Preston Market is a vibrant and bustling market located in the northern suburb of Preston, Melbourne, Australia. The market is known for its diverse range of fresh produce, specialty foods, and international cuisines, making it a popular destination for foodies and locals alike. Preston Market has a rich history, dating back to the 1970s, and has evolved over the years to become one of Melbourne’s most iconic markets. The market features over 80 traders, offering everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to meat, seafood, cheese, and baked goods. Preston Market also has a range of specialty stores, selling items such as spices, nuts, and sweets, as well as clothing, homewares, and other goods. The market has a lively atmosphere, with live music, entertainment, and events taking place throughout the year. Preston Market is open from Wednesday to Sunday, with different traders operating on different days. With its vibrant energy and diverse offerings, Preston Market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Melbourne’s food culture.
Covering an area of nearly 4.6 hectares, Preston Market is a local icon. The market is bound by Murray Road to the north, Cramer Street to the south and Preston Railway Station to the west. Though not classified in any heritage overlay, the market has etched its place in people’s mind as a public property of heritage value, though it is privately owned since it was established in the 1970’s and no heritage value attached to the property. The market has around 140 market traders, an Aldi Supermarket, Centrelink offices and an Asian Grocer which occupies the area of former Bi-Lo supermarket. Preston Market is the second largest fresh food market in Melbourne after the heritage listed Queen Victoria Market.
The market features a series of single storey sheds with opaque plastic sheeting over the opening. It is built in the architectural style of Space Frame Construction. The stalls are generally grouped according to what they sell, and the market has food stalls and cafes, meat and fish stalls, fruit and vegetable stalls and stalls selling clothing and artwork. The market attracts nearly 80,000 people every week.
What is good about the market?
The Market is the best place to get meat, fruits and vegetables at comparatively cheaper price.
The market is also good to buy fresh eggs and good quality honey.
Preston Market boasts of best Pizza shops that sell moderately priced Pizzas.
Recent re-development resulted in more food outlets that sell Spanish, Sri Lankan and other ethnic delicacies.
What is bad about the Market?
There are widespread complaints about some of the Fish mongers selling fish added with high level of Preservatives. Strong smell of Ammonia from Fish sold at some of the stalls is a serious concern. Country of Origin of the fish sold, used to be displayed before which isn’t the case anymore. Where are the Food Safety Authorities in Melbourne?
History of the market
The land Preston Market now occupies was first sold in auctions in 1838. It was known as Shepherd’s Run after sheep grazier Timothy Shepherd leased it for grazing his sheep in 1856. In 1872, the land was subdivided and sold. In 1888, Thos. Broadhurst Tannery was established on the site. The tannery was owned by Thomas Broadhurst and was one of the largest in Victoria. By the late nineteenth century, 20 tanneries were operating in Preston. After Thomas Broadhurst’s death, his eldest son Robert Broadhurst took over the business. In 1950, the tannery was sold to Johnson Leathers of Sydney, but was closed in 1960.
Two Polish migrants Leon and Lola Jolson arrived in Melbourne soon after World War II, spending nearly 5 years in concentration camps. Leon started his life in Melbourne as a textile factory worker, saved every penny to become a stall holder in Queen Victoria Market. The couple lived in Carlton and established a Real Estate agency in East Prahran by 1956. It was their wish to own and operate a market, and Preston site was chosen for its closeness to public transport. Broadhurst Tannery land was on market for sale after it was closed in 1960.The construction began in October 1969. Preston Mayor W. K. Larkins drove the first stake for foundation ceremony. The initial investment was $2 million with assistance from investors. Jolsons received more than 300 applications for stores before the construction began.
In the early 1970’s American style shopping centres were getting established in Melbourne, but Preston market went for a more traditional European style market. Northland Shopping centre came into existence in 1966, just 2km away from Preston Market, which was an American Style shopping centre.
Preston market was designed and built by ‘Structural Consortium’ owned by Architect Barry Pierce, Quantity Surveyor Noel Henderson and builder David Rayson. The company went for space frame roof structure and tilt up concrete walls which eliminated the need for columns and allowed large open spaces. The two axes, Centre way and the Strand acted as pedestrian walkways and stalls were lined on each side.
Preston Market is the only privately-owned market among similar markets in Melbourne like Dandenong Market, South Melbourne Market and Queen Victoria Market. In 2004, the market changed hands and was purchased by Salta Properties from Centro MCS. The site comprises 49 certificates of title, most of which are predominantly owned by Salta Properties and Medich Corporation.
Future of Preston Market
In June 2007, Preston Market site was rezoned from the Business 1 Zone to a Priority Development Zone Schedule 1 (PDZ1) as part of the Preston Central Structure Plan implementation, after intense lobbying by Salta Properties.
After the rezoning of the site, redevelopment of the site became a major issue. The general public and the traders wanted to protect the site from being redeveloped and requested the Heritage Victoria to add the site to Victorian Heritage Register.
The applications were reviewed by the Executive director of Heritage Victoria and in 2018, the Executive Director made a recommendation to the Heritage Council of Victoria not to include Preston Market on the Heritage Register nor to seek further analysis.
As of October 2019, the future of the market is uncertain, and three choices are considered.
- Keep the market where it is and build residential flats around
- Relocate the market on the site to accommodate residential flats
- Relocate the market to another site and redevelop the site completely.
Latest Updates on Preston Market
Update on 14/11/2023
After six months of uncertainty, Preston Market owner Salta Properties has confirmed that merchants will be offered a five-year extension of their existing leases in January. Stall holders were originally told in May 2023 that their leases were not going to be renewed due to planning disputes. This ensures that the market will remain open in the current form atleast until 2028.The purpose of the lease extension is to bridge the gap while the future plan for precinct is finalized. The purpose of the five-year extension is to provide current traders, and the community they service, security while the masterplan for the redevelopment of the Preston Market precinct is developed.The market is jointly owned by Salta Properties and Medich Corporation.
In August 2023, Victorian State Government announced new planning controls on Preston Market. The government has implemented new heritage protections over the market shed preventing its demolition. This new heritage protection has scuttled the plans by the owner to raze some of the sheds in favour of an open-air market and apartment towers up to 19 stories and 2200 apartments.
This newly implemented heritage overlay over the sheds still allows smaller apartment building with about 1200 apartments proposed across the site and above the sheds. The new planning controls allow apartment towers either side of the train line with the highest being 14 stories. Traders at the market were told that their leases would not be renewed from March 2024. The new planning controls do not mandate that the owners should keep the market operating.
State government’s policy still identifies Preston Market as an ideal location to provide more housing choices for Victorians.
Address: 30 The Centre way, Preston, Victoria 3073
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/prestonmarket/
Preston Market Opening Hours:
Non – market days only paid parking is available at the premises.