Our History

Local Names

City Of Stonnington

The City of Stonnington was formed on 22 June 1994, with the amalgamation of the cities of Malvern and Prahran. Stonnington encompasses the suburbs of Armadale, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East, Toorak, Prahran and Windsor, and parts of Glen Iris and South Yarra. The name Stonnington was taken from the mansion Stonington in Glenferrie Road, Malvern.

Gatehouse at Stonnington 2007

Stonnington History Centre SHC61803


The mansion Stonington, in Glenferrie Road Malvern, was built in 1890 for John Wagner. Wagner was a founding partner in the Victorian Branch of Cobb and Co.

Architect Charles D’Ebro designed the house. He was also responsible for the design of Princes Bridge, Prahran Market and Prahran Town Hall. The residence was named Stonington after the birthplace of Mary Wagner, who had been born in Stonington Connecticut U.S.A. John Wagner lived with his family at Stonington until he died in 1901.

From 1901-1931 the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia was located in Melbourne. The Governor-General resided in the State Government House, The Domain, South Yarra. Stonington was an appropriate official residence and became the Vice-Regal residence for seven Governors of Victoria. During this era the spelling of the name was changed, from Stonington to Stonnington. In 1994 the name of the house reverted to its original spelling, Stonington.

Within the municipality of Stonnington are the following:


In 1875, James Munro, a member of the Legislative Assembly, purchased land on the west side of Kooyong Road, then known as Boundary Road. His new home, Armadale, was built the following year.


The name Chadstone (renamed Malvern East in 1991) originated from an early farmhouse, Chadstone, built for William Johnson in 1858.


Malvern was originally named Gardiner after John Gardiner, one of the first overlanders who travelled from the Murrumbidgee River to Port Phillip in 1837.

Glen Iris

The name Glen Iris first appears on the eastern side of Gardiners Creek when the ‘Glen Iris Estate’ was advertised for sale in 1852.


Hawksburn House, on about 33 hectares of land, was built in 1851 for James Cassell, the Collector of Customs.


Kooyongkoot was the name first used for Gardiners Creek. ‘Kooyong’ is an indigenous word meaning ‘camp or resting place’, ‘the haunt of the waterfowl’.


In 1853 English barrister Charles Bruce Graeme Skinner purchased 84 acres west of Glenferrie Road at the Crown Land sales. He subdivided the land, naming it the Malvern Hill Estate, after the Malvern Hills, UK, where his ancestors had lived.


The suburb of Prahran takes its name from the Aboriginal word for the area, Pur-ra-ran. According to George Langhorne, a missionary to local Aborigines in 1837, Pur-ra-ran is a compound of two words meaning ‘land partially surrounded by water’.

South Yarra

In the early days of Melbourne, the area now known as South Yarra had a few huts close to the south bank of the Yarra River.


Toorak is said to come from an aboriginal word meaning swamp with rushes. Toorak House is possibly the oldest surviving mansion in Victoria.


The suburb Windsor is thought to be named after Windsor, Berkshire, UK. The suburb was first known as Prahran South before being changed to Windsor in 1891.