Toorak, Victoria

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Toorak
MelbourneVictoria
Toorak is located in Melbourne
Toorak
Toorak
Coordinates 37°50′28″S 145°01′05″E / 37.841°S 145.018°E / -37.841; 145.018Coordinates: 37°50′28″S 145°01′05″E / 37.841°S 145.018°E / -37.841; 145.018
Population 12,871 (2011)[1]
 • Density 2,990/km2 (7,750/sq mi)
Established 1850s
Postcode(s) 3142
Area 4.3 km2 (1.7 sq mi)
Location 5 km (3 mi) from Melbourne
LGA(s) City of Stonnington
State electorate(s) Malvern, Prahran
Federal Division(s) Higgins
Suburbs around Toorak:
Richmond Burnley Hawthorn
South Yarra Toorak Kooyong
Prahran Armadale Malvern

Toorak is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 5 km south-east from Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Stonnington. At the 2011 Census, Toorak had a population of 12,871.

The name Toorak has become synonymous with wealth and privilege, the suburb long having the reputation of being Melbourne's most elite, and ranking among the most prestigious in Australia. It has the highest average property values in Melbourne, and is one of the most expensive suburbs in Australia. It is also listed as the "highest money earning suburb" in the country.[2]

Located on a rise on the south side (or left bank) of a bend in the Yarra River, Toorak is bordered by South Yarra, at Williams Road on the west, Malvern, at Glenferrie Road on the east, Prahran and Armadale, at Malvern Road to the south and the suburbs of Richmond, Burnley and Hawthorn on the north side of the river. The suburb's main street is considered to be Toorak Road, in which the commercial area of Toorak Village is located.

Toorak takes its name from Toorak House, the residence of James Jackson, a merchant, in 1849.

History[edit]

Toponymy[edit]

Toorak was named after Toorak House, an Italianate residence built by James Jackson, a merchant, in 1849. The name of the house may have originated from Woiwurrung language, with words of similar pronunciation meaning black crow or reedy swamp.[3]

Toorak House[edit]

See also: Toorak House

From 1854 Toorak House served as the residence of the first Governor of Victoria, Captain Sir Charles Hotham KCB RN and his successors, until the completion of the present Government House (1876) in the Kings Domain.

Toorak Post Office opened around June 1858.[4]

1880s Land Boom[edit]

Toorak mansion known as "Chastelton", characteristic of many 1880s Victorian houses built in the area.

During the land boom of the 1880s, many large and elaborate mansions were erected in Toorak, often in the Italianate style. Following East Melbourne and then St Kilda, Toorak, along with Brighton, became the new favoured location for the wealthy.

1890s Depression[edit]

The suburb was hit particularly hard by the 1890s economic depression and many wealthy landowners declared bankruptcy and were forced to sell. Nonetheless, the suburb remained and is still Melbourne's home of old money. In the 1920s, a favoured style was Tudor revival.

Post War Era[edit]

In the period of post World War II prosperity, rising standards of living and land values caused Toorak to became highly sought after by a new generation of the wealthy, thought by some to be social climbers and Nouveau riche. For some of these people, the focus was simply to have the postcode of Toorak, which was SE 2 and now 3142. As a result, many of the larger mansions were demolished and large holdings were subdivided to make way for flats, town-houses and apartments.

In the 1980s larger houses in Neo-Georgian and Neo-Classical styles began to appear.

Contemporary Toorak[edit]

While large mansions have survived in neighbouring Hawthorn, Kew and Armadale, only a few of the original 19th century mansions in Toorak remain, due in part to the high land value. Two of the most notable are Illawarra House, which was acquired by the National Trust; and Coonac, the most expensive house in Melbourne.[5] In Toorak, some of the old property names live on as street names or the names of blocks of flats, carved out of or built on their sites.

Demographics[edit]

A study by the Department of Primary Industries revealed the following facts about Toorak:[6]

  • In Toorak, 29.6 per cent of persons were employed in the industries of finance, property and business services. The Melbourne metropolitan average is 14.6 per cent.
  • The proportion of Toorak residents aged 15 and over with a Bachelors degree or higher is 31.0 per cent. The Melbourne metropolitan average is 13.4 per cent.
  • Toorak has the highest percentage of children attending non-government schools in Melbourne.
  • There are very few infants and toddlers in Toorak. The proportion of the Toorak population who are infants or toddlers (those aged up to 4 years of age) is 3.8 per cent. The Melbourne metropolitan average is 6.9 per cent.

