Mt Evelyn History Group

New publication: The Happy Hermits & Diary of a Trip to Evelyn

Happy Hermits book

New publication from the Mt Evelyn History Group. The Happy Hermits & Diary of a Trip to Evelyn - $12

Email: to order.

New publication: Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs revised edition

Aboriginies in the Yarra Valley and Nothern Dandenongs

Revised edition of Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs now available! - $20

Email: to order.

Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs as a teaching text.
Bree Faulkner, who is enrolled in as Master of Primary and Secondary Teaching at Deakin University, selected Mt Evelyn History Group’s book on Aboriginal people, Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs, as the text to analyse for its suitability for teaching intercultural understanding in schools. Bree has generously allowed us to share the whole text of her assignment.

Text Analysis Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs Bree Faulkner

Designing Planning and Assessment Bree Faulkner


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.

Click here for Things Past November 2018

Click here for Things Past August 2018

Click here for Things Past May 2018

Click here for Things Past February 2018

Click here for Things Past November 2017

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

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.


Mt Evelyn History

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 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


Naming of Mt Evelyn - an ongoing mystery

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.

One question has never received a definite answer: why was the name ‘Evelyn’ chosen in 1907?

The town is in the County of Evelyn, proclaimed in 1849. The county was supposedly named for a British MP, William John Evelyn (1822-1908). Evelyn Station was most likely named after the county, as ‘Evelyn’ was considered ‘a name appropriate to the district’. That would mean our town was named indirectly after William Evelyn ... or would it? William Evelyn had not even stood for Parliament when the county was proclaimed. Was it really named for him after all?

Read the saga of Mt Evelyn’s names in our booklet How Mt Evelyn was named by Karen Phillips.

For a history of the Evelyn family and biography of William John Evelyn, 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.


Colouring Mt Evelