Return to Homepage Frequently Asked Questions Updated 30.6.16

The following questions may provide an initial answer to questions that you might have on the history of the Waverley- Mulgrave district.
If you require more specific information then Email our Research Officer whsResearch .

Q. Why is my street / suburb named as it is?
A. Please refer to our website for basic information - see the Street Names Database. For more, ask the
WHS Research Officer.

Q. What was on my land before my house was built?
A. Most Waverley homes are built on old orchards and market gardens, some on golf courses and similar
reserves, but for specific information ask the Research Officer.

Q. What is the oldest building in Waverley?
A.The oldest buildings still standing are the St Stephens church in Mt Waverley, the Wheelers Hill Uniting
church, the Wheelers Hill Hotel, Mountain View Hotel, Notting Hill Hotel, Black Flat Community Centre
(old Glen Waverley State School), and some homes in various places. There are also a few old bridges
and many old trees. Ask us about any that interest you.

Q. Where can I find out more about local history? Can I buy the books?
A. The Monash City Libraries have a collection of books relating to the Waverley and Oakleigh district.
We have a limited number of books for sale, at $25 - $35 each.  Ask the Secretary for the current list. If
you want to just browse first, visit your local library! The main histories are Cattlemen to Commuters, 
Waverley Past and Present, Once there was Jordanville and Wandering Around Waverley.  There
are also a number of smaller booklets, and histories of specific organisations around Waverley, like schools,
churches, clubs, and businesses. Also, visit your local historical society! We have files on many topics as
well as photographic images and more. We have indexes for all the major books and are indexing more all
the time. We can email you the page numbers to look in each book for the topic you request.

Q. Can I find out more about my ancestors who lived in Waverley?
A. Though our collection is by no means exhaustive yet, we may have information on your Waverley
family. Search our street names data base and also the library's database, and / or contact the
WHS Research Officer. If you know roughly where they lived, we may be able to tell you more exactly. Then
you could find out more from the Titles Office.

Q. Do you have a photo of my great grandfather who was a local councillor?
A. Alas, probably not, but ask anyway, there may be something. (If you do manage to find a photograph of
him we would be delighted to receive a copy.)

Q. How much does it cost to consult the Research Officer?
A. For simple questions there is no fee (except for multi page photcopyng for which we would appreciate a
small donation). For large or complex projects we would appreciate a suitable donation. but if you are able
to furnish us with additional information for our files then we may waive a donation.

Q. There is an old house near me that is going to be demolished. Can we fight to save it?
A. Much as we appreciate how you feel, if the house is not heritage listed, there is not much we can do.
Reasons for NOT being listed include structural deficiency, loss of authenticity, lack of uniqueness, and
lack of significant features. Heritage is a mixed blessing, especially for the owners of the house, who
are limited in the uses and changes they can make.

Q. Our organisation is having a special anniversary soon. Can you help us collect our history?
A. Certainly we will do what we can.  However your own members will probably be a better source of
anecdotes and photos. (If you should produce a document outlining your group's history we would be
delighted to receive a copy for our records.)

Q. Grandma died recently and left heaps of things we don't know what to do with. Do you want them?
A. Thank you for asking! Most of our collection is from just such sources, and much history is lost when
such things are thrown out. We reserve the right to deal with donations as we see fit, since our storage
facilities are limited, but we would be glad of the opportunity to see what Grandma left. (Note that some of
those old family photographs might be of interest to us as they sometimes have other significant items
in the
background with which we can use to date various events.)

Q. What is the origin of the name Waverley?
A. Great question! We don't know all the ins and outs, but we can tell you a lot.

The area was named by a very early speculator with visions of great riches derived from subdividing and
creating townships. His name was Dr James Silverman.

If you are able to come to our rooms one Wednesday afternoon, there are some good articles about him in
our past newsletters, issue numbers 20, 69, 86, 157, 166, especially the last.

The official history of the area, Cattlemen to Commuters, discusses him on pages 23, 33, 187. It is in
the Monash Public library.

There is also a leaflet about the naming in the library:

We don't really know why he chose the name Waverley, but have some guesses. He spent some years in
Scotland, and there is a Waverley station in Edinburgh: 
and also a Waverley Abbey in Surrey where he apparently spent some time:

More on the streets named after people in the Waverley novels can be found here:

The area Silverman bought and subdivided was the southeast corner of High Street Rd and Stephensons Rd.
That was early in 1854. He actually created many townships, but few sold well, and we think this is the
only one that retains the name. He called it just Waverley.

Then in 1905 after much deliberating over many years, the people of Black Flat wanted to change their
town name and chose Waverley as their new name. "Hey, you can't do that! WE are Waverley and we
are only a few miles away!!"
objected the others (and the Post Master General's department). In the
end Black Flat said, "Okay, we'll be GLEN Waverley, and you can be MOUNT Waverley, because
you are higher than we are."

Then when the Shire of Mulgrave was to become a city, it chose to restore the old Waverley name and
make it cover the whole. Thus in 1961 we became the City of Waverley until 1994 when we recombined
with the City of Oakleigh to become the City of Monash.

Q. Some members of our family had properties on the borders of the Waverley District, what other
groups might have information?
A. Our sister societies which border the Waverley District are listed in our Links page.