The aim of the Balwyn Historical Society is to facilitate and promote an interest in the history of Balwyn and nearby areas. Its objectives are to:
- Organise speakers on historical subjects and related community interests
- Publish a regular newsletter
- Encourage historical research
- Collect and organise documents and photographs and make them available for research
- Display historical photographs and documents
- Conduct events and excursions to places of historical interest
- Exchange information and work with other historical societies
Balwyn is a suburb in the north-east of the
City of Boroondara. In the west of Balwyn is Deepdene and to the north the
suburb of of North Balwyn, with the smaller localities of Greythorn and Bellevue
in the far north-east. This area once known as North Camberwell
has not attracted the interest of existing historical groups.
So in mid 2008 residents formed the Balwyn Historical Society to foster
appreciation of and promote interest in local history of the area.
In its earliest days, Balwyn, while relatively close to Melbourne,
was difficult of access, main roads were very poor and other roads mere tracks. Settlement was sparse, consisting principally of small farms,
and the population was very small. By contrast, nearby Canterbury and Surrey hills, located on
the main railway line to Melbourne's east, developed earlier and
rapidly became more populous.
A portion of Balwyn close to Canterbury and Surrey Hills had a similar pattern of development. But further away, beyond the reach of effective transport, early Balwyn was simply a very small farming community, with a township centred around the intersection of Balwyn and Whitehorse Roads. It remained so until railways and tram routes penetrated the area and closer subdivisional development took place. The population then increased with corresponding changes in the nature of the community.
Local history groups
in areas adjacent to Balwyn had significant history and heritage of their own and
found limited interest in the later developing area of Balwyn
and surrounds. So residents established a group more
oriented toward Balwyn's own history.