The first land sales in Darebin occurred on the 12 September 1838, the sales being conducted in Sydney. The land sold was from present day Dundas Street to Mahoneys Road. The land was divided into 12 lots ranging from 130 hectares to 431 hectares. Nearly all the purchasers were land speculators.
The sales raised £7,868 with prices ranging from 9 shillings per acre to just over £2 per acre.
Northcote was sold on 3 October 1839 and like Preston most of the original purchasers were land speculators. The land here was slightly more expensive with purchasers paying from £1 2s to over £3. Unlike the large blocks in Preston, the land in Northcote tended to be long narrow blocks with river footage, either to the Merri or Darebin Creeks. The higher prices raised in Northcote reflecting its closer proximity to Melbourne.
Many of the early speculators quickly subdivided their lots and sold them within a few years. The lucky ones easily doubling their investments.
Fairfield was slow to develop. It was not until C. H. James began purchasing land in the area in the mid 1880s that things began to happen. He subdivided the land and installed a tram service from Heidelberg Road up Station Street to his new estates.
Alphington was part of the original 1839 Northcote sales. Most of the land was used in farming although a small village appeared around the Darebin Creek and several hotels were established there. From the 1890s land began to be subdivided and sold there as suburban blocks.
Although Preston was the first land subdivided in Darebin, its distance from Melbourne discouraged the suburban growth which overtook Northcote during the late 1800s. Even at the turn of the 20th century Preston Town Hall looked out onto empty paddocks.
Further north areas such as Reservoir did not develop until after World War One and along Plenty Road housing developments did not begin until the 1960s with the advent of Latrobe University.
Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.