Pascoe Vale

Pascoe Vale, west of Coburg, is 9 km north of central Melbourne. It was named after Pascoeville, the property owned by John Pascoe Fawkner and bounded approximately by the Moonee Ponds Creek, Gaffney Street, Northumberland Road and the western prolongation of Boundary Road. Fawkner acquired the property in 1839 as one of 11 lots in the subdivision of the Coburg district by the government surveyor, Robert Hoddle.

Pascoe Vale was situated in two municipalities, Broadmeadows and Coburg, and is now entirely in Moreland city. A Pascoe Vale village was established south of Fawkner's residence in the vicinity of Pascoe Vale Road where it crosses the Moonee Ponds Creek. The small population of that area tended to be drawn towards the Moonee Ponds area of Essendon where there were churches and a school. Population was still concentrated near the village when subdivisional activity began in 1882 in the vicinity of the nearby railway line (1872). In 1885 the Pascoe Vale railway station was built at the cost of the subdividers, and had a country rail timetable, the suburban service ending at Essendon. That was the westerly edge of the present Pascoe Vale. Well beyond Pascoe Vale's eastern edge was Coburg North with its railway line. The space in between was not filled by housing until the 1950s.

Apart from the infrequency of trains the problems of unmade roads, unreticulated utilities and no sewerage deterred house builders. A primary school was not opened until 1911. Progress Associations in Pascoe Vale and West Coburg promoted their areas during the 1920s, and residents of Pascoe Vale built a public hall in 1922 west of the corner where a shopping centre developed in Pascoe Street. Pascoe Vale's census population in 1921 was 348, and any substantial increase awaited postwar immigration and residential expansion.

The area around Pascoe Street was named Westbreen, where the Westbreen primary opened in 1930. In the early postwar years its enrolment boomed, taking pupils from new houses and a migrant hostel in Cumberland Road.

In 1942 a Catholic church/school was constructed in Gaffney Street, and attendances quickly grew with postwar Italian and Maltese migrants settling in Pascoe Vale. A fire in 1959 led to the building of a large new church with a spectacular stained glass facade. The fire spared the double storey brick school building (1954).

Primary schools were opened at Pascoe Vale South (1954) and Pascoe Vale North (1956), and a girls' secondary school opened in 1956. In 1955 the Melbourne College of Textiles was opened on the site of the migrants' hostel.

Pascoe Vale's tenuous connection with the western side of Moonee Ponds Creek was further lessened with the construction of the Tullamarine Freeway, 1969, which was exemplified by the loss of congregation members at the Catholic church and a school opened eight years before on a site almost in the freeway's shadow.

Pascoe Vale has two large recreation reserves, a linear park along Westbreen Creek, a swimming pool, Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and Uniting churches and shops in Gaffney Street. Its census populations have been:

census date population
2001 13,211
2006 13,559
2011 14,885

Among the various languages spoken at home, Italian speakers were 11.1% of residents at the 2011 census.

Further Reading

Richard Broome, Coburg: between two creeks, 1987, 2001

James F. Carney, St Oliver's: people and parish, Pascoe Vale, 1998