Jacana is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 14 km north of Melbourne's central business district.
- Area:1.1 km2
- Elevation:117 m
- Local Government Area:Hume City Council
Jacana is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 14 km north of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Hume. At the 2016 Census, Jacana had a population of 2,128.
Jacana is located north of the Western Ring Road, south of Johnstone Street and between the Craigieburn railway line and Moonee Ponds Creek.
The name Jacana was applied to an area between Broadmeadows and Glenroy in the 1950s by the Housing Commission of Victoria (HCV). The name comes from Jacana Street, to the east of the Craigieburn railway line (therefore, technically not in Jacana itself). Both the street and the suburb are slightly to the north of the Jacana railway station, which was built to service the suburb in 1959. However, Jacana as a built landscape did not spring fully formed under the aegis of the HCV.
The streets in the southern section of Jacana were laid out in 1923 when 861 lots were offered for sale on land which had formerly been owned by Duncan Kennedy, a farmer in the area from the mid-1840s. The Housing Commission retitled some of the streets (for instance, the jokingly named Emu Parade and Sunset Boulevard) and built most of the housing stock in this section of Jacana in the 1950s. Only a few houses in Jacana—notably those in Pascoe Vale Road—predate the Housing Commission's arrival in Broadmeadows. In the late 50s a picture of the 'daily needs' shopping centre in Emu Parade appeared in the Housing Commission's Annual Report of 1958-9, presumably because it represented the progressive and ever-expanding nature of HCV operations. As the population increased, Jacana Post Office opened on 15 May 1961. The Commission later laid out and built the northern section of Jacana in the early 1970s, the southernmost section of its showcase Meadow Fair estate. A small portion of the southern section of Jacana came under threat in the mid-1960s, when a new branch line was proposed to extend from the Broadmeadows railway line close to the site of Jacana Station, to the new Melbourne Airport. This line was not built.
Construction of the newer area of Jacana took place in the Whitlam era, which ended with the opening of the Broadmeadows Sporting Club, located on the Jacana side of the Moonee Ponds Creek Valley. The club was opened by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on 10 November 1975—the day before his dismissal by the Governor General, John Kerr. During the 1970s a major portion of what is now Jacana reserve was a rubbish dump created to fill a valley containing a small tributary of Moonee Ponds Creek. This area now features two sports ovals.
As is to be expected from a former Housing Commission development in this region, Jacana is a lower-middle or working class area which, because of its planned heritage, enjoys better amenities than many privately developed or unplanned suburbs. It contains the aforementioned shops and Sports Club (which includes a bowling green), small playgrounds, a school and extensive parkland. The north-eastern section of the suburb is the site of Broadmeadows Community Health Centre, relocated from a site north of the Broadmeadows Shopping Centre to a space long reserved for a hospital.
Jacana boasted a successful primary school (Jacana Primary School - School Number: 4839 & Motto: "Through Knowledge Success"). The school functioned from 1959 until its demise, in 2009, due to the amalgamation of Broadmeadows West, Jacana and Meadowfair North primary schools. Class Sizes were large during its early years, but by its closure in 2009 attendance dropped to below 50 students.The former school site is currently occupied by the Northern School for Autism (for primary and secondary aged students in the Northern Region of Melbourne, formerly the Preston Special Developmental School). The old school site is undergoing renovations, to the interior and exterior, expected to be completed in 2011.
## Jacana Progress Association
Community facilities in the wider Broadmeadows area were generally the outcome of community agitation through Progress Associations. The Jacana Progress Association was formed in 1959 and concentrated most of its energies on building a community hall. The Association requested that residents donate two shillings each towards this project, and along with a series of local carnivals, had raised $2 000 by 1968. As this was insufficient to construct a hall, the Association approached non-government bodies with aspirations to locate in the area. St. John's Ambulance was the successful 'bidder' for this and was given the money towards a hall on land which had been donated by the Housing Commission to the Association. It constructed the Hall in Pascoe Vale Road, for its own and the community's use. The Hall was demolished in 2012.
The Jacana Progress Association no longer exists, and little is known of the circumstances of its demise.
# Things to do