Boroondara City


Population: 154,000

Local areas within the municipality of Boroondara:

Camberwell, Hawthorn , Kew, Balwyn, Deepdene, Canterbury, Surrey Hills, Glen Iris, Ashburton.

The Boroondara logo in the shape of a leaf (with colours of green and terracotta), "reflects the earthly nature of the topography and vegetation of the area". The words 'Boroondara - City of Harmony' is printed under this symbol, which is on most Council information and letterheads.


Meaning of the Name of the City:

"Boroondara' - "a place in the shade"

The term "Boroondara" comes from a word in the Woiwurrung language, spoken by the local Wurundjeri and four other main tribal groups of the "Kulin" nation, in the Port Phllip region in the 1830s. It is interpreted as "where the ground is thickly shaded".

Boroondara was first designated to a locality in 1854 as the Boroondara Road District. In 1860, Hawthorn and Kew broke away to form separate municipalities and the remaining district of Boroondara later became Camberwell.

In 1994, Boroondara was recreated as a city, bringing together the former cities of Camberwell, Hawthorn and Kew. Today, the city of Boroondara, essentially a residential area, has a relatively stable population of approximately 154,000 people, living in some 63,000 homes. (From: City of Boroondara 'Corporate Plan Overview' 1999-2002)

Who was the founder? What is known of the values/vision of the Founder/s?

In 1803, Charles Grimes - Assistant Surveyor-General of New South Wales, and his party carried out and exploratory mission, then returned to their boat moored in a Bay. This was the first recorded visit by white people.

"Thirty years later, Surveyors Robert Hoddle, William Darke and Thomas Nutt spent time mapping landmarks, watercourses and squatting runs, surveying land for subdivision in the area defined as the Parish of Boroondara". The name Boroondara was translated from the Woiwurrung by Hoddle as 'where the ground is thickly shaded'. ('A History of Hawthorn' by Peel, Zion, & Yule)

Where did the original European settlers come from?

Most of the original European settlers were from England, Ireland, and Scotland. The early Settlers in Boroondara were Pastoralists, Surveyors, 'timbercutters in Boroondara's rich forests', labourers, brickmakers and market gardeners. "They were joined in the 1850s by more affluent individuals moving out beyond Melbourne".

In 1856 John Gardiner, (birth place -Dublin ) was the first pastoralist settle in Boroondara with his family. "...his greatest achievement was that he with a party of men, ...drove cattle down from New South Wales, becoming the first overlanders". His cattle run extended from Bulleen, Kew, Camberwell, Brighton, with Prahan and St Kilda "thrown in".

1937 onwards - President of the Port Phillip Auxillary Temperance Society. 1840 - Became the Managing Director of the Port Phillip Bank in Collins Street. 1853 - Returned to England.

Gardiner played an important part in claiming Eastern Port Phillip, from its original inhabitants.

The aboriginal history of the area.

There were thirty-eight tribal groups known in Victoria. In the Port Phillip region, there were five main tribal groups. These were: The Wurundjeri, Bunurong, Wauthurong, Kurung and Taungorong. They shared the Woiwurrung language which used the word 'Kulin' for man. They were also nomadic and roamed an area confined by natural boundaries.

The Wurundjeri were made up of small tribes of about twenty seven mainly extended families living together. Kinship was based not just on blood ties, but on the concept of tribal family group. Extended kinship structure formed the basis of behaviour and social relationships.

Spiritual Beliefs:

They believed in a creator 'Bunjil' who formed human beings out of bark, provided them digging with sticks and spears and dispersed them throughout the land. Bunjil was also seen as responsible for unity in relationships between the Kulin people and the natural world.

They hunted animals and river's harvest of fish, mussels, eels and water birds. "Plants were highly regarded as source of nourishment".

The 1830s pastoral expansion with huge runs, "superimposed over Aboriginal hunting territories". An early settler claimed that Aboriginal were scarce in the Boroondara district after the 1850s.

Reasons for decrease in numbers were thought to be a result of "native warfare", also smallpox, other diseases,(tuberculosis, gastric) and too much alcohol. "Many were killed deliberately with poisoned foood, or shot because they speared cows, and sheep for food or stole stores". ('A History of Hawthorn' by Pell, Zion, and Yule. & 'Hawthorn Peppercorns' by Gwen McWilliam)

Local reconciliation efforts through the community or church:

A seminar organized by St Hilary's Anglican Church in Kew, to look at the issue of Aboriginal reconciliation in October 1999. Indigenous and non-indigenous people discussed: - The stolen generation, native title, and mandatory sentencing laws in the Northern Territory.

