|Population||6,760 (2006 census)|
|• Density||970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)|
|Area||7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)|
|Federal Division(s)||La Trobe|
Upwey is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 32 kilometres (20 mi) east from Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the Shire of Yarra Ranges and City of Knox. At the 2006 census, Upwey had a population of 6,760. Upwey South is a colloquial term for the area directly south of the township, but is not an official suburb.
The area of Upwey was originally known as "Mast Gully" as several masts for ships were cut down in the 1850s. To this day, Mast Gully Creek and Mast Gully Road still remain. The Tullidge sisters bought a homestead in 1897 and named it after an English village Upwey on the River Wey. On 18 December 1900, the 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge railway from Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook was opened and they requested the Victorian Railways build a stopping place nearby, which was agreed to and on Monday, 3 June 1901, a station named Upwey was opened. The name was adopted locally, with the Upwey Church of England opening in 1904 and a post office opening on 1 July 1909.
In 1918, the Upwey Convention started holding annual gatherings over the Christmas – New Year period—initially held at the Upwey Union (now Baptist) Church and later moving to their own property next to the High School. When the State Government acquired the land to extend the High School, the Convention moved to Belgrave Heights in 1950.
By the 1920s, both a Progress Association and a fire brigade had been established, and by the end of the 1920s and early 1930s, many weekenders had been built in the area. When the Great Depression occurred, the Victorian Government opened up Dandenong Ranges to housing and the population of Upwey and the surrounding foothills grew steadily. Upwey Primary School opened in 1934 and still exists today. Upwey Higher Elementary School opened in 1937 and became Upwey High School in 1945. Today, it serves as the main secondary education provider in the Dandenong Ranges, taking students from around the foothills and Mount Dandenong.
In 1954, the railway was closed due to a landslide the previous year further along the line past Selby, only to see it reopened as far as Belgrave in 1955 for three years as the first effort to run it as a preserved tourist railway, again closing in 1958. In 1962, the railway from Upper Ferntree Gully to Belgrave was reopened as part of the 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge suburban electric network, giving Upwey a direct link to Melbourne. With the reopening of the railway, the main road (Monbulk Road) no longer crossed the railway next to the station, but continue further on going under a railway bridge. Some years later, Upwey was by-passed with Collier Avenue on the north of the railway being upgraded and renamed Monbulk Road—later to be renamed Burwood Highway. The main street on the south side of the railway became a quiet local shopping strip.
In 1997, the Dandenong Ranges suffered devastating bushfires that threatened Upwey and its neighbouring towns, however Upwey was spared from the onslaught. After the last branch of the Commonwealth Bank closed Upwey's local banking services were reduced to an ATM in the old bank building. In 1998, the abandoned bank building became the first metropolitan and third ever Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank, a model that returns branch profits into the community.
Business and community
Today, Upwey is a thriving community. Main Street boasts a wide variety of shops and services, instilling a traditional community village nature into an outer eastern suburb of Melbourne.
Creeks and waterways
- Upwey CFA
- Extract of Suburbs In Time
- Bendigo Bank Community Banks
- Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club
- Upwey & Districts Garden Club