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The Borough of   Flemington & Kensington.   PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. The borough of Essendon and Flemington was created on the 23rd day of December, A.D. 1861, with an area of 3756 acres and divided into three wards, viz., Essendon, Ascot Vale and Flemington and Kensington, the latter, now the borough of Flemington and Kensington, will be more particularly dealt with in this paper. Flemington a few years ago was principally known to the colonist generally, and in fact by the citizens of Melbourne, simply as a convincing ground for equine celebrities, and as the site of the cattle yards and abbatoirs for the city and suburbs. In the year 1860 the cattle yards were removed from the corner of Victoria and Elizabeth streets, Melbourne, to their present position, then almost outside civilisation. At that time Elizabeth street, north, was unknown except as a bog ; in fact it was quite impassable for vehicular traffic, the whole of which went along Howard street to the Flemington road, this being almost the only outlet from the city to the gold diggings. Flem- ington proper in those days was a busy thriving place, being the first camping ground on the route to the interior, and teamsters, both horse and bullock, thought they had made a good start on their journey when they crossed the Moonee Ponds Creek. What is now known as Race- course road is the oldest road in the colony, and has only very recently had a bridge erected fit for vehicular traffic. This will be a great con- venience to the sporting fraternity on race days, it being almost a straight drive from the post office to the racecourse gates, shortening the distance from town by about three-quarters of a mile. The canal cut by the Government takes the place of the old creek and empties itself into the Saltwater River, thus reducing the chance of a flood to a minimum. Some of the old residents will probably remember Punch calling Flemington 'the packing-case village." The racecourse now one of the finest in the world, was formally reserved about the year 1845, and a grandstand in those days considered something out of the way, was erected near the bridge over the Saltwater River where some good sport was to be seen in the day when Young Camel, Blueskin, and Babbler, negotiated the big sticks, the latter catch-   ing thie judge's eye first with 14 stone up. The course at that time was under the care of the present ranger, Mr. Jonothan Brown, who apparently is as young as ever and resides near the hill, overlooking the carriage paddock, certainly one of the prettiest spots in the colony. About 25 years ago the late Mr. R. C. Bagot took charge and very soon came to the conclusion that on the site of the present course he could show visitors something that was not to be seen in any other part of the world, and being liberally supplied with funds, he made such alterations on the lawn and hill that the present course, even to non-racing men, is now the pride of Victoria. By-the-way it has often been said that Mr. Bagot took no interest in racing, in fact never saw a Melbourne Cup run, his only thought being how to make the course attractive to horse owners and the public, and so well did he succeed that distinguished travellers un- hesitatingly say that in no part of the world is there to be seen a sight equal to the Melbourne course on Cup day. It is also universally admitted that in no other portion of the globe can such an orderly, well-dressed happy and contented gathering of 160,000 people be seen as on the Melbourne Racecourse on Cup day, and a fact which must be noticed with satisfaction and pride by all good colonists is that the police van very often leaves the course without a single occupant. On Mr. Bagot's death, Mr. H. Byron Moore was appointed to the post,   and promises from present appearances to, if possible, even surpass his predecessor in the way of advancement. Knowing Mr. Moore to be sup- plied with increased funds and experience, the ordinary visitor expects to see substantial improvement every year, and during the present year ex tensive stands have been erected on the hill, while fountains and flower beds are dotted all over the reserves; hot water is supplied, and every convenience made for picnic parties, a boon which is taken advantage of by thousands who go for the outing but do not care for racing. The present borough of Flemington and Kensington, as shown on the official plan dated September 1875, had only about fifty houses altogether, there being only six between the Racecourse road and Hotham, east of the Essendon railway. Some of the old residents recollect when the whole of the rolling stock on the Essendon line consisted of one engine, one first and one second-class carriage, and in those days it was not an uncommon oc- currence for intending passengers to see a notice posted at Spencer-street   to the following effect :— "Essendon line closed; engine undergoing re- pairs." Now we have about forty trains daily each way with an average of ten carriages, and this does not nearly meet the requirements of the district. The first sale of importance in the borough of Flemington and Kensington was held on the 10th May, 1879, when the corner of Racecourse-road was purchased by Mr. S. P. Davis at 100s. per foot,   Mr. Plain and the late Councillor Walker also being purchasers. When it was known that the corner block was intended for an hotel, several knowing ones shook their heads, exclaiming " Sam's mad," but the result   a proved there was a great deal of method in his madness, for the present building, the Palace Hotel, is equal to anything in the suburbs, and it is generally admitted has given a great impetus to the district. The next   important sale was the block originally reserved for a Wesleyn Church, about 21 acres, which was sold at prices varying from 20s. to 80s. per foot, now worth from six to thirty pounds, and on which are erected some first-class business premises. The first practical cry for a