The land where Penders Park stands today belonged to the Wurundjeri-willampatriliny people.
Shortly after the laying out of Melbourne by Robert Hoddle in 1839 Michael Pender, an Irish-Catholic from Launceston, bought the land on which Penders Park is situated at a Government land sale and used it for farming. He was also one of the first to bring a bullock team to Victoria, charging a pound a load.
Michael Pender later added to the original section by buying land on the west as far as the Pipe Track (now St Georges Road) from his neighbour Job Smith whose farm, Thornbury, gave the name to the suburb. Pender bought further tracts of land in Melbourne and became a wealthy businessman, adding public houses to his list of successful business interests.