Newlands is a residential and industrial locality in Coburg North, 9 km north of central Melbourne. It was probably named after a local farm during the nineteenth century; the name certainly existed in 1890.
Newlands is separated from Coburg and the former Pentridge gaol by the Merri Creek. Edgar Creek runs through it, joining the Merri just north of Pentridge. Newlands was thus good for farming and was kept in that state until the 1920s, despite the building of a bluestone bridge over the Merri Creek in 1865. (The Newlands Road bridge is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.)
Newlands' farm holdings were usually of about 20 acres, used for market gardening, poultry farms and dairying. Discharges into creek waters, including waste from an abattoir, gave Newlands an unhealthy reputation. Residential subdivisions were sluggish in the 1920s and made dormant by the economic depression in the 1930s.
During 1940-44 the Housing Commission of Victoria acquired four of the old subdivision estates, Spring Meadows, Newlands, Roslyn and Dunville, comprising 71 hectares. The completed Commission estate (1953) had 770 houses, hectares of reserves and open space, and a neighbourhood shopping centre (1948). Newlands primary school was opened in 1951 and a high school was opened in 1959. The high school was next to the Coburg Teachers' College, both being on land that was formerly part of the Pentridge gaol farm. Newlands primary school had 98 pupils in 2014.
Further north, the areas adjoining Edgars Creek were reserved for industry (notably Kodak Australasia, 1961-2005) and for public open space. The housing area, however, completed its first 'life cycle' by the 1990s: the shops ceased to be viable and were demolished in 1991, and the secondary college was closed in 1992. A neighbourhood house and a kindergarten continue at the shops' site.
The Kodak site (27 ha) will be developed by the Satterley property group. It is over twice as big in area as the Housing Commission's estate. Building commenced on about 400 house in 2011 with an expected completion date in 2016. Some concerns regarding asbestos and residue chemicals and other pollutants at the site left over from the Kodak factory were expressed.
Richard Broome, Coburg: between two creeks, 1987
Coburg North entry