ST Mark's Anglican Church in Camberwell, held talks between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Discussions were: "fruitful, challenging, and inspiring".


Church going was an important part of community life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. "Almost everyone went to church, even those lacking any religious sense,...the christian churches held considerable influence in politics, the private world of the family, education and class relations". Sites for major denominations were included in the original Hawthorn village plan.

According to the 1996 census figures (Australian Bureau of Statistics), 20.6% of Boroondara residents stated that they are of 'no religion'. This has increased from 16.4% in 1991.

The Church today:
Number of Churches and Denominations:

Anglican: 18 Baptist: 12 Lutheran: 1 Churches of Christ: 4 Apostolic: 1 Weslyan Methodist:1 Roman Catholic:18 Uniting: 16 S.D.Adventist: Salvation Army: 2 Presbyterian: 6 Greek Orthodox: 2 Hebrew Congregation:2 Melb Chinese: 1 Chinese Methodist: 1 Armenian Apostolic: 1 C. Praise Centre:1 InterChurchcouncil: Full Gospel Assembly: 1

Other cultural clubs and societies

These included: Sporting Clubs, Scouts, Boys Naval Brigade, Girl Guides, The Horticultural Society, The Literary Association, Music, The Hawthorn Operatic and others.

"Foremost among these societies during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the Masonic Lodges and the friendly societies". The Lodges continued into the twentieth century. The friendly societies appeared in Hawthorn during the 1850s.

Sir James Frederick Palmer

  • 1845-46 - purchased Crown alllotments in Boroondara. He left Medicine for Commerce. Was an active patron of Christ Church and the Hawthorn National School which he declared open in 1853.
  • Palmer was a key player in establishing the Road District in 1854.
  • Other involvements included cultural and sporting associations.
  • Beyond Hawthorn, Palmer was also the Mayor of Melbourne in 1845-46.
  • September 1848 - Represented the Port Phillip District in the Legislative Council in New South Wales. 1851 - Elected first Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Council serving on a committee which drafted the colony's constitution in 1853. 1870 - Received a knighthood.
  • He played a key role in the creation of the University of Melbourne, the Public Library, Melbourne Hospital and the national system of Education, chairing both the Board of National Education and Board of Education. (from an article on Palmer, in 'A History of Hawthorn' by Peel, Zion, and Yule)
Population in 1854

In 1854 almost half of Boroondara's residents had migrated from England, Irish-born immigrants were 18% and Scots 8%.

Birth places

Victorian 698. England 930, Other Australia and New Zealand 83, Scotland 142, Wales 16, Ireland 395, 4 British colonies, 8 East Indians (British), France 6, Germany 40, Other Europe 7, U.S.A.2

Present population:

Main ethinic groups:
  • Indigenous origin 0.1%, Australian 67.8%, U.K., Ireland and N.Z. 5.8%
  • Europe & USSR 11.11%, Middle East & North Africa 0.64%
  • South East Asia 3.02%, North America 0.79 , Sth America , Central America & the Caribbean 0.19%, Africa (excluding North Africa) 0.66%
Dominant age groups:

Age group 0-19 (increase of 1900 persons) and 40-59 year age groups (increase of 2500 persons). The 0-19 and 40-59 year age groups now comprise 24% and 25%. Total population increase between 1994 and 1996 has been by these age groups. In the 60-79 age groups (decrease of 900 persons.) The 80 years and older age group has remained stable at approximately 5% of the population.

Socio-economic make-up:

Degree or higher 22.13%, undergraduates 7.15%, skilled vocational 3.67%, basic vocational 1.94%. Managerial, administration, professional & associate professionals 36.54%, clerical & sales 7.74%, tradesperson 2.3%, labourers & related work 1.43%.

Christian Organizations:

  • 'Alive' Christian magazine (previously 'On Being Alive'), Hawthorn.
  • Baptist Union Victoria, Hawthorn.
  • Celebrate Messiah Aust Inc, (office) Jewish Fellowship, Hawthorn.
  • Child Evangelism Fellowship - Surrey Hills
  • Indonesian Campus Ministries, Hawthorn.
  • Salvation Army Eastcare & Salvation Army Hawthorn Project.
  • Youth With A Mission, (Interdenominational Missionary Training Base), Surrey Hills.

Major institutions and structure in Boroondara:

Local Council:


Last Updated on Monday, 06 February 2006 07:22


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