The first estate developed by the Housing Commission of Victoria was at Fisherman’s Bend. The idea of a garden city: “A planned suburb surrounded by green spaces and reserves” was the English rural village idyll. There would be trees and gardens for every house. Meandering streets would discourage through traffic and make it safe for children. The Ada Mary A’Beckett kindergarten was built with the support of philanthropic Free Kindergarten Union.
Inspired by the 1931 master’s degree thesis “The Economics of the Slums” by Oswald Barnett, in which he correlated the physical condition of housing with the social condition of its residents, the Housing Commission of Victoria was established in 1938 for the purpose of improving existing housing and to provide adequate housing for people of limited means.
Using innovative construction techniques, the Housing Commission built estates for low income families on the suburban fringes of Melbourne, including the Melbourne Olympic Village in 1956.