The following website contains information and stories relating to the Wurundjeri people, the first people to occupy the Melbourne area prior to European colonisation. They were part of the Woiwurrung language group.
For interesting facts and illustrations suitable for students click here
The City of Stonnington logo was developed in 1994 following the amalgamation of the former Cities of Malvern and Prahran. The logo comprises an 'S' formed by two celebratory ribbons encircled by a striped border and the Council name in the logotype beneath. A complete identity for the City of Stonnington has been derived from the logo and the elements within the logo. It is this identity that creates a strong sense of recognition for Stonnington amongst its wide audience. The logo reflects the unique character of Stonnington - a City of quality and diversity, it has a distinctive personality which sets our City apart from all others.
On 6 October 1856 the "Gardiner Road District" was proclaimed. The boundaries were the roads and features now known as Kooyong Road, Gardiners Creek, Warrigal Road and Dandenong Road.
In 1853, English barrister Charles Bruce Graeme Skinner purchased Crown allotment 25, 84 acres of land west of Glenferrie Road. He subdivided the land, which he named the Malvern Hill Estate, after the Malvern Hills in England where his forebears had lived. The name Malvern was first used when Skinner named his new hotel the Malvern Hill Hotel. Skinner also planned a village to be named Ledbury close to the hotel. Skinner built the Malvern Hill Hotel on the corner of present day Glenferrie Road and Malvern Road.
In November 1856 a meeting was held at the Wattletree Hotel to elect the first members of the Gardiner Road Board (forerunner to Malvern Council)
The boundaries of the City of Stonnington are Punt Road, Yarra River, Gardiners Creek, Warrigal Road, Dandenong Road and Queens Way. www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/about/cityprofile
The mansion Stonington in Glenferrie Road Malvern was built in 1890 for John Wagner, a founding partner in the Victorian Branch of Cobb and Co. The house was designed by prominent architect, Charles DEbro, who was also responsible for the design of Princes Bridge, Prahran Market and Prahran Town Hall. The residence was named Stonington after the birthplace of Wagners wife Mary, who had been born in Stonington Connecticut, U.S.A. John Wagner lived with his family at Stonington until his death in 1901
Stonnington Council has an excellent, easy to access web site. www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/home
This site covers a wide range of topics including the Mayor and Councillors, environment, recreation, maps, arts and culture and recreation.
Initially funded jointly by the Commonwealth Government and Stonnington Council to celebrate the Centenary of Federation, the markers are a series of plaques erected around the municipality. Over 50 historically significant sites, people and events are identified. The full text of the markers with an accompanying photo can be found linked to a map on the Council web site www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/experiencestonnington/INDEX2.HTM
The Outer Circle Railway line ran from Fairfield, through Kew and Camberwell to Oakleigh.Opening in 1891, the state owned railway was originally designed to link the Gippsland railway line with Spencer Street Station, avoiding the privately owned line from Caulfield to Flinders Street Station. The Black Bridge was a single line timber trestle bridge spanning Gardiners Creek. After the State Government bought the Caulfield to Melbourne line the outer circle’s primary justification disappeared. The line was closed to passenger traffic in 1898. An irregular goods service utilized the line, but this too was closed by 1920. The tracks remained until 1940. The present Urban Forest in East Malvern, on the site of the Outer Circle Railway, has been designed to recreate an eco-system that existed before European settlement.
In 1958 part of the Convent of the Good Shepherd land at Chadstone was purchased for Melbournes first regional shopping centre. In less than two years, 30 acres of pastureland was converted to the largest centre of its type in Australia. Chadstone Shopping Centre was opened on 3 October 1960 by the Premier, (Sir) Henry Bolte, and was advertised as a new era in suburban shopping. It included 72 shops, a three-level Myer department store, a supermarket, an upper and lower mall, radio station 3UZ, exhibition hall, medical centre and child minding facilities.
