Robert Hoddle surveyed Coburg in 1837 -38. In 1840, the place was named Pentridge by surveyor Henry Foot who lived near Merri Creek, after the birthplace of his wife, Pentridge in Dorset, England. In December 1850, 16 prisoners from overcrowded Melbourne Gaol was moved to a stockade at Pentridge. The stockade later became a permanent prison built with labour of convicts, which swallowed nearly half of the Village land. The name ‘Pentridge’ became synonymous with the prison, the locals wanted to have the name changed, as they were tired of the embarrassment of saying they lived in Pentridge.
Many stories were told which induced the people to seek for a change of name. On one occasion at a railway station, a constable found a neatly dressed child, the daughter of a most- respectable person, crying because she had temporarily lost her friends. When he questioned her as to where she lived, and finding her reply was ” Pentridge,” he at once ejaculated “Oh, murder! murder!” what a pity to have the parents of such a beautiful girl resident of dreaded Pentridge.”
On another occasion a respectable gentleman of Pentridge was in Tasmania on business. It seems the person across the straits he was dealing with, finding his visitor was a Pentridge man, became alarmed and put himself on the quiver.
In 1857 Father Charles O’ Hea called a public meeting to change the name of Pentridge. Many names were suggested – Donegal, Limerick, Tipperary, Merrivale and Coburg among them. On 23rd December 1867, the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Land and Works received the petition signed by 191 people from Pentridge Village requesting a name change. The Duke of Edinburgh was soon to visit the colony and it was suggested that they could honour him by calling the village Coburg. The Duke was a member of House of Saxe – Coburg. The Government agreed and the change of name was officially made in March 1870.
With the closure of the Prison in 1997, the land was sold and subdivided for a residential development, the new development appropriately named Pentridge Village.