3058: Coburg’s rich history and burgeoning future

Coburg has developed an identity that’s full of character and unpretentious appeal. Here’s a look back at this unique neighbourhood’s storied past and a glimpse into its promising future.

From its distinctive bluestone architecture to a historic prison once dubbed the “College of Knowledge”, there’s no shortage of stories to tell about Coburg as the location prepares to write a brand new chapter. Here are just a few.

The suburb formerly known as Pentridge couldn’t escape being associated with Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge. Built during the gold rush and home to some notorious inmates – including the likes of Ned Kelly and Chopper Reid – it remains a heritage landmark today.

Since the residents of Pentridge voted to rename the town Coburg in 1870, the eclectic enclave has thrown off its notorious shackles and become one of Melbourne’s most celebrated suburbs.

Consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, recently ranked Coburg among the Top 10 suburbs in Victoria for livability, especially for residents who choose to work from home.

Today, in collaboration with the National Trust of Victoria, the most notorious parts of Pentridge prison have been restored and are set to open to the public in Spring 2022 – where visitors will be able to tour three 19th century bluestone cell blocks and even sleep in converted cells.

The remainder of this much-hyped redevelopment is being repurposed into premium housing that retains its sense of place, shops and public spaces – there’s even a hotel, cinemas and wine cellar.

And Coburg just keeps getting better. $16 million has been allocated to create a community health and wellness hub on the corner of Bell Street and Pentridge Boulevard. Plans for a new park at Service Street – including sensory and inclusive play spaces, a bush tucker garden, veggie patch and sculpture trail – are all underway.

Coupled with Council’s commitment to creating a green and connected neighbourhood through extensive tree planting and shared pedestrian pathways, it’s easy to see Coburg’s future as a key Melbourne ‘activity centre’ – as identified in the Melbourne 2030 development strategy.

The level of investment and infrastructure to come in 3058 respects the past and embraces its future – cementing Coburg’s place as the North side’s most coveted destination.

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