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Coordinates: 37°48′32″S 145°4′44″E / 37.80889°S 145.07889°E / -37.80889; 145.07889
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Knutsford Street, Balwyn
Balwyn is located in Melbourne
Coordinates37°48′32″S 145°4′44″E / 37.80889°S 145.07889°E / -37.80889; 145.07889
Population13,495 (SAL 2021)[1]
Elevation84 m (276 ft)
Area5.6 km2 (2.2 sq mi)
Location10 km (6 mi) from Melbourne
LGA(s)City of Boroondara
State electorate(s)Kew
Federal division(s)Kooyong
Suburbs around Balwyn:
Kew East Balwyn North Mont Albert North
Kew Balwyn Mont Albert North
Deepdene Canterbury Mont Albert

Balwyn (/ˈbɔːlwən/ ) is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 10 km east of Melbourne's Central Business District, located within the City of Boroondara local government area. Balwyn recorded a population of 13,495 at the 2021 census.[2]

The suburb's post-European settlement character was initially agricultural with several large estates built around a small village centre. Since the early 20th century, farms and mansions gave way to suburban development as the population of Melbourne rapidly grew.[3] Today Balwyn is almost entirely residential and one of Victoria's most exclusive and affluent suburbs,[4] regularly ranking in the state's top 10 most expensive suburbs.



In the late 1850s Andrew Murray, commercial editor and political writer for The Argus newspaper, bought land on the hill overlooking Canterbury Gardens. He named his house Balwyn from the Gaelic bal and the Saxon wyn, meaning 'the home of the vine'. Balwyn Road and the district were named after it.[5] The house was located on the site that is now part of Fintona Girls' School.

Pre-European settlement[edit]

The formally recognised traditional owners for the area in which Balwyn is located are the Wurundjeri People, who lived on the land for at least 14,000 years.[6] The Wurundjeri People are represented by the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.[7]

19th century[edit]

Following the Foundation of Melbourne, Balwyn was part of Henry Elgar's Special Survey of 8 square miles (21 km2) in 1841, which was subdivided into small farms and grazing runs.

In 1868 Balwyn Primary School was opened in Balwyn Road about 100 metres north of Whitehorse Road. It was moved to its present site, south of Whitehorse Road, in 1880, opposite Murray's property. Balwyn's first town centre was near the intersection of Balwyn and Whitehorse Roads, containing a few shops, a blacksmith and the athenaeum or mechanics' institute. Anglican services began in 1868 and the St. Barnabas church, Balwyn Road, was opened in 1872.[8]

Balwyn Post Office first opened on 26 August 1874, in a rural area, closed in 1894, then reopened in 1920.[9] It faced a second closure on 11 February 2011 but due to a campaign by local residents and the intervention of the Federal Member, Josh Frydenberg, the service was reopened.[10]

The Outer Circle railway line, with a station at Deepdene, opened in 1891, was closed in 1893, re-opened in 1900 then finally closed to passenger traffic in 1927.

20th century[edit]

Balwyn Cinema on Whitehorse Road

The electric tram system was extended along Cotham Road to terminate at Burke Road, Deepdene, on 30 May 1913. The line was extended along Whitehorse Road, through Balwyn to terminate at Union Road, Mont Albert, on 30 September 1916.[11] The Balwyn Cinema, currently operated by Palace Cinemas, first opened as a single screen theatre in 1930. It was later converted into a 5-screen multiplex in the 1990s, but the foyer was restored in 2010, uncovering the original 1930s tiled floor. Until 2016 it also served as the head office of Palace Cinemas. The cinema's second major restoration in less than a decade saw the former office space converted into 6 extra screens, bringing the total number to 11.[12]

A considerable number of local churches, such as the Deepdene Methodist Church, were constructed during the post-World War II boom of suburban development in the area.

Balwyn's status as an affluent suburb has seen middle to upper-middle-class families from suburbs such as Kew and Brighton transfer to the area to take advantage of the suburb's relatively large block sizes and proximity to some of Victoria's best private schools including those in the neighbouring suburbs of Canterbury and Kew. Some of the initial development of the suburb occurred along the Whitehorse Road tramline, along which the Wade handbag and the Jarvis Walker fishing rod factories were once located.

