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About Us

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:

 

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 residemts formed the Balwyn Historical Society to foster appreciation of and promote interest in local history of the area.
 

Dating from the 1890s, Colongulac is the oldest substantial residence in North Balwyn

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.