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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Day 51

The Dame Edna Everage famous Melbourne suburb, Moonee Ponds, was first settled as pastoral lands in the early 1840s. When gold was discovered in the Castlemaine and Bendigo areas in 1851, the main route to the diggings was via Mount Alexandra Road through Moonee Ponds, resulting in the establishment of shops, facilities and overnight accommodation. ‘Moonee Ponds’ derives its name from the Moonee Ponds Creek, which would form a series of ponds during the dry season. Though there are a few variations as to the origins of ‘Moonee’. In 1837 the Government Surveyor, Robert Hoddle, marked the creek as ‘Mone Mone Creek’ in a survey of the area. It has been claimed that this derives from the term ‘Moonee Moonee’ a term an aborigine attached to the mounted police. Another theory is that the area was named after an early Crown grantee, John Moonee, who held land near the current day Moonee Valley Racecourse. In 1860 a railway line was opened from Melbourne to Essendon with a station at Moonee Ponds - which closed between 1864 to 1871 as it was privately owned and recommenced as a government railway. In the 1880s several subdivisions were offered for sale in Moonee Ponds, including Whitaker Estate (1882), Essendon Estate (1886) and Hoddle Estate (1888). The Whitaker Estate was classified as one of the best, being located on the north northside of Puckle Street, the future (and current) shopping strip. The street was named after the first vicar of the Anglican Church St Thomas' (1859), Edward Puckle, who moved there in 1858, ten years after the first Anglican services which were conducted in the area by the Melbourne Bishop. In 1881 there were only five addresses in Puckle Street according to the Sands and McDougall suburban directory; in 1891 there were fifty businesses listed and by 1900 there were nearly ninety businesses, mostly retail. Between 1906 and 1922 a tram line ran along Puckle Street, extended from the tram service along Mount Alexander Road.