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Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc. and Archive
The society archives historical information on the people and events of Lilydale and the surrounding Yarra Valley region.
The society archives historical information on the people and events of Lilydale and the surrounding Yarra Valley region.


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The original Crown Hotel was a small wooden shack built in the 1860’s.
From 1863 there was a minor building boom in the township of Lilydale, provision stores, hotels, butchers and blacksmiths all proliferated to an extent far beyond the needs of the local community.
In July 1864 Robert Hartman was recorded as the Crown Hotels licensee.
The new businesses were largely dependent on the road traffic to the newly opened diggings at Woods Point. As well as coaches full of people going to the diggings there were the Bullock drivers whose slow moving drays did the heavy cartage between Melbourne and the Gold fields. The drays with six to eight bullocks travelled less than eight miles a day in good conditions. At night the drivers would camp in small groups on the banks of the Olinda Creek and gather in the bar of the smaller hotels.
One of those was the Crown Hotel which was known in those days as a “bullockies pub”.
Source: Lilydale The Billanook Country . 1837-1972.
Marion Aveling.
00277 The Original Crown Hotel.
#History #Lilydale #Liilydale #Hotels #YarraValley
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The council called for competitive designs for a Rotunda which should not exceed 50 pounds. Six designs were received with the winning design being “Trumpeter” by Jno Little & Co. on April 20 1900 the Shire called for tenders and the contract was awarded to local builder W.J. Wilson.
The Rotunda was finished and officially opened on August 22, 1900 by the Shire President Cr Lithgow.
The Rotunda was a landmark for the town. It was a place where dignitaries were welcomed and farewelled, a place where the Lilydale Brass Band entertained people on Friday evenings while shopping or during the weekend when the town attracted numerous visitors.
The Rotunda remained in Main Street until March 1951 when due to its dilapidated condition it was demolished.
Today a replica using the original red bricks stands proudly at the Lilydale Memorial Park in Victoria Road.
Excerpt from:
Lilydale’s Public Places Public Lives 1860s to 1970s
00266 Main Street Lilydale 1920.
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The Lilydale Croquet Club
The second group to call Garden Reserve now Melba Park home was the Lilydale Croquet Club.
The club was sponsored by the Lilydale Tennis Club which in April 1894 successful applied to the Shire for land next to the tennis court to establish a croquet green. By August a club had been formed. Today it is still operating in Melba Park.
One of its first games was against Healesville in Healesville when the tennis and croquet ladies travelled by train in November 1894. It is the second oldest continuously operating croquet club in the state.
Lilydale’s Public Places Public Lives 1860s to 1970s,
Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.
00550 Lilydale Croquet team 1899. Started in Lilydale in 1894.
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As a Historical Society we are very lucky to have dedicated Volunteers.
Two new Life Members.
Before closing our AGM on August 4 our President Sue Thompson surprised two unsuspecting members when she made them Life Members of our Society and presented them with a framed certificate. Their names will also be added to our Honour Board.
Maree Phelan has been a member of our Society for 26yrs and worked away quietly since that time. To help out she took on the role of Assistant Secretary on October 7, 2006 and only retired from that role and our committee last year. Maree also launched us into the digital age setting up and managing our Facebook page for several years. Since moving to the Old Lilydale Court House Maree has put in countless hours, week in week out to ensure we keep our doors open to the public.
Our other recipient was Jeanette Dodson who has spent many years researching the people and places of Montrose as a member of the Montrose Historical Society. With that Society she served as president, secretary and committee member among other roles.
When the Society merged with Lilydale in 2013, Jeanette joined the committee and became our Vice President, a position she held until her retirement this year.
Jeanette was always willing to help with any of our projects and led our team of researchers on the ANZAC project They Answered the Call - and has ensured our 400 plus service people who enlisted in World War 1 will never be forgotten.
Photo 1 Sue Thompson & Maree Phelan.
Photo 2 Sue Thompson & Jeanette Dodson.
2 Photos - View album
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The rich alluvial floodplain with the Olinda Creek meandering through it attracted Lilydale’s first settlers. While early pioneers were mainly graziers it was Irishmen Robert Blair and John Lithgow who in 1847 leased land at Mooroolbark Park to grow wheat and by 1851 were producing 2,000 bushels a year. Other farmers followed and by 1857 the area was producing 18,000 bushels of grain.
Learning of the success of Lilydale, flour miller James Cashin with his family arrived in Lilydale in the 1850s. His dream of a mill of his own became a reality and he established the first industry in Lilydale.
Hugh Keen from Portarlington built a two storey mill at the base of the ridge north of the Olinda Creek flood plains. A water race was constructed to divert water from Olinda Creek to drive the water wheel that powered the grinding stones.
Now farmers had a choice: send their grain to Melbourne by bullock dray or have it ground into flour, pollard and bran at Cashin’s Mill.
Lilydale The Billanook Country 1837- 1972. Marion Aveling, Grey Hunt, 1972.
Excerpt from Lilydale’s Public Places Public Lives, Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.
00354 Cashin’s Mill showing water wheel and family home up the hill. Pre 1915 when the mill was destroyed by fire.
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Advertisements can help us understand and read a photo and give us a rough idea of when the photo was taken.
“ whatever your business do it well “ - Gray.
Important notice to Farmers, Carter’s, Equestrians, and others.
- Morton, Jun.
Wishes it to be widely known that he has commenced business as a Saddler and Harness maker and that he has on hand a new stock of very choice articles pertaining to his trade. You will be well treated if you patronise him. First - Class workmen only employed.
My address is at those new premises right opposite to the Olinda Hotel near the Railway Station Lilydale.
Evelyn Observer, and South and East Bourke Record Friday 6 June 1890 p4.
Important to consumers of first-class Butchers Meat.
Mrs Annie Addis
Desires to inform her many old friends that her place of business is now at Morton’s Buildings, nearly opposite the railway station, Main Street, Lilydale where she can be consulted daily on matters pertaining to prime joints of Beef, Pork, Mutton or Veal.
Small goods a specialty, Poultry Dealer, Customers waited on daily for orders.
Remember- Adjoining Morton’s Saddlery, Main Street, Lilydale.
Evelyn Observer, and South and East Burke Record Friday 13 May 1892 p3.
Scan 00043 Morton’s Saddlery & Shop Cnr Main St & Hutchinson St Lilydale.
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Why Lillydale Lake was created.
Lillydale Lake ( the name retaining the earliest spelling of the township and the name of the former Shire.)
Areas of Lilydale township are low lying and were susceptible to flooding from the Olinda Creek.
In 1853 surveyor James Blackburn saw the site as a location for a water catchment though the Yan Yean Reservoir was eventually built instead.
After significant flooding in September 1984, the Minister for Water Resources met with the Shire and the M.M.B.W. to consider the lake proposal.
By May 1988, construction of the Lake had begun and was completed by June 1990.
Initial development of a Bi Centennial Park continued and the Lake and Park we’re officially opened on July 5 1991.
Image is from the Lilydale & District Historical Society files.
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With the establishment of the Lilydale Market in 1889, fill was needed for the site and it was taken from nearby on the reserve. This left a huge hole in the ground which many felt would be ideal for a pool. The first moves for public baths began in October 1891 when the Shire wrote to the Lands Department requesting a reserve for public baths. This was finally gazetted in November 1893 but was much smaller than originally asked for.
Nine years of futile efforts by ratepayers to get the Shire to complete the Works ended with much public agitation.
“ Why not build our own baths’?” residents asked.
In just four days the baths had been built and opened at the beginning of February 1903.
Please note the Old Gasworks in the background.
Anyone looking for images of the swimming pool are welcome to contact us through
as we have many which we can supply a list to order images from.
00107 Swimming pool games.
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For any of our followers who may be interested...
Saturday August 25 at 10 am.
Behind the Bar Cemetery Walk.
As our contribution to Family History Month, join our tour guide Lorraine Smith and walk around Lilydale Lawn Cemetery visiting the graves of some of Lilydale’s Publicans - men and women. Hear the stories of the people and events held at the town’s four hotels and the characters both behind and in front of the hotel’s bar.
Cost is $10 per person and includes a cemetery booklet.
Bookings are essential. Call Lorraine Smith on 9735 1104 to book.
Meeting point is the Lilydale Lawn Cemetery gates Nelson Road and afterwards everyone is welcome back to the Old Lilydale Court House, 61 Castella Street, Lilydale for morning tea.
Attached headstone picture of - Davey Artis licensee of the Commercial later the Temperance Hotel.
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A Grand Patriotic Gathering will be held at Lilydale to Celebrate the great occasion, on Thursday, June 26 1902.
The committee cordially invites all the Residents of the Shire, as well as all the School Children, the various Friendly Societies ( In Regalia ),the Brass Bands, the Hunt, Rifle and other Clubs, Tradesmen’s, Farmers’ and Private Citizen’s, Carts, Wagon's and Carriages.
Wether you drive a One-horse Shay or a Bullock Dray Bring It Out!
To Assemble at the Shire Hall at 10.30 am whence it will March to Cave Hill Estate.
Lilydale Express.
Coronation Procession for King Edward Vll & Queen Alexandra.
00029 Coronation 1902, Main St near Hutchinson St corner.
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