Housing[edit]

Victorian terrace housing (b. 1880s) in Williams Road

Toorak has an unusual mix of high, low and medium density housing, due to intense subdivision of larger lots in the 1880s, 1920s and 1960s. The predominant housing in Toorak (48%) is apartments, particularly walk-up flats.[7]

Single-family detached homes are also prevalent (35%). Some of these homes are in the form of traditional mansions or newer large residences on significant sized estates, owned by Melbourne's wealthy and social elite. The architectural style of the mansions is predominantly Italianate and colonial. The premier residential streets of Toorak are generally considered by local real estate agents to be St. George's Road, Lansell Road, Hopetoun Road, Albany Road and Clendon Road. It is not unusual for Toorak houses to have extensive facilities, such as swimming pools and tennis courts behind solid gates and high walls to preserve the privacy of the residents.

There are also extant stands of attached housing (16%), including terraces, which were traditionally fashionable with the middle class and later gentrified.

Politics[edit]

Toorak falls within the federal electorate of Higgins. The seat of Higgins was created in 1949 and held by Harold Holt CH 1949 - 1967, Sir John Gorton PC GCMG AC CH 1968 - 1975, Roger Shipton OAM 1975 - 1990, Peter Costello 1990 - 2009 and Kelly O'Dwyer since 2009 (all on behalf of the Liberal Party of Australia). At state level, it mostly falls within the electorate of Malvern (currently held by the Liberals' Michael O'Brien), with the western part of the suburb falling within the electorate of Prahran (currently held by Clem Newton-Brown on behalf the Liberal Party). At local council level, Toorak falls within the City of Stonnington.

Typically for a wealthy inner-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Toorak is solidly Liberal-voting.

Toorak Village[edit]

A mock-Tudor shop in Toorak Village.

The Toorak Village is a strip of shops and cafes, located centrally in Toorak Road.

Places of worship[edit]

St. John's Anglican Church, an 1862 Gothic Revival bluestone church, designed by William Wardell, dominates the skyline of Toorak, with a large tower including a peal of bells and a distinctive sandstone broach spire. St John's, Toorak is one of the most popular churches for weddings in Australia.

Other places of worship are St. Peter's Catholic Church, built in 1876 in the Romanesque style, Toorak Uniting Church (1876), in the Frenchified Gothic style and the Swedish Church.

The Wesleyan church (1877), formerly on the corner of Toorak and Williams Roads, was illegally demolished in 1990 by developers and later replaced by a block of flats.

Schools[edit]

Schools in Toorak include St Catherine's School, Loreto Mandeville Hall, St Kevin's College and Glamorgan (now Toorak Campus, the junior school of Geelong Grammar School). There is also a state school, the Toorak Central School (1890).

Sport[edit]

The Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club and the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club are both located in Toorak. The Australian Open tennis tournament was regularly held at Kooyong, until its permanent relocation to Melbourne Park in 1988.

Transport[edit]

SUVs line a residential street in Toorak.

The most popular form of transport in Toorak is the automobile. CityLink runs along north eastern Toorak, though there are no interchanges within the suburb, although there is access to the freeway via MacRobertson Bridge and interchanges at Burnley. Main arterials running north-south are Williams Road (at the eastern boundary), Grange Road, Orrong Road, St Georges Road and Kooyong Road. The east-west arterials include Alexandra Avenue (at the northern boundary), Toorak Road (which runs mid way through the suburb) and Malvern Road (at the southern boundary). Alexandra Avenue becomes St Georges Road and both along with Grange Road feed onto the MacRobertson Bridge, Toorak's main river crossing. Toorak's road planning is an example of street hierarchy. As a result, there are numerous quiet pedestrian streets. However, traffic congestion is an increasing problem along Toorak Road and Williams Roads. There is limited street parking along the main roads with just a couple of multi-storey car parks and parking lots within proximity of the main Toorak Road shopping strip. There are no level crossings in Toorak. There is a popular culture perception of Sport utility vehicle as status symbol (controversial for their luxury use, rather than for their off-road abilities)[8] and this has been associated with the suburb of Toorak, such that in popular Australian culture, terms such as Toorak tractor, Toorak taxi, Toorak tank, or Toorak truck have become well established in Australian slang as pejoratives. An example of this was an episode of the popular program Top Gear Australia, aired on SBS TV, in which the presenters, tongue-in-cheek, drove a $200,000 tractor along Toorak Road.[9]

Toorak's only railway station is Heyington, on the Glen Waverley line, which crosses the Yarra from Richmond on the Heyington Railway Bridge, to the suburb's north. Despite its name, Toorak railway station is located in Armadale. The Pakenham, Frankston and Cranbourne railway line group to which this station belongs runs close to Toorak's southern boundary. Other nearby stations include Hawksburn, in South Yarra and Kooyong, in Kooyong.

Trams have run down Toorak Road since 1888. Melbourne tram route 8 runs along Toorak Road to Glenferrie Road, at the suburb's eastern boundary. Melbourne tram route 72 runs along Malvern Road, the suburb's southern boundary.

Cycling facilities are poor, with few marked on road lanes. MacRobertson Bridge and Gardiners Creek pedestrian bridge, however, the bridge provides pedestrians access to the Main Yarra Trail and shared bicycle and pedestrian paths in nearby Burnley. Pedestrians are serviced by an extensive network of footpaths and pedestrian crossings.

Property prices[edit]

Because of the economic crisis of 2008, which led to large falls in share prices, many wealthy home owners in Melbourne's prestigious suburbs were forced to sell their homes to cover share margin calls or because they had lost their jobs in the finance and banking sectors. In the six months to September 2008, the median value of houses in Toorak fell by 24 per cent. Prices also fell in the upmarket suburbs of Brighton, South Yarra, Hawthorn and Kew,[10] while prices in the working-class suburb of Melton rose by 6 per cent in the same time period.[11] Despite this brief decline, Australia's resistance to the global financial crisis saw house prices rise again in the 2010s.[12]

Residents[edit]

Celebrities, philanthropists, cultural figures[edit]

Politicians[edit]

  • Harold Holt - Liberal Party politician, 17th Prime Minister of Australia
  • Duncan Gillies – Colonial politician, 14th Premier of Victoria
  • Malcolm Fraser – Liberal Party politician, 22nd Prime Minister of Australia
  • Ted Baillieu – Victorian Liberal Party politician, 46th Premier of Victoria
  • Sir Rupert Hamer - Liberal Party politician, former Premier of Victoria
  • David Hamer- Director of Naval Intelligence, Liberal Party Senator
  • William Murray McPherson - Philanthropist and politician, 31st Premier of Victoria

Businesspeople[edit]

Sportspeople[edit]

See also[edit]

  • City of Malvern - the former local government area of which Toorak was a part.
  • City of Prahran - the former local government area of which Toorak was a part.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Toorak (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Australia's richest suburbs revealed
  3. ^ Malvern Historical Society
  4. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 11 April 2008. 
  5. ^ "Toorak's grandest gets new owner". The Age (Melbourne). 21 November 2002. 
  6. ^ http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/FD8ACF11C2F79318CA257165001919B9/$File/Toorak+-+Profile.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.realestateview.com.au/propertydata/vic/toorak/index.html
  8. ^ Hale, Elini Most drivers want a city 4WD ban Sunday Herald Sun. 28 December 2008
  9. ^ http://www.themotorreport.com.au/9220/top-gear-australias-take-on-the-toorak-tractor/
  10. ^ "Mansions go begging as wealthy dump luxury homes". 22 November 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ Klan, Anthony (6 November 2008). "House prices fall in top suburbs". 
  12. ^ "The Australian housing market: A social disaster and a financial crisis in the making". World Socialist Website. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Ziffer, Daniel (18 May 2007). "Potter star down under". The Age (Melbourne). p. 6. Retrieved 7 October 2007. 
  14. ^ Reporter: Louise Yaxley (18 November 2002). "PM". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  15. ^ Rindfleisch, Tony (8 April 2007). "Magpie flies to ritzy Toorak". Sunday Herald Sun. Retrieved 7 October 2007. 
  16. ^ Warner, Michael (22 November 2007). "We reveal AFL boss Andrew Demetriou's $7m Toorak base". Herald Sun.