Mount Evelyn History Group

Mount Evelyn History Group

Contact Details
Postal address: P.O. Box 289 Mt Evelyn VIC 3796
Enquiries, membership & book sales: Paula Herlihy (President),
Newsletter: Karen Phillips (Secretary),

We hold committee meetings on the third Monday evening of even-numbered months.
In odd-numbered months we have guest speakers or activities on the third Saturday afternoon.
Meetings and events are held at the RSL Hall, Hardy House, 49 Birmingham Road, Mt Evelyn, unless otherwise advised.
Visitors are welcome at meetings and lectures.

Click here to download our Membership Form

What do we do?
Mount Evelyn History Group members are interested in the collection, preservation, research, writing and publication of all aspects of history relating to our town. We hold displays at local events and provide speakers and information on request. Our newsletter, Things Past, is published monthly.

Things Past Newsletter

Click here for Things Past February 2024 (Issue 132)

Click here for Things Past November 2023 (Issue 131)

Click here for Things Past August 2023 (Issue 130)

Click here for Things Past May 2023 (Issue 129)

Click here for Things Past February 2023 (Issue 128)

Click here for an archive of previous issues of Things Past.

The history of the History Group
An informal group of enthusiasts convened in the 1990s to produce a history of Mt Evelyn. This group amalgamated with the Mt Evelyn Environment Protection & Progress Association (MEEPPA) and functioned as a MEEPPA sub-committee for some years. Tracks to Trails: A History of Mt Evelyn was published in 1997 and the second (Centenary) Edition in 2001.
In October 2007 the decision was taken to re-establish the independent History Group. The Mount Evelyn History Group was incorporated on 6th March 2008.

Aims of Mount Evelyn History Group Inc
1. To be an independent group whose sole focus is history.
2. To encourage a high standard of research, writing and history-related skills.
3. To encourage historical appreciation and activities in the community.
4. To maintain and catalogue a collection of historical information.

Our masthead photo
Can one picture sum up the history of a town, or capture the flavour of a whole era?

Our masthead photo shows members of the O’Connor and Schultz families outside Ada O’Connor’s holiday house at Billygoat Hill about 1927. Ada is the woman in the hat at left. The boy sitting at front right is her son, Vic O’Connor (1918-2010), who became a noted Realist artist.
The man seated at centre right holding a bunch of heath is Harold Schultz, Ada’s brother-in-law. A jeweller from Clifton Hill, Harold was known as ‘The Mayor of Billygoat Hill’. He used to organise community activities such as Christmas parties, cricket matches (where Billygoat Hill holiday makers took on Mt Evelyn locals) and yabbying competitions in the station dam.

The photo touches on many aspects of Mt Evelyn’s history: the colourful characters; the distinct communities that made up the township; the holiday shacks and weekend visitors of the inter-war period; water supply or lack of it (the tank); the lure of the bush and the endearing dagginess of the town and the era.

History is many-faceted and no single account or picture can tell it all. But if one image could represent the Mt Evelyn story, this photo would have to be a contender.

Want to find out more? Click here for our publication list

The Naming of Mt Evelyn
The township we now call ‘Mt Evelyn’ grew up around the highest station on the Lilydale to Warburton railway line (opened 1901). Originally ‘Olinda Vale’, the station name was changed to ‘Evelyn’ in 1907. The prefix ‘Mount’ was added in 1919 to promote the town’s attractions and healthful ‘mountain’ air.

The name ‘Evelyn’ was agreed upon at a meeting between Lillydale Shire Councillors Rouget and Wallace and the Commissioner of Railways in October 1907. One question has never received a definite answer: why was the name ‘Evelyn’ chosen? The only explanation given at the time was that ‘Evelyn’ was ‘a name appropriate to the district’.

Mt Evelyn is in the County of Evelyn, which was proclaimed on 29 December 1848. The county was supposedly named for a British MP, William John Evelyn (1822-1908), though he had not yet been elected to the British Parliament in 1848. Evelyn Station was most likely named after the county.
It has been claimed that Mt Evelyn was named after Evelyn Heales, daughter of Richard Heales, Premier of Victoria 1860-1861. We can state definitely that this story is wrong. How do we know? Because Premier Heales didn’t have a daughter named Evelyn!

Read the saga of Mt Evelyn’s names in our booklet How Mt Evelyn was Named. For street names, see our booklet Street Names of Mt Evelyn.

For the history of the Evelyn family, including a biography of William John Evelyn MP, see:

Where can you get more information about earlier Mt Evelyn people?
How can you obtain details of family histories, deceased records, schools, Wills, and newspaper accounts? How can you find the history of your house in Mt Evelyn?
The Mt Evelyn History Tools blog is designed to answer these questions.

Free Downloads available from Mount Evelyn History Group

Colouring Mt Evelyn
Click here to download our colouring book based on the Timeline Fence Panels along the Warburton Trail in Mt Evelyn.

The Dandenong Ranges – Exploring a Volcanic Landscape
Click here to download our latest publication ancient and fascinating volcanic landscape of the Dandenong Ranges.

Publications available from Mount Evelyn History Group Inc.
To order please email

The Woodlanders of Walden Hut
The Woodlanders of Walden Hut
Tracks to Trails
Tracks to Trails: A History of Mt Evelyn, 2nd ed.

Bill and Gwen Hardy: dynamos of Mt Evelyn Community Life
Bill & Gwen Hardy: dynamos of Mt Evelyn Community Life
Hidden Histories
Hidden Histories

Aboriginies in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs
Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs, 3rd ed.
Flower Farming in Mt Evelyn & District

History of Guiding in Mt Evelyn
History of the Supermarket Site

How was Mt Evelyn Named
How Mt Evelyn was Named
Mt Evelyn Aqueduct

Mt Evelyn Tennis Club
Researching your house in Mt Evelyn
Researching Your House in Mt Evelyn

Street names of Mt Evelyn
Street Names of Mt Evelyn
The Hut on the grounds of Mt Evelyn Christian School

Water Race and Quinn Reserve
The Water Race and Quinn Reserve (NEW)
Flying Home (Children’s book)

Mt Evelyn Primary School No 3642 1910 – 2010 Centenary Ed
Mt Evelyn Primary School No 3642 1910 – 1985
FREE while stocks last

Morrison House changed a community
Morrison House Changed a Community
First Selectors of Mt Evelyn

Other Links
Some good information about Mt Evelyn’s Aqueduct –