severance from   Essendon was made when Mr. R. C. Barrett (now Councillor) opposed the   retiring member Cr. Cook at the annual election in August 1881, his   claim on the ratepayers being severance from Essendon and annexation to Hotham. The result of that election was that Cr. Cook was returned, the numbers being, Cook, 162 ; Barrett, 102; the excitement was in tense, but everything passed off in the best possible spirit. The feeling in favor of severance was still very strong, and several meetings were held   in a room near the Newmarket Hotel (kindly lent by Mr. J. E. Rigby),   where the the matter was fully discussed, and eventually the motion for an-   nexation to Hotham was abandoned, and steps taken to get a petition   signed by the ratepayers, praying for a severance of the Flemington and   Kensington ward from the borough of Essendon and its formation into a separate borough. The matter was taken up in a spirited manner, and the necessary signatures being obtained, a deputation waited on the hon.   the Minister of Public Works to present it, the Essendon Council strongly opposing it, but the severance was formally gazetted on the 17th March,   1882. An election of nine councillors was held in the ensuing May, and   the following gentlemen were elected :- Robert Pridham, Robert C. Bar rett, John Sutton, J. E. Rigby, G. W. Debney, William Blackwell, Jas. Walker, W. S. Cox and W. H. Jones. Mr. Robert Pridham was elected   first mayor but retired in the early part of the following year in conse-   quence of ill-health, and Cr. Barrett was then elected to the chair. Seve-   ral changes have since occurred in the council, only two of the original   members, Crs.Sutton and Barrett, remaining in office, but Cr. J. E. Rigby who retired some time ago has recently been re-elected.   It will be admitted by all who are conversant with the borough that it was in its earlier stage particularly unfortunate. Commencing with a heavy debt due to Essendon, being mulcted in heavy damages and other   difficulties, it has had a very severe uphill fight, but with perseverance and extremely elastic resources, it now occupies a position equal to any borough in the colony. That it does so financially, it is only necessary to mention the fact that the loan (5 per cent.) of £15,000 brought a higher price than any municipal loan ever floated in the colony, viz., 14 per cent. pre mium. The loan is now being expended, and will put an entirely new face on the borough. As to its future nothing has to be feared, and from present appearances is rapidly progressing; the number of buildings erected and occupied average over twenty per month, and it will be grati fying to know that for the number of dwellings the borough of Flemington and Kensington contains a larger percentage of freeholders than any other suburb of Melbourne Amongst the new buildings worthy of notice is the new hall (erected by a public company) in which the court, council meet ings, School of Design, and several lodges are held. Mr. John Crichton has also erected the Royal Hall in Princes street. Among the business premises on the Racecourse-road may be men-   tioned the Colonial Bank, Barrett and Co.'s auction rooms, four shops erected by Mr. Bateman, and four others in course of erection by Cr. Sut- ton at the corner of Wellington-street, which will be occupied as soon as   completed. In M'Aulley-road very handsome premises have been built   by Messrs W. H. Jones, grocer; J. Raisbeck, butchler, and a chemist shop by ex-Cr. Williamson, and occupied by Mr. Dobbin. On the Mount Alexander-road Mr. John Glover has built five very large shops which     would be a credit to Bourke street. The first rate struck four years ago only produced about £900, but the rate for thie present year will produce over £3,200. The number of rates in the book is 2,203, and the valuation made in December last £42,255. The number of ratepayers on the roll in July last was 1,037, which will be very largely increased in August next. The number of houses on the 30th June was 1100. The revenue from all sources for the year (loan excepted) will be £8,131. The population of the borough is 6,000. Almost all denominations are represented in the borough. The Wes- leyan body has now two churches, the Roman Catholics have just erected     a very pretty one at Newmarket, there is St. John's Church on the Hill, and the Presbyterians and Baptists are taking steps to also erect suitable buildings. The Presbyterians at present have service in the new hall, and the Disciples of Christ in the Royal Hall every Sabbath. The old Kensington Park racecourse. has been cut up and sold in business and building allotments. All the low-lying ground has at great expense been filled is, and is being rapidly built upon. It occupies a splendid position, has a grand view of the Bay, Royal Park and surrounding country, and some very the buildings have been erected, including Messrs. Gillespie's mill which is five stories high. The Dalgetty Company limited are expending a sum of £60,000 in land stores and siding at Newmarket. Amongst the private residences may be noticed the Newmarket ' Haven,' a very hand- some mansion with tower and look-out in Canterbury-street, built by Cr.   J. E. Rigby, and a fine balcony house (Glencairn) with patent white stone front (very effective), built by Cr. James Urie in Wellington-street. A grand view can be obtained from here as the house stands on one of the highest points of the suburbs. The School of Design is held every Friday in the new hall at 7.30 p.m., and is well attended. The committee have frequently expressed a wish that parents and friends would pay them a visit during school hours. There are several private and two State schools in the borough. The M'Connell street State school, T. S. Marshall, head teacher, was classed four years ago as a 75 to 100 school; it has since been enlarged, and has now a roll of over 1,000 names. school at Flemington is already re- quired, the accommodation being far too limited for the wants of the dis- trict