History

Websites
A detailed account of the history of the land that became the Aurora Estate appears in various sections of the 85 page document “Aurora Heritage Interpretation Strategies” by Nicola McColl and Sue Hodges (SHP Sue Hodges Productions, 2 July 2010).

Topics in the above document include A Changing Environment (pp. 6 – 11), Aboriginal People (pp. 15 – 22), European Heritage (pp. 23 – 28), Agriculture and Farming (pp. 29 – 32), Creeds Farm (pp. 46 – 47). There is mention of volcanic activity in the area starting from 7 million years ago and ending around 800,000 years ago (p.6). Aboriginal people are known to have lived in the area up to 50,000 years ago (p. 6) with Wurundjeri Aborigines first living here around 4,000 – 5,000 years ago (p. 7). From 1860s Aboriginal people were placed on reserves including the Wurundjeri people who moved to a reserve near Healesville in 1863; after then very few Wurundjeri people lived in the Whittlesea area.

Europeans arrived in the 1830s (p.6) and settlement started off with pastoral runs for sheep and cattle. These pastoral runs were divided into smaller farms during the mid-1840s. The population boom after the discovery of gold in 1851 led to a big demand for farming products which contributed to hundreds of new settlers in the Whittlesea district by 1853. Eventually this area became known as the ‘Breadbasket of Melbourne’ (p. 26). The Whittlesea railway opened in 1889 (p. 27). Dairy farming was carried on extensively, especially in Epping North from the 1890s to World War II. Suburban development began in the Epping area from around 1970.

More specific information appears in the ten page document “Notes for Preliminary Concept Proposals: Aurora Estate – Lehmann’s Park Custom Play Space” (February 2011) at the VicUrban website (Link Here).

This document features some maps and some photos of Lehmann’s Farm ruins.

A more general account of the history of the land that became the Aurora Estate appears in VicUrban’s Development Plan: Part 2” (June 2006), pp. 17 – 19.

A City of Whittlesea Council list of books and videos about Whittlesea appears at:

http://www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/about-whittlesea/books-and-videos-about-whittlesea

There is mention of the Mill Park library local history room at

http://www.yprl.vic.gov.au/about/hours-and-locations/mill-park/profile

At this website, mouse-clicking on ‘RESEARCH’ (at the top of the screen) then “Local History’ will lead to Yarra Plenty Regional Library links to:

The Yarra Plenty Regional Library includes branches at Mill Park and Lalor.

The Whittlesea Historical Society has the website:

http://whittleseahistoricalsociety.com.au/?category_name=local-history

One of the Society’s local historians is John Waghorn.

Books

“Nature’s Plenty A History of the City of Whittlesea” by Michael Jones, Allen & Unwin, North Sydney, 1992

This book has 137 illustrations which include maps, drawings and photos. There are some interesting points raised about the early days of train travel to and from Whittlesea including very long travel times. Attention is given to more recent settlement in the Whittlesea area and the experiences of the new arrivals.

“The Plenty A Centenary History of the Whittlesea Shire” by J. W. Payne, Lowden Publishing Co, Kilmore, 1975.

This book has 96 illustrations which are mainly photos with some maps. There is some coverage of the Shire of Epping, proclaimed in 1894 and later combined with the Shire of Whittlesea in 1915.

“A Community Portrait: Lifetimes in the City of Whittlesea” by Robert Pascoe, The City of Whittlesea, Bundoora, 2001.

This is another comprehensively illustrated book. It covers established local identities and their recollections of earlier days.

“Westgarthtown A History Guide” by Robert Wuchatsch et al, Friends of Westgarthtown Inc, Thomastown, 2004.

In 1850 German and Wendish immigrants first settled in Westgarthtown, now a part of Thomastown. (The Wendish here are Slavic people from a part of Germany.) This migration was promoted by a Melbourne merchant, William Westgarth. Many of these settlers and their descendants established themselves long term in the area. The heritage of their settlement include present day guided tours of Ziebell’s farmhouse, the Thomastown Lutheran church and the nearby Westgarthtown cemetery.

“Historic Views of the City of Whittlesea” by Robert Wuchatsch and Gwen Hawke, Whittlesea Historical Society, 1988.

A chapter on Epping (pp. 27 – 34) mentions the naming of a village reserve as Epping in 1853. Many of Epping’s earliest settlers were Irish as well as English, Scots and Germans. Many of the buildings constructed from local volcanic bluestone in the 1860s and 1870s are still in use today. Electricity came to Epping in the 1920s. Epping photos from between 1875 and 1910 have been reproduced.