The first Malvern Star bicycle was made at 185 Glenferrie Road, by champion cyclist Thomas Finnigan in 1903. World champion cyclist (Sir) Hubert "Oppy" Opperman joined the business after it was sold to (Sir) Bruce Small in 1920. The partnership of "Oppy" and Small made Malvern Star a household name and the business grew to become a bicycling empire unequalled in the Southern Hemisphere
Holy Trinity Church in Dandenong Road East Malvern, on the corner of Warrigal Road, is the oldest church in the former City of Malvern. The original church building, now Liddiard Hall, was constructed in 1858 of site-fired, hand-made bricks, on land granted by the Government for Church of England purposes.
Originally built in 1853, The Malvern Hill Hotel is the oldest hotel in the Malvern district. The Malvern Hill Hotel was built for barrister and land developer, Charles G.B. Skinner to attract purchasers to his planned Village of Ledbury in the Malvern Hills Estate. The present two-story brick building was erected in front of the original weatherboard hotel and stables in 1861. It can still be seen behind the more recent facade.
The Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust was formed in 1908 to construct and operate municipal electric tramways. The Trusts first lines - along High Street, from Charles Street Prahran to Tooronga Road Malvern, and via Glenferrie Road and Wattletree Road to Burke Road East Malvern opened on 30 May 1910. The original depot was the first, and later the largest of the depots constructed by Melbournes Municipal Tramways Trust prior to the formation of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board. The Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust played a key role in facilitating suburban expansion south of the Yarra River. Tramways were extended into the municipalities of Caulfield and St Kilda (1911), Melbourne (1912), Hawthorn and Kew (1913) and Camberwell (1916). In February 1920, when the Trust was taken over by the Tramways Board, it was operating over 90 trams on 35 route miles of tramway.
Thomas Pockett OBE, was the Curator of Parks and Gardens in the City of Malvern from 1888 to 1918. Pockett designed gardens include Malvern Gardens and Central Park. He was responsible for the planting of many miles of Malvern’s street trees. Pockett achieved world acclaim in the breeding and growing of chrysanthemums, and displays of his prize-winning blooms became a feature of these gardens.
The first (steam) trains from South Yarra to Caulfield ran through Hawksburn, Toorak, Armadale and Malvern stations in 1879, linking the line to Gippsland. Following construction of the electric tramway in 1910, the railway cutting was excavated between Hawksburn and Malvern, the level crossings became road bridges and the line was doubled from South Yarra. By 1914 the present station had replaced an earlier station. The railway line was electrified in 1922.
The roads now known as Glenferrie Road and High Street were first surveyed in 1854. In 1857 Glenferrie Road was named Barkly Road after the Governor, Sir Henry Barkly. In 1872 the road was re-named Glenferrie Road, apparently after Glen Ferrie, a 60 acre property established by Malvern pioneer Peter Ferrie, overlooking Gardiners Creek at Kooyong. From the first settlement in the 1850s, market gardens, nurseries and a few houses on large allotments lined the rough bush roads. From 1858 William Chandler, known for his world famous cauliflowers and the Statesmans Apple, established a market garden. The first general store in Glenferrie Road was built in 1860 by Robert Alway, on the south-west corner of Wattletree Road.
In 1946 the Holmesglen Housing Factory was established in order to manufacture prefabricated concrete houses. With the acute housing shortage created by World War II, the former Commonwealth Tank factory building, still standing on the site with its distinctive saw-tooth roof, was re-assigned for a State Housing Project and leased to the Victorian Housing Commission. At the factory at Holmesglen the entire operation became a production line process and the concrete houses were transported to construction sites. By 1948, 1,000 houses had been produced. By 1964 the Concrete House Project was turning out pre-cast walls for villas as well as 2, 3, 4, 8 and 20 storey concrete flats in slum reclamation areas, including the Horace Petty Estate in South Yarra. Park Towers, the award winning 30 storey flats in South Melbourne, reputed to be the tallest pre-cast, load-bearing wall building in the world, was built at Holmesglen. By 1980 the factory had closed. The building occupied by the housing factory is now part of Holmesglen Institute of TAFE.
