Coburg was surveyed by Robert Hoddle in 1837–38 and he recorded details of the first white person living in Coburg. It was a Mr Hyatt who had a sheep station and hut on the east bank of the Merri Creek near present Outlook Road.
By 1849 there were 21 farms in the area. The first storekeeper was George Jones in 1840, and in 1842 the first inn, The Golden Fleece, was built on Sydney Road just north of Page Street. The 1850s were busy years for Pentridge. By 1850, the Wesleyan Church in Bell Street was built, the foundations for St Pauls were laid and Holy Trinity Church of England was built. The same year Pentridge Stockade was established and in 1852 the Presbyterian Church on the corner of Rennie Street opened. The next year a government tent and then, replacing it, a wooden schoolhouse, were located on the site of the present Town Hall.
The first local paper, the Brunswick and Pentridge Press, began in 1858 and pipes to carry water to Pentridge from Yan Yean for the first time in the same year. In 1859 Local Government began with the formation of the Pentridge District Road Board. The board, formed to get roads built in the area, met in private houses for eight years. In 1866 it was granted land near the present town hall. A bluestone building with adjoining wooden offices was opened in 1867.
In 1884 the railway line opened, and in February 1889 the horse tram service began along Sydney Road (electric trams did not start running until 1916). In 1888 Coburg railway station was built. By l899 there were 6000 people in the district. In 1891 Passfield’s bakery opened and W. E. Cash the plumber opened his store in 1898.
In 1905, Coburg was gazetted as a borough, and Thomas Greenwood and his wife Martha became Coburg’s first Mayor and Mayoress. The 1869 Public Hall was extended in 1909, but was still too small for the growing city. A Brunswick architect, Charles Heath, completed plans for new offices, a town hall and soldier’s memorial hall with clubrooms. The new Town Hall opened in 1923. More was added in 1928, including a lounge area, space for a future library, a supper room, foyer and balcony.