Abbotsford, a residential and industrial suburb, is in the eat of Collingwood, between Hoddle Street and the Yarra River. It was named after a property owned by John Orr in Kew, the bordering suburb over the Yarra River.
In the 1850s a land auction for the “Abbotsford township” was promoted, the site being between the Convent of the Good Shepherd and Johnston Street. It was the most attractive part, on the river bank, as west of it was the low-lying Collingwood flat.
The western side of Abbotsford has the railway line from Collingwood to Heidelberg (1888) and Princes Bridge to Collingwood (1901). The town hall and other civic buildings (1880s) are next to the railway station. A short way north is Victoria Park, the home of the Collingwood Football Club (1892). There is a railway station, and the primary school (1899), closed in 1995. Alongside Victoria Park in Lulie Street is Dorothy Terrace, eight row houses (1888), on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Two notable buildings are in the east of Abbotsford, either side of a loop in the Yarra River which runs around the Yarra Bend Park. The first is the Convent of the Good Shepherd (1864), subsequently enlarged for a home for girls. It became the Institute for Childhood Development in the 1980s and later a campus of LaTrobe University. The Collingwood Children’s Farm is on the river bank. Around the river loop is the Abbotsford brewery. Opened in 1904 by the Melbourne Cooperative Brewing Company Ltd., it was absorbed by Carlton and United Breweries in 1909.
Industry is mainly on the river side of Abbotsford. The Johnston Street approach features the Yarra Falls textile factory and the skipping-girl neon sign, a remodelled copy of the sign on top of a vinegar factory. A little north, Dights Falls are in the Yarra River, near where the Merri Creek enters. John Dight formed a mill race in about 1839 for making flour. Dight’s Paddock was the site of the Victoria Park Oval.
Abbotsford’s northern boundary is the Eastern Freeway and Alexandra Parade. The Parade was previously Reilly Street, constructed above the Reilly Street drain which was important for reducing the swampiness of the Collingwood flat.
There are a few shops in Johnston Street and a larger strip in Victoria Parade on Abbotsford’s northern boundary.
In common with Collingwood, Abbotsford underwent moderate gentrification in the late 1980s and 1990s. In 1987 the median house price in Abbotsford was 96% of the metropolitan median and in 1996 it was 133%.
Barrett, Bernard, “The Inner Suburbs: The evolution of an industrial area”, Melbourne University Press, 1971.
“The Flat and the Hill: Conserving Old Collingwood”, Department of Planning and Housing and the City of Collingwood, 1991.