Land for the original Municipal Golf Course was acquired over a period of 20 years. Beginning in 1904, 18 acres (7.2 hectares) of Crown Land in the vicinity of East Malvern Station, was acquired. In 1923, agent T M Burke subdivided the Malvern Meadows Estate east of the Black Bridge and donated around 70 acres of low-lying creek land to Malvern Council for recreation purposes. By 1924 work had commenced on the construction of the Municipal Golf Links at Waverley Park adjoining East Malvern Station. Reclamation of the creek lands included clearing and draining the swamps. During the Depression unemployed relief workers were used to lay out the Golf Links. The 9 hole Municipal Golf Links between Thornbury Crescent and Scotchmans Creek was opened in April 1931 and additional land was purchased on the Camberwell side of Gardiners Creek. A new creek bed, from Scotchmans Creek to Warrigal Road, was cut by sustenance workers. A 13 hole course was opened in April 1934 and a year later the 18 hole course, covering 110 acres, opened with facilities at Thornbury Crescent. In the 1980s around eight hectares were taken from the 43 hectare Golf Course for the Arterial Road Link. A major re-development resulted in the present course - one of the few architecturally designed PUBLIC golf courses in Melbourne.
In 1924, Council voted to build Malverns first Municipal Baths. The proposed location (a redundant tip site) was at the corner of High and Edgar Streets. The Malvern Baths were designed using ideas from overseas and included a wedge shaped pool and bathing boxes. The Malvern Baths were opened by the Mayor Cr. Harry Wilmot, in November 1927. By the early 1960s the facilities were declared inadequate and outmoded and in 1966 Malvern Council commissioned architects Kevin Borland and Daryl Jackson to design a new swimming pool complex. The complex consisted of five pools, with a large glass walled building enclosing a 25 metre beginners pool, which enabled year-long swimming. Outside, the main Olympic pool was the first pool in Australia designed to metric standards. Following the tragic death at sea in December 1967 of Malvern’s local member and Prime Minister of Australia, the new pool was named the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre. The Centre was opened by the Prime Minister, John Gorton in March 1969. In 1988 substantial additions to the building included the construction of a therapeutic pool, spa, sauna and a multi purpose room. The outdoor pool became the first in Victoria to be heated for year round swimming. The building, now classified by the National Trust, is considered to be among the most notable examples of Brutalist architecture, a style adopted in the 1960s. The Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre remains one of Melbournes foremost aquatic facilities.
Planning for a shire hall commenced as early as 1867. In 1878 land was reserved for a shire hall, court house and library. Two years later, the estimated cost of erecting a building comprising a shire hall, municipal, post and telegraph offices, library and reading room was considered too expensive. In 1884, the proposal was again considered and it was proposed that the building would include a hall capable of holding 400 people, a court house, public reading room and library and rooms for a Magistrate, Clerk of Petty Sessions and Shire Secretary. Plans by architects Wilson and Beswicke were accepted for the new building. The foundation stone of the Malvern Shire was laid by the Hon. Alfred Deakin on 22 September 1885. On 26 July 1886, a large crowd witnessed the opening ceremony and in the evening a civic banquet was held in the Main Hall. Additions to the Shire Hall in 1890 included an extended Glenferrie Road facade and a second tower, to be used as a lookout tower for the fire station located at the rear of the Town Hall. The following year the main tower was extended to accommodate the clock presented by Cr. Alex McKinley.
The Wattletree Hotel was erected prior to 1855 and was the venue for the first meetings of the Gardiner Road Board (forerunner to Malvern Council in November 1856. The hotels first licensee was Thomas Griffiths followed by John Heywood, who was largely responsible for the establishment of the Caulfield Race Course. Race horses were stabled at the inn and trained on the sandy land. The hotel was a popular meeting place for hunt clubs, whose quarry included foxes, hares, kangaroos, dingoes and deer. The Wattletree Hotel ceased to be a hotel in 1866. In 1873, the original 10 acres were subdivided. Glendearg Grove was created in 1888 and soon after, new owner, Thomas Thompson renamed it Glendearg. The building, now classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), is described as a building of simple forms, with timber verandah and restrained colonial details, is of architectural interest as an early hotel which survives to illustrate the vernacular building traditions of early Melbourne. The meticulously maintained wayside inn is of local historical importance being the oldest surviving intact building in Malvern and closely connected with the social history and physical development of that suburb.
