Job Smith bought a large parcel of land just north of the Pilgrim Inn Hotel in 1854. It stretched from the Merri Creek to High Street and from Normanby Ave in the south to Hutton Street in the north. It totalled 187 acres and was mainly grasslands. Smith named the property Thornbury, after his birthplace in England.
In the 1860s the publican of the Pilgrim Inn Hotel, then called the Red House, approached Smith about leasing land for a sports ground. Smith agreed and the publican, Goyder, established a small racetrack and athletics ground.
In the mid 1880s land values began to rise and Smith sensed a potential goldmine. In 1887 Smith sold the land between High Street and St. Georges Road for £12,000 and later St. Georges Road to the Merri Creek for £36,000. A nice investment for the £2,000 he originally purchased the land for.
Today the suburb of Thornbury owes its origins to Job Smith and his farm.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.
Swift, William George (1928). The history of Northcote: From its first settlement to a city. Northcote, Vic: Leader Publishing.