Darebin and Darebin City

Darebin is a residential locality 8 km north-east of Melbourne, immediately west of Ivanhoe. It is situated on the Darebin Creek, a tributary of the Yarra River with headwaters at Woodstock. The Darebin Creek was shown on a 1839 survey plan, defining the western border of the Parish of Morang. A map of Warringal (Heidelberg Village) had a Darebin Street, in the same year. It is thought that the name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning swallow (bird).

Local history

In 1845 the Darebin hotel was opened on the north side of the bridge over the Darebin Creek. The building is incorporated in the Australian Paper Mills property . A school was opened in the Anglican church in 1853 at the corner of Waterdale and Upper Heidelberg Roads. A nearby property owner, Thomas Bear, had a property and house named Rockbeare, and the name was in use before 1859. Rockbeare Park (part of the Rockbeare property), on the east side of Darebin Creek was entrusted to the Heidelberg shire in 1888 and is joined by a footbridge to the Darebin Parklands.

Until 1888 the north-eastern suburbs had no rail connection to Melbourne. In that year lines from Heidelberg to Collingwood and then from Collingwood via a westerly loop to Melbourne were opened. Stations were provided at Alphington and Ivanhoe, either side of Darebin, however. Part of the Rockbeare property, north-east of the present park, was subdivided into 88 lots when the railway line was opened.

Darebin's urbanisation was part of that of its neighbours, Alphington and Ivanhoe. In 1930 Darebin was described in the Victorian municipal directory as having a splendid easterly outlook over the ranges, many fine residences in the course of being constructed, and a locality known as Fairy Hills where the Darebin Creek joins the Yarra River. Between the early 1940s and 1948 the artist, Lina Bryans, owned the Darebin hotel. Ian Fairweather, William Fraser and Ada May Plante also used it as a studio.

Darebin Parklands on the western side of the creek were formerly a quarry site and the southern part was the Northcote city tip. In the 1970s Northcote and Heidelberg Council collaborated on the formation of a unified park system. There is a small shopping centre in Heidelberg Road near the Darebin station.


Darebin City is a municipality formed on 22 June 1994, by the amalgamation of Preston city, most of Northcote city and small parts of Coburg, Diamond Valley and Heidelberg cities. Its area is 53 sq km. Nine Labor-endorsed candidates were elected to all the Council positions in March 1996. The State Government ordered an inquiry into the Council in December 1996, and replaced the councillors with an administrator on 13 June 1997. An elected council came into office in 1998. The council has been troubled by ALP factional politics, some of it ethnically based.

Darebin City's census populations have been:

census date population
1996 121,267
2001 122,821
2006 128,067
2011 136,474

In the 2011 census, 11.7% of residents claimed Italian ancestry and 7.2% Greek ancestry.

Further Reading

Graeme Butler, Heidelberg conservation study: part 1 Heidelberg historic buildings and areas assessment, City of Heidelberg, 1985

Preston and Northcote entries