The south western part of Balwyn was excised as the suburb of Deepdene in 2010.[13]

21st century[edit]

The refurbished Balwyn Library in 2018. Balwyn is the most popular public library in the state behind the State Library of Victoria.[14]

Balwyn is consistently ranked as one of Melbourne's 5 most exclusive suburbs. The heritage-protected Reid Estate[15] is especially noted as an area of Balwyn between Mont Albert Road and Whitehorse Road containing many architecturally significant Interwar mansions.

The suburb has been immortalised by the Skyhooks single named after the suburb, 'Balwyn Calling', while The Age newspaper once described the suburb as "arguably Melbourne's most loved".[16] In the 12-month period to January 2020 Balwyn reported a median house price of A$1.6 million for a three bedroom house.[17]



Balwyn East[edit]

A small area adjacent to Mont Albert North is sometimes known as Balwyn East. This name is generally used to refer to parts around the East Balwyn Shopping Centre at the intersection of Union Road and Belmore Road.[18][19]


Balwyn is home to the Maranoa Gardens, Australia's first botanical garden dedicated to indigenous flora.


The main shopping area is located around the intersection of Whitehorse Road and Balwyn Road.



Whitehorse Road runs east–west along the ridgeline through the centre of Balwyn. Balwyn Road runs north–south from Koonung Creek Reserve (adjacent to the Eastern Freeway) to Canterbury Road.

Public transport[edit]


The 109 tram line runs from Port Melbourne to Box Hill via Whitehorse Road.


Active transport[edit]

The two main designated north-south cycling routes are along Balwyn Road and the Anniversary Trail. Mont Albert Road is similarly classified as the main east-west route.[20]

Almost all roads and streets in Balwyn have sealed footpaths and several parks provide connections between neighbourhoods. Some older parts of Balwyn have service lanes to the rear of properties, an uncommon feature for a suburb outside of the inner city of Melbourne.



  • Balwyn East Kindergarten
  • Yongala Preschool




The suburb has an Australian Rules football team, the Balwyn Tigers. Their home ground is Balwyn Park. There are several junior teams including the Balwyn and Greythorn Jets, competing in the Eastern Football League.[21]

It also has a cricket team in the Balwyn Cricket Club.[22]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Balwyn (suburb and locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "2021 Census QuickStats: Balwyn". censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Balwyn's Beginnings". Balwyn Historical Society. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  4. ^ "10 Most Expensive Suburbs in Melbourne 2021". Metropole Property Strategists. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  5. ^ Camfield, D. (1974). "Murray, Andrew (1813–1880)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 5. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Map of formally recognised traditional owners". Aboriginal Victoria. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Wurundjeri". Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  8. ^ Balwyn & Balwyn North, Victoria, archived from the original on 13 October 2004, retrieved 16 September 2010
  9. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
  10. ^ Post Office To Reopen in Balwyn, retrieved 22 May 2015
  11. ^ "1911–1920", 100 Years of Electric Trams – Tram History – Milestones, Yarra Trams, archived from the original on 27 September 2011, retrieved 16 September 2010
  12. ^ "Balwyn Cinema", Cinema History Around The World, Cinematour, retrieved 11 March 2012
  13. ^ City of Boroondara, Deepdene – our newest suburb, archived from the original on 18 March 2012, retrieved 25 July 2011
  14. ^ "Boroondara Library Services Plan". Boroondara City Council. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Reid Estate, Balwyn, Heritage Overlay HO192". Victorian Heritage Database. Heritage Victoria. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  16. ^ Dubecki, Larissa (21 February 2008), "Balwyn Sailing", The Age, Melbourne, retrieved 3 March 2008
  17. ^ "Real Estate – Properties for Sale, Rent and Share – Domain". domain.com.au.
  18. ^ "Balwyn East Postcode". Australia Post. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  19. ^ "East Balwyn". BoroondaraWiki. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Strategic Cycling Corridors". Department of Transport & Planning. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  21. ^ Full Point Footy, Eastern Football League, archived from the original on 1 January 2009, retrieved 21 October 2008
  22. ^ .Balwyn Cricket Club, retrieved 29 November 2013
  23. ^ Sharwood, Anthony (24 October 2009). "Under the radar". The Weekend Australian Magazine. pp. 14–20. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  24. ^ Wirth, Hugh J. (2002). "Reid, Isabelle Bruce (Belle) (1883–1945)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 16. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 19 March 2015.

External links[edit]