Tyler Cassidy. Cassidy was shot several times and died on location.,[20] Tyler Cassidy is the youngest person confirmed to have been killed by Police in Australia.

Gumbri (Batman) Park[edit]

Gumbri Park, formerly Batman Park, (Coordinates 37°46′05″S 144°59′34″E / 37.768054°S 144.9926958°E / -37.768054; 144.9926958 ) is a 1.6 hectares (4.0 acres) metropolitan park. It was purchased by the Northcote Council in 1907 and is recognised for its historical significance as the second oldest park in Northcote.[21] It hosts many established trees for shade and is close to buses, trains and trams. As part of a wider campaign to remove the controversial explorer John Batman's name from public places and buildings, the park was renamed from Batman Park to Gumbri Park in May 2017, in honour of the last Aboriginal girl to be born on Coranderrk mission.[22] 1n 2018, the name change was rejected by the direct descendants of Gumbri, Ian and Gary Hunter, so the name change was rejected by the Office of Geographic Names.[23] The current status of the name change is unknown as a result. The park hosts a playcentre, a playground, toilets, and the Pioneer's Retreat building, currently used by an incorporated association, We-Cycle.

Johnson Park[edit]

Johnson Park is a popular large neighbourhood park of almost two hectares. The land Johnson Park occupies was purchased by the former City of Northcote in 1859. The traditional owners of land where Johnson Park stands today are the Wurundjeri-Willampatriliny people. In 1913, five acres was bought in Bastings Street on the flat low-lying basalt soils between Rucker Hill and Darebin Creek. Originally known as the East Ward Park, it was slowly transformed into what was to become Johnson Park today.[24]


The state seat of Northcote is currently represented by Kat Theophanous, a member of the Labor Party and the federal seat of Cooper, which covers Northcote, is held by Ged Kearney, also from the ALP. The state seat of Northcote was one of the safest Labor seats in the entire country, being held by a Labor member continuously from 1927 to 2017. After a steady increase in their primary vote from the early 2000s, The Greens eventually won the seat in the 2017 by-election following the death of Labor member Fiona Richardson, represented by Lidia Thorpe. Labor then regained the seat following the 2018 Victorian state election.

The ALP in Northcote has been the subject of a number of academic studies. Ethnic branches were established in Northcote during 1975, the first in Victoria.[25] The first branches were Westgarth, a Greek branch, and Croxton, an Italian branch.[26] An additional Greek branch, Northcote East, was also established in the area.[27]

The 2022 Victorian State Election campaign has seen alleged vandalism of election advertisements, particularly targeted at ALP Candidate Kat Theophanous.[28]


The area surrounding Northcote is home to local sporting teams:


  • Pender's Grove Primary School (Government co-ed primary school)
  • Wales Street Primary School (Government co-ed primary school)
  • Westgarth Primary School (Government co-ed primary school)
  • Northcote Primary School (Government co-ed primary school)[31]
  • Santa Maria College (Catholic all-girls high school)
  • Northcote High School (Government co-ed high school)
  • St. Josephs Primary School (Catholic co-ed primary school)

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

  • City of Northcote – Northcote was previously within this former local government area.


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Northcote (Suburbs and Localities)". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2 July 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Encyclopedia for Aussielanders, Aussielander. "Population of Northcote". Aussielander. Aussielander. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  3. ^ Wurundjeri Person Darebin Historical Encyclopedia
  4. ^ "Northcote Red-House Races". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 6, 053. Victoria, Australia. 30 October 1865. p. 6. Retrieved 22 September 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "In focus". The Argus (Melbourne). Victoria, Australia. 21 July 1956. p. 12. Retrieved 22 September 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "250 City (Queen St) - La Trobe University". Public Transport Victoria.
  7. ^ "251 City (Queen St) - Northland SC". Public Transport Victoria.
  8. ^ "506 Moonee Ponds - Westgarth Station via Brunswick". Public Transport Victoria.
  9. ^ "508 Alphington - Moonee Ponds via Northcote & Brunswick". Public Transport Victoria.
  10. ^ "510 Essendon - Ivanhoe via Brunswick & Northcote & Thornbury". Public Transport Victoria.
  11. ^ "546 Heidelberg Station - Melb Uni - Queen Victoria Market via Clifton Hill and Carlton". Public Transport Victoria.
  12. ^ "552 North East Reservoir - Northcote Plaza via High Street". Public Transport Victoria.
  13. ^ "567 Northcote - Regent via Northland". Public Transport Victoria.
  14. ^ "Gentrification and displacement: the household impacts of neighbourhood change" (PDF). 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  15. ^ Limited, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (1 January 2016). "In the media". AHURI.
  16. ^ Northcote Demographics (VIC) Local Stats
  17. ^ "Economic profile | darebin |".
  18. ^ "2011 Census QuickStats: Northcote".
  19. ^ Northcote Tip Park Masterplan Collie Landscape and Design Pty Ltd for Darebin City Council
  20. ^ "Timeline [of events on 11 December 2008]". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 December 2008.
  21. ^ Darebin City Council
  22. ^ Gardiner, Ed (11 May 2017). "Batman Park in Northcote to be renamed Gumbri Park". Herald Sun. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Renaming of Melbourne's Batman Park after Aboriginal Elder rejected". 18 July 2018.
  24. ^ Johnson Park Darebin City Council
  25. ^ Andrew Lemon, (1983), The Northcote Side of the River, Hargreen Publishing Company, North Melbourne, p.268 . ISBN 0-949905-12-7
  26. ^ Lyle Allan (1978), 'Ethnic Politics - Migrant Organization and the Victorian ALP', Ethnic Studies, Vol.2, No.2, pp.21-31
  27. ^ Lyle Allan (1985), 'Ethnic Politics in the ALP', in P.R. Hay, J.Halligan, J.Warhurst, B. Costar (eds.), Essays on Victorian Politics, Warrnambool Institute Press, p.136 ISBN 0949759066
  28. ^ Royall, Ian (12 October 2022). "Labor MP responds to 'cowards' who defaced her election billboards with offensive messages". Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  29. ^ Full Points Footy, Northern Football League, archived from the original on 9 March 2009, retrieved 15 April 2009
  30. ^ Golf Select, Northcote, retrieved 11 May 2009
  31. ^ Northcote State School SS1401, Victorian Heritage Database. Retrieved 14 January 2023
  32. ^ Simon Smith (2009), Maverick Litigants. A History of Vexatious Litigants in Australia 1930-2008, Maverick Publications, Elwood, Victoria, Ch. 7
  33. ^ Northcote - history of the suburb Darebin Heritage, City of Darebin Libraries. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  34. ^ Photographer Henson speaks out against ‘unsympathetic’ developments on Northcote’s main strip Herald Sun 12 June 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2016.

External links[edit]