What is significant?
The properties on William Street were created as a result of the Heart of Preston Estate Company's subdivision and then selling off individual lots, starting in 1890. The Heart of Preston Estate Company was formed in 1888 and included two prominent Melbourne 'land boomers' as shareholders, Lawrence Baillieu and Benjamin Fink.
The first new houses were constructed on the western side of the street in 1897 at No. 35 and two in 1898, one of which may be No. 27 and one on the opposite side of the street. A second spate of development occurred from 1909-1910, at the northern end of the street on the west side at Nos. 47-73, and at the southern end of the street on the east side. Consistent with the post-World War 1 boom, a new and third spate of building began from 1921 to 1928, when No. 11 remained as the only vacant block in the street.
The houses constructed in the period from c.1890 to c.1940, and any associated early (pre-WWII) outbuildings or garages and the early fences at nos. 9-13 and no. 26 are significant.
Non-original alterations and additions to contributory houses and houses constructed after Wold War II are not significant.
How is it significant?
The 'Heart of Preston (William Street) precinct is of local historic significance to Darebin City.
Why is it significant?
Historically, the 'Heart of Preston' (William Street) precinct is significant as evidence of the 'stop-start' pattern of residential development in Preston during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It provides a vivid illustration of how estates subdivided during the 1880s boom were not fully developed until the interwar period. It is also of interest for its associations with the Heart of Preston Estate Company and prominent Melbourne land speculators Lawrence Baillieu and Benjamin Fink. (AHC criteria A.4, D.2 and H.1)
'Heart of Preston' Estate - Physical Description 1
William Street is oriented north-south and runs between Clinch Street (at its southern end) and Regent Street (the north end). This precinct comprises the properties generally between Clinch Street and Olver Street.
This is an early twentieth century residential precinct that demonstrates the three eras of Preston's suburban development. It had its suburban beginnings as a land boom estate called the Heart of Preston, which attracted little settlement prior to the early twentieth century. No. 35 and possibly also No. 27 date from this period. The precinct experienced a second spate of development at the turn of the twentieth century, in 1909, largely at the northern end of the street with some also at the southern end on the east side. The majority of the houses were built in the 1920s; in 1923, 1926 and 1928.
Stylistically the houses in this precinct range from Victorian, to late Victorian-transitional Federation through to Inter-war, with a small number of Post-war intrusions. The houses are generally modest in scale, detached with small garden setbacks to the street frontage. Most of the houses in this precinct are timber, although interspersed among these are a few built of brick.
The predominant architectural style is Californian Bungalow, with some, such as No. 11 William Street (see Figure 4), being very intact and retaining its original front fence.
Another prominent style in this precinct is Victorian/Federation transitional, with many being detached double-fronted weatherboard houses, with hipped roofs and verandahs extending across their street facing elevations. These houses range in varying degrees of intactness and are located at Nos. 20-22, 30, 34, 40-42 on the east side and Nos. 23, 25, 27, 31, 33, 35 and 43 (See Figure 3) on the west side.
Non-contributory places are located at Nos. 14, 32 and 36 on the east side, and Nos. 7 and 17 on the west side.