Important Events

Important events in Warrandyte

  • Introduction
  • Gold Discovery
  • Hotels
  • State Park
  • The Bridge
  • Yarra Brae Dam
  • Warrandyte Railways
  • Automatic Telephone Exchange


Gold Discovery
In 1851, gold was first discovered in Victoria in Warrandyte at Anderson's Creek by Louis Michel, the approximate location of the site is marked by a cairn at the base of Fourth Hill in the  Warrandyte State Park. This marked the start of the Victorian Gold Rush, however more substantial discoveries in the Ballarat and Bendigo regions initially drew prospectors away from Warrandyte.

While some mining did occur in the area throughout the peak of the gold rush, it wasn't until the late 1800s, after gold discoveries reduced in the more popular regions, that the area around Warrandyte was intensively mined,  particularly around Fourth Hill and Whipstick Gully.  Some areas continued to be mined up until the 1960s.  

Throughout Warrandyte the river shows signs of being exploited during this time, a classic example being the tunnel at Pound Bend. The river was partially dammed at Pound Bend near Normans Reserve at its eastern entrance and near Bob's wetlands at its western exit. Miners then blasted a 300m long tunnel through solid rock. The river was then fully dammed at the entrance and exit to the tunnel and water was diverted through 300m and out the other side leaving 3.85 km of riverbed around Pound Bend exposed, ready to be mined.

Go to the Warrandyte Goldmining page for some background information.

Several  operated in Warrandyte  since 1856, which were

1856 Union Hotel, renamed Warrandyte Hotel in the 1870s, burned down in 1925.  Site is now the Mechanics Institute.
1870 Anderson's Creek Hotel, became Grand Hotel in 1895, still operates as a restaurant!
1870 Marble Hall Hotel, closed 1894
1870 Holloway's Hotel (McGill's Stotre) closed in 1900
1900 Warrandyte Wine Hall Hotel, closed 1924, building still stands, now a Folk Art shop

Warrandyte Bridge
The Bridge over the Yarra has always been an important landmark in Warrandyte.

1856 Punt operated behind the PO in Yarra St
1861 First bridge (wooden) built
1863 Big floods washed away the wooden bridge
1875 New high level single-lane wooden bridge built (about 50 m downstream from present bridge)
1955 New concrete bridge built, replacing old wooden bridge
2010 Community concerns raised about safety issues for the present bridge

Yarra Brae Dam ( a non-event!)
In 1973, the State Government announced plans for the  new Sugarloaf Reservoir, to augment Melbourne’s water supply. The proposal was to build two large dams,  one of which was to be across the Yarra, with the dam wall across the gorge, extending from the Yarra Brae property in Wonga Park,  Park to the Bend of Isles.

This vast dam was to inundate the land extending some 20 km as far out as Yarra Glen, which would have flooded large numbers of properties, farms, and orchards, as well as destroy recreational access to the Yarra.

The proposal was abandoned, due to to fierce community opposition.

Read the full report from the Consultants, at

Yarra Brae Report

Visit Yarra Brae Proposal,  and the map,  elsewhere in this Heritage Project

Warrandyte Railways

The first railway station at Croydon would probably have been named White Flats if most of the white plants hadn’t disappeared, ploughed in by farmers. It was first known as Warrandyte station as it was the first station in Warrandyte Parish, then South Warrandyte and finally Croydon after consultation within the community. ‘Croydon’ was selected, after the home town in England of the wife of the original owner of the land on which the station was built.

It is not commonly known, but there have been several proposals advocated by concerned citizens for construction of a railway line to Warrandyte.

  • 1890 Kew - Outer Circle - Doncaster - Templestowe - Warrandyte
  • 1910 Box Hill - Doncaster - Warrandyte
  • 1923 Collingwood - East Camberwell - D oncaster - Warrandyte
  • 1923 Eltham - Warrandyte -  Research - Kangaroo Ground - Christmas Hills - Kinglake
  • 1925 Templestowe - Warrandyte - Yarra Glen
  • 1928 Kew - East Kew -  Doncaster - Templestowe - Warrandyte

After 1930, there is no public record of any further proposals for za Warrandyte railway, but in 2010, 85 years later, some sections of the community still agitate for a Doncaster rail line! 

Coach Services

  • 1889 - An electric tram operated between Box Hill and Doncaster - closed in 1896
  • 1917  - A Coach service operated between Ringwood and Warrandyte, run by Husseys, closed in 1925
  • 1920s - Steam Buses run by the Victorian Railways served Warrandyte, and as far out as Kinglake
  • 1930s -  Coach services operated by Parlourcars, and open-air buses, ran between Warrandyte and nearby areas
Warrandyte Festival
Legend has it that the first festival was celebrated in April 1977, as  an initiative of the local environment league and historical society, a group of dedicated locals held a street parade.
The 2010 event was held on the weekend of March 19-21, with the theme "Warrandyte Dreaming", and it was run by the Warrandyte Festival Committee, and sponsored by the Manningham City Council and Nillumbik Shire Council.

Several thousand visitors came to join in the fun and action, with most of the activities and displays located on Stiggant's Riverbank.

Festival Feasting - food to suit every taste was available, as well as wine tasting from local wineries.

Radio Eastern 98.1 FM broadcast live happenings about the Festival from a studio on the Stiggant's Riverbank. The station was handing out free shopping bags, mugs, pens, and baseball caps!

Everyone enjoyed the music from various bands and groups, from the Riverbank and Main Stages!

The 2011 Festival is planned for Mar 18-20.  CU there!

For all the details, please visit Warrandyte Festival

Automatic Telephone Exchange

The first telephone exchange in Warrandyte started in 1912. It was a magneto manual switchboard, located in the original Post Office building at 111 Yarra St, and the first subscriber was the Grand Hotel, which previously had been connected to Kangaroo Ground since 1900.  It was replaced in 1955 by a new automatic exchange in another location on the south side of Yarra St.

In 1958, I was a Trainee Technician in the then PMG's Department, and I gained practical experience in various exchanges in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. One of my postings was to the newly constructed Ringwood Exchange,  whose staff had responsibility for managing the small new Warrandyte automatic exchange, 12 km to the north. On several occasions I went with the Senior Technician from Ringwood out to Warrandyte to assist in clearing fault reports and arrange connections of new subscribers - this was a "trip to the country" - in those years, Warrandyte was a rural community!

Photos by your author of the 2010Warrandyte Festival

Festival 2010

1977 Festival Parade (source: Fesitval website)

Festival 2010 - High School Band

 Festival 2010 - The Slide

Heritage Images of buses, coaches, trains and trams  around Warrandyte

1930 Box Hill to Warrandyte coach

1934 - Parlourcars coach

1925 - Victorian Railways coach to Warrandyte

1905 - Victorian Railways Steam Bus near Warrandyte

1920 - Motor Bus at Warrandyte

1889 - Box Hill to Doncaster electric tramway

1917 - Hussey's Coach at Ringwood Station

1887 - Kew Railway Station (proposed line would have ran from here to Warrandyte

1894 - Train explosion at Ringwood station

1906 - Train derailment at Ringood Station (Wantirna Rd)

1920 - Train at Ringwood Station

1920 - Ringwood Station and train

1920 - Dray in Warrandyte



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