I have lived in Preston since 1991, and visited the area since I was a little boy, my grandparents having lived here since the early 1940’s. They proudly claimed a full 50 years of Preston living before moving into a Heidleberg flat in the mid 90’s, when they got $120k for their plain weatherboard house in Erin St, just one street away from me.
It’s fair to say that it’s pretty working class, or at least was up until the last few years, when coffee shops began spouting up around the High Street junction with Plenty Rd. What seems to have kept the place grounded is the Preston Market, which attracts an amazingly varied clientelle, and the large amount of public housing which can lend a grim feel to some areas. It is not a pretty suburb either.
We had friends who inherited a place up near the tram depot in the late 90’s, who loved to mock the crime rate, drug use and moccasin wearing public, and laughingly called it “DePreston”. I don’t know why, but I’ve always somehow worn that as a badge of honour. My own little Bronx. I moved in when it was at it’s rough, nastiest phase, and now that it’s becoming almost cool, I can sneer at the naysayers.
Then last week, taking my trendy white Maltese dogs for a jaunt, I ran across a sight that made me smile. Our suburb might be on the up-and-up, but for me its always been DePreston.