The Convent of the Good Shepherd was built in 1883 in Dandenong Road, next door to Chadstone Cottage. In 1881, in order to extend the work of the Convent at Abbotsford, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd established a convent and reformatory school on land at Oakleigh (later known as Chadstone). The Convent of the Good Shepherd opened in December 1883, for the purpose of training and educating poor and neglected children. The Convent offered academic, domestic and commercial training for girls aged 11 to 13 who were deemed by the Childrens Court to be in need of care and it also provided care for older girls and women. The Convent was also remembered for the quality of its embroidery. From 1958 to 1963, parts of the Convent land were sold for development of the shopping centre. In 1984, 3.2 hectares of land containing the Convent of the Good Shepherd were sold and in 1985 the Convent was demolished in order to extend the car park at Chadstone Shopping Centre.
Northbrook, a Victorian Italianate villa designed by architect Charles DEbro, was built in 1888/9 for auctioneer Donald Munro. DEbro also designed Stonington mansion, Prahran Town Hall and the Prahran Market. It was built on 2.5 acres (one hectare) of land facing High Street, at the corner of Queens (Northbrook) Avenue. Munro, a Malvern Shire Councillor 1890-1902 and Shire President 1895-6, was the son of James Munro, Premier of Victoria. Donald Munro was a partner with W L Baillieu in a successful auctioneering business, before the economic disasters of the 1890s. It appears that Donald Munro never lived in his new home. Merchant, Robert Sellar was Northbrooks first occupier. When the home was owned by malster, Michael J. Daley, in 1897, the ballroom with its vaulted timber ceiling was added. In 1929, Robert Young purchased the property and subdivided the land, including the tennis court, facing Northbrook Avenue. The house was then described as a residence of 10 very large rooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, scullery, pantry, large cellar and ballroom. A noble allotment beautifully laid out in lawns, shrubs and flowers. With very substantial stabling and a loft. The property is admirably situated for a first class Guest House or entertainment establishment. After the property was purchased by Malvern City Council in 1945, the cast iron verandah was removed and in 1958 the Malvern Library was erected in front of the home. The timber coach house has been demolished but the stables remain. Northbrook is now listed on the Register of the National Estate and is classified by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
The (Royal) Melbourne Golf Club started in Turner Street East Malvern in 1891 but when the club moved to Sandringham in 1901, the course was taken over by the Caulfield Golf Club. This club became the Metropolitan when it moved to Oakleigh in 1907.
The Sun and Moon in Malvern City Square were designed by artist Paul Juraszek. The sculptures evoke Apollo - the sun god Diana, the huntress goddess of the moon and the Minotaur. The Sun and Moon were presented to Malvern Council on May 19, 1989. Malvern City Square was opened on 22 April 1989 by Mayor, Cr Janice Carpenter. The statues have been Classified by the National Trust of Australia (Vic)
Stonnington residents and the residents of the former City of Malvern have always played and supported a wide range of sports. A search of the City of Stonnington History Catalogue will give you more information on a wide range of sports including cricket, football, tennis, golf, basketball, bowling, blind cricket, athletics, swimming, lacrosse, croquet, cycling, marching, hunting, polo, and trugo.
Residents have enjoyed many different forms of entertainment. A search of the City of Stonnington History Catalogue will give you more information. Popular local bands, choirs, theatres, orchestras, dramatic groups and artist societies have flourished and been supported by the local residents.
The Royal Historical Society of Victorias Virtual Exhibition-Why Melbourne? is a fascinating site for both children and adults. Click on the link below and then on RHSV VIRTUAL EXHIBITION-WHY MELBOURNE?
The History Catalogue on the Stonnington Local History Service web page is a great place to start. Just type in a persons name, a street name etc.
If you are would like to find out more information for family research contact the Stonnington Local History Service. At any stage during your research the Society would appreciates the donation of material including copies of documents and photographs, to include in our collection.
Stonnington Council's "Thematic Environmental History" (2006) contains detailed information on all these topics and many more. Copies are available for vborrowing from the Stonnington Libraries. It can also be purchased from Stonnington City Council.