Our History

Local Legends

Car manufacturing in Armadale in 1898

One of Australia’s first cars was manufactured in 1898 by Herbert Thomson in High Street Armadale. The original car is on display in the Melbourne Museum.

Soldiers of the Cross

Belgrave was built in 1873 for Robert and Elizabeth Benson at the corner of Dandenong Road and Benson’s Road (Belgrave Road). From 1898 the Salvation Army leased Belgrave from Benson’s estate and the house was used as a Girls’ Industrial Home.

Malvern star

The first Malvern Star bicycle was made by champion cyclist Thomas Finnigan in Glenferrie Road Malvern in 1903. World champion cyclist (Sir) Hubert ‘Oppy’ Opperman joined the business after it was sold to (Sir) Bruce Small in 1920.

A Wireless First

In 1924 the Mayor, Councillor C.J. Waters, opened a Begonia Show by ‘wireless’ at the Malvern Town Hall in High Street Malvern. The occasion was a notable one in the history of wireless transmission in Australia.

Out for a duck!

Malvern Cricket Club, formed in 1859, was known as the Malvern Hill Cricket Club. The club has always been located at its present site, the Malvern Cricket Ground.

Hunting days in Malvern

As early as 1863, the Wattle Tree Hotel is mentioned as a location relating to hunting. Foxes, hares, kangaroos, dingoes, and deer were hunted in the local area.

Tolls and Turnpike keepers

Under the Act (1853) for making and improving Roads in the Colony of Victoria, District Road Boards were empowered to levy tolls, after one month’s public notice.

The challenges of early street lighting

What a road Break Neck Road (part of Waverley Road) must have been to travel over at night. At the time there was hardly a light on the roads beyond the light at the toll gate.

The famous eight-hour labour movement

The famous Eight-Hour Labour Movement was first brought into prominence at a meeting of the Malvern Council.

Pollution problems!

In the 1870s the pure air of Malvern was contaminated in several ways. There were at least three brick kilns and brick-making plants. Ill-kept slaughter yards in Malvern were detrimental to health conditions.

Victoria’s first bowling club

It is believed that Malvern had the first bowling green in Victoria as early as the 1860s. The Gardiner Hotel was a well-known hotel.

The night the plane crash-landed in Malvern

Early one morning in 1937, two school friends Jack Macalister and Neil Sloane, left Benalla Airport. As they approached Melbourne thick fog rolled in from Port Phillip Bay and obscured their view of Essendon Aerodrome.

Midnight visitors

The Convent of the Good Shepherd was built in 1883 at the corner of Dandenong Road and Castlebar Road and offered academic, domestic and commercial training for girls aged 11 to 13 who were deemed to be in need of care by the Children’s Court.

An unexpected visitor to the Good Shepherd Convent

On one occasion, around 1890, a Good Shepherd Sister answered the front doorbell and spoke to an elderly man with a quiet voice and a respectable appearance.

A water cure in Malvern

In 1861 Frenchman, Armand Auguste Fortune LaMoile, opened the Malvern Hill Water-cure establishment close to present-day Hopetoun Road, between Malvern and Toorak Roads, Toorak.

Beware! Malvern 1921

A gift from Malvern, England

A cricket bat, signed by players, was presented to Malvern, Australia, from Malvern, England, in 1948. A letter to the Mayor of Malvern accompanied the bat.

The early years in Prahran

Prahran, from all accounts, was not a grassland to covet when compared with the surrounding country.

Travelling between Prahran and Melbourne

In 1853-4 transport to and from Melbourne was very haphazard. A pair-horse vehicle started from the Duke of York Hotel, in High Street, east of Chapel Street, at 8.30 am, leaving Melbourne on its return at five o’clock.

Prahran City Hall burns

The most disastrous fire in Prahran was the one that left the beautiful civic building a mass of twisted girders, confused heaps of scorched bricks, the place covered with water and ash.

Windsor railway accident in 1887

One of the most sensational occurrences in Prahran was the Windsor railway accident, which took place shortly before six o’clock on Wednesday 11 May 1887.

Residents’ first water supply

The Yarra River was the first source of the Prahran settlement’s water supply. The walk to the river with a couple of buckets for the day’s supply was a necessary daily duty.

First House in the village of Toorak

Mr Eldridge’s log hut, on the south side of Toorak Road, was the first house built in the village of Toorak.

Local nightlife

During World War I, a six o’clock closing time for hotels was introduced, supposedly as a temporary measure. By 1966 Victorian hotels were able to stay open until 10 pm.