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(3083, 15 km NE, Whittlese City, Darebin City, Banyule City)

One of the few Melbourne suburbs to be split between three municipalities, Bundoora lies between the Plenty River and Darebin Creek. Following 1839 land sales, white settlement spread along Plenty Road, using the rich soils to grow cereals and raise stock. George and Frances Coulstock built and operated a flour mill on the Plenty River in 1842 to process local grain, and established a property, Mill Park. The mill closed in 1862 when reduced flows in the Plenty River resulted from diversion of water into the Yan Yean reservoir. As the road became busy with the construction traffic for the reservoir, the Plough Inn and later a tollhouse on Plenty Road defined this area as the first 'village'. Initially known as Springfield, the name of William Forde Cleeland's property in the vicinity, the area was also known as Prospect Hill, and Janefield, a name derived from the field in which the deceased wife of James Miller Brock was buried in 1851. The name Bundoora is thought to derive from an Aboriginal word meaning the plain where kangaroos live.

The railway line to Whittlesea took traffic away from Plenty Road, and the properties along either side were left to their rural activities. Both Bundoora Park and Mill Park became breeding grounds for thoroughbred horses, while dairying was now possible with the train line to carry milk daily into Central Melbourne. William Elms' store at Prospect Hill, on the then corner of Greensborough Road (later Grimshaw Street) and Plenty Road became the first Bundoora Post Office in October 1863. Land to the west of Elms' store was subdivided under the Small Improved Holdings Act 1906, but within six years the plan was abandoned.

The rural seclusion of Bundoora suited the requirements for mental hospitals in the early 20th century. Mont Park opened in 1912 as a productive farm for the treatment of the mentally ill. Bundoora Park was acquired by the government after World War I for the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital, which opened in 1924 as an after-care centre for ex-servicemen suffering from nervous disorders discharged from the Military Mental Block at Mont Park. The Repatriation Department approached the Australian Red Cross Society to establish a training farm for tuberculosis patients. The Red Cross farm, known as the Janefield Sanitorium, operated from 1920 to 1933. It reopened in 1937 as the Janefield Colony for Mental Defectives (children) and in 1962 was renamed the Janefield Training Centre. A third psychiatric institution, Larundel, opened at Bundoora in 1949, in premises used from 1942 as a training depot for the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, and after the war as emergency accommodation for homeless families.

The development of psycho-pharmaceuticals after World War II led to a change in treatment methods. All these hospitals have now closed and much of the land has been sold for housing, with part of the original Bundoora Park now a popular public park that includes a golf course, children's farm, playground and picnic areas. While residential development had been hindered by the lack of public transport, Bundoora was caught up in the building boom after World War II. The Dyson Bus Co. commenced operation in the area in 1952. The Bundoora Progress Association was formed in 1960 and La Trobe University was opened on the Mont Park land in 1967. Preston Technical College opened a campus opposite the Janefield Training Centre in July 1972. It later became the Phillip Institute of Technology, and is now part of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Between RMIT and La Trobe University there are three primary schools and one secondary college. An extension of the tramline from Preston, together with direct access to the Northern Ring Road, provides the area with transport links to the city and adjacent suburbs.

Gwynedd Hunter-Payne