The exterior of Westfield Doncaster
|• Density||2,063/km2 (5,343/sq mi)|
|Area||8.9 km2 (3.4 sq mi)|
|Location||15 km (9 mi) from Melbourne|
|LGA(s)||City of Manningham|
Doncaster is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 15 km East of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Manningham. At the 2011 Census, Doncaster had a population of 18,359.
The suburb, locally known as "Donny", just as its namesake in the UK, is situated on 8.9 km2 of land, around the top of the 120 m high Doncaster Hill. The suburb consists of a central area along the top of Doncaster Hill, which includes several historical buildings along Doncaster Road, the Westfield Doncaster Shopping Centre and surrounding high-rise apartments, while the rest of the suburb is typical of many of Melbourne's eastern suburbs, with extensive low-density housing. Today the suburb is perhaps most notable for its shopping centre, one of the largest in Australia.
The border of the suburb follows the Koonung Creek from Doncaster Road, along the south of the suburb to Wetherby Road, which, with Victoria Street, forms the eastern border. The northern border follows Ruffey Creek, Williamsons Road, Manningham Road and Ayr Street, to the junction of the Koonung Creek and Doncaster Road.
In 1841 Frederic Unwin, a Sydney solicitor, bought 5,120 acres (20.7 km2) of land, including most of the present suburb of Doncaster, from the Crown for one pound an acre under the terms of the short-lived Special Survey regulations. The area was sometimes known as Unwin's Special Survey.
The Doncaster region was settled in the 1860s and 1870s, predominantly by German settler orchardists. The German community was named Waldau, but the name Doncaster gradually became commonly accepted. A Lutheran church was the first one in Doncaster in 1858. A Lutheran school opened in 1860 and a denominational school in 1861. Doncaster Post Office opened on 17 May 1860.
Schramm's Cottage, an historic stone cottage originally located in Doncaster Road (at the site of the fountain next to the Municipal Offices), was relocated to the site of the original Lutheran Church building in Victoria Street in the 1970s. The remains of the Waldau Cemetery, where approximately 150 burials took place between 1853 and 1888, are located in the grounds of Schramm's Cottage.
In the 1880s an observation tower (285 ft high) was constructed on Doncaster Hill, which attracted day-trippers to (what was then) the countryside.
Doncaster was the location of the first electric tram to run in Melbourne in 1889. The tram started in Doncaster and ended in Box Hill (about 3.5 km away). Consequently, this was named "Tram Road". However, the service did not earn any profit, so it ended in 1896 due to feuds with land holders and financial problems. The main road through the suburb, Doncaster Road, was formally named Main Street.
Doncaster remained an orchard area until the 1970s, with the majority of houses built from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Doncaster Hill is an ambitious project transforming Central Doncaster (Doncaster Hill) into an apartment and retail mecca. Being only 14 km from the city (17 km by road) and with fantastic views of the Melbourne CBD skyline, much time and investment has been placed by the City of Manningham. There have been several new developments with successful sales and a number of new projects are in progress as the suburb has experienced a boom in popularity mainly from Chinese buyers and investors including Indonesian based developers. While there is no rail service the suburb does have an extensive bus service and is located only a short distance to Box Hill railway station. Except for peak hour times, the Eastern Freeway makes it just a 12-minute drive to the CBD at most other times as well as easy access to the Mornington Peninsula via Eastlink in the other direction. A "Smartbus" from Mordialloc to Altona runs through the centre of Doncaster also and there are now several new bus routes to get to surrounding areas as well as the CBD and also has a "park and ride" at the Doncaster Rd. crossing of the Eastern Freeway.
Doncaster was first settled with the first electric tram in the Southern Hemisphere in the late 19th century. Operating from Box Hill to Doncaster (along what is today Tram Road), the tram opened up accessibility to much land in the area. Unfortunately, the line did not last more than a few years.
As a result of a decision by the Victorian Cain Labor Government, the stage 2 section from Bulleen Road to Doncaster Road was only two lanes each way. During this period Doncaster suffered from heavy traffic congestion and air pollution as Doncaster Road carried 60,000 vehicles a day as a major arterial road. Since the Kennett Government extended the Eastern Freeway along the course of the Koonung Creek to Springvale Road, Doncaster's through-traffic has dropped considerably.
Throughout the 1970s the Doncaster line was planned by the State Government to run down the middle of the Eastern Freeway, with land acquired for the line, but was sold in the 1980s. Various plans have also been made for extension of the Route 48 Tram north to Doncaster. Present bus services exist in the area running from a park and ride centre, along dedicated transit lanes to the city.
In 1969 Westfield Doncaster was built on the corner of Doncaster and Williamsons Roads and is a well-known shopping complex in Melbourne. In the early 1980s and again in the early 1990s, it was renovated and extended. From September 2006 to October 2008, it went through a large revitalisation, improving and enlarging the centre dramatically.
Schools located in Doncaster are:
- Doncaster Secondary College
- Birralee Primary School
- St. Gregory the Great Primary School
- Doncaster Primary School
The Manningham Cricket Club caters for the area, playing in the Eastern Cricket Association and based at Rieschiecks Reserve, on the corner of Victoria Road and George Street.
The Doncaster Baseball Club was awarded a Diamond Award in 2008 after 10 of the 17 teams it fielded in 2007 made the finals, and three won their premiership titles. In recent years many players from the Dragons (men's 18+ team) have gone on to play for Victoria.
Golfers play at the course of the Eastern Golf Club, on Doncaster Road.
Prior to 2014, Doncaster formerly had a Victorian State Parliamentary seat named after it, the Electoral district of Doncaster. It is now mostly in Bulleen, but a small section is in Warrandyte. The current member for Bulleen is Matthew Guy. Doncaster is encompassed within the Federal Seat of Menzies and Kevin Andrews is the local member. At the municipal level, it is located within the City of Manningham.
- City of Doncaster and Templestowe - A former local government area of which Doncaster was a part.
- Collyer, Eric (1994) Doncaster: A Short History, Doncaster-Templestowe Historical Society
- Doncaster-Templestowe Historical Society Website
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Doncaster (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
- "German placenames in Australia". www.teachers.ash.org.au. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- "Doncaster, Victoria (via web.archive.org)". Australian Places Gazetteer. Archived from the original on 2005-07-19. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 2008-04-11.
- "Schramm's Cottage (via web.archive.org)". Doncaster Templestowe Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- "Box Hill - Doncaster Electric Tramway 1889-1896, Box Hill and Doncaster Victoria - Engineering Heritage Victoria". home.vicnet.net.au. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- Stephen Cauchi (February 1998). "Whatever Happened to the Proposed Railway to Doncaster East". Newsrail. Vol. 26 no. 2 (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)). pp. 40–44.
- Moynihan, Stephen (2006-10-18). "The Age - 'Rail line would replace 10,000 cars' - October 18, 2006". Melbourne. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
- Westfield Doncaster#Revitilisation
- Full Point Footy. "Doncaster". Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "Football Federation Victoria". Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- Golf Select. "Eastern". Retrieved 2009-05-11.
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