W. S. Neeland arrived in Northcote in 1920, taking over the ironmongers store operated by Alfred Tharratt on the corner of High Street and Arthurton Road (Tharratt then establishing a drapers story next door).
Neelands premises sprawled from High Street along Arthurton Road, including a joinery, a saw mill, all located between High Street and the Northcote railway station. As well as timber the company also offered hardware, paint, galvanized iron, cement, and virtually all the things you would find in a modern day Bunnings.
In 1925 Neelands consolidated his business at the corner of Railway Parade and Arthurton Road, although keeping a store at 353 High Street to sell crockery, glassware and general hardware. A second store at 529 High Street Preston was opened in 1930.
Neelands was a substantial contributor to Northcote’s financial well being, the Northcote Leader stating that between 1925 and 1933 it had contributed £130,000 in wages and buildings into the community.
City of Northcote (1933). Northcote Jubilee celebrations 1883 – 1933 : souvenir & official program. Northcote: Author.
Northcote Leader, (1933, May 19).