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Debney's Paddock

The 15-ha Flemington site, bounded by Mount Alexander Road, Racecourse Road, Victoria Street and the Moonee Ponds Creek, was known as Debney's Paddock because the Debney family tannery operated there from 1877 to 1935. Prone to flooding, it was acquired by the Melbourne City Council in 1923 for reclamation and conversion to public space. The council's later plans to develop the site, branded by the Herald as 'filching the people's parklands', led to the Coppel inquiry of 1957. Although some public space remains, the site is now dominated by high-rise towers erected by the Housing Commission of Victoria and the Western Link Freeway overhead along the creek.

Peter Balmford