Avondale Heights, Victoria
Cycling beside the Maribyrnong River at Avondale Heights
|• Density||2,035/km2 (5,270/sq mi)|
|Area||5.4 km2 (2.1 sq mi)|
|Location||12 km (7 mi) from Melbourne|
|LGA(s)||City of Moonee Valley|
Avondale Heights is a suburb 12 km north-west of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Its local government area is the City of Moonee Valley. At the 2011 Census, Avondale Heights had a population of 10,990.
Avondale Heights is located on a plateau bounded by a large bend of the Maribyrnong River to the east, south, and west, and to the north by Buckley Street.
The suburb derives its name from the Avondale Estate. Originally known as Maribyrnong West, when the Council undertook to change the name, postal authorities drew attention to the existence of Avondale in Queensland. The suburb was therefore called Avondale Heights to distinguish it from the Queensland town.
Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin prepared plans for part of the area: Milleara Estate in the north (also known as City View) in the 1920s. One objective of their design was to remake suburbia and society. They did this through creating internal gardens where communities could both physical and socially bind together. They imagined children's playgrounds, social centres, nature reserves and links with an intricate system of pedestrian ways. Interviewed in Melbourne in 1913, Griffin spoke of internal reserves as;
'…favourite playgrounds. Here all the children from the different houses can play together, where their mothers can see them, and where they are safe from the motor traffic in the streets.'
The streets are designed in a curvilinear way typical of the Griffin's design, often following the topography of the land.
There is only one main road - Military Road which runs from Canning Street and Maribyrnong Road, then becoming Milleara Road. There are about 40 shops at the Canning Street end (including Raglan street) and 20 at the other end, near the St Martin De Porres Primary School.
Prior to European colonisation of Melbourne, the Wurundjeri Aboriginal people of the Kulin nation moved through the area. Evidence has been found of human occupation for at least 18,000 years. On 10 October 1940, Mr. James White dug up an ancient human skull, (now known as the Keilor Cranium) on the banks of the Maribyrnong River. This skull has been found to be more than 8,000 years and less than 15,800 years old.
In 1803 Charles Grimes, the New South Wales Surveyor General, sailed up the Yarra River in the Buffalo and sent a rowing boat to explore the 'Saltwater River', as the Maribyrnong was then called. The rowing boat reached a place now known as Solomon's Ford, and could go no further.
In 1835 with the initial settlement of Melbourne, Edmund Davis Fergusson and Michael Solomon established a pastoral holding in the Avondale Sunshine area. On Solomon's sheep station the ford now near the west end of Canning Street soon became known as Solomon's Ford. This was the lowest crossing point on the Saltwater (Maribyrnong) River, and was for many years the only way from Melbourne to Geelong and further west.
During World War I the Canning Street bridge was known as Cordite Bridge as it led to the Department of Defence Explosives Factory. A password was necessary to cross the bridge during the war. During World War II a night curfew was imposed on the river and a boom was put into place to hinder access.
During the 1930s the district was subdivided into small dairy and cattle farms, with some poultry farming. Even into the 1960s market gardens and small dairy farms operated in the area. In the late 1960s housing development changed the area into a residential suburb with views of Melbourne city from the plateau. Avondale Heights Post Office opened on 9 December 1957 as the suburb developed (A Maribyrnong West office had been open between 1943 and 1947).
In 2008 Avondale Heights is set to experience its largest urbanisation initiative since the formation of the area as a suburb. This is due to the intended sale of the old Kangan Batman TAFE site to private investors to develop median density residential housing.
Four bus routes service the suburb:
- 406 Footscray – East Keilor via Victoria University, Highpoint SC, Avondale Heights (every day). Operated by Westrans.
- 407 Highpoint SC – Avondale Heights via Milleara Mall SC (Monday to Saturday). Operated by Westrans.
- 465 Essendon – Keilor Park via Buckley Street, Milleara SC, Keilor East (every day). Operated by Ryan Brothers Bus Service.
- 903 Altona – Mordialloc SC via Essendon, Northland SC, Box Hill, Chadstone SC (every day). Operated by Ventura Bus Lines and Westrans.
Recreational and commuter cyclists have easy access to the Maribyrnong River Trail along the Maribyrnong River.
There is no tram route through Avondale Heights - the closest ends in Maribyrnong. An extension of the tram route from Highpoint Shopping Centre via Avondale Heights to East Keilor has been proposed by the Victorian Greens.
- Avondale Heights has an Australian Rules football team playing in the Essendon District Football League.
- Avondale Heights Soccer Club
- Avondale Heights Cricket Team
- Avondale Heights Basketball Team named the 'Flying Sparrows' after long time great basketballer player Michael Jordan.
- Avondale Raiders Basketball Team, a Junior Basketball Club in the Keilor Basketball Association
- Matthew Lloyd, Ex AFL footballer, Essendon
- Frederick Valentich, who disappeared in the apparent UFO incident over Bass Strait in 1978.
- City of Keilor - the former local government area of which Avondale Heights was a part
- "History of Avondale Heights". shawfactor.com. Retrieved 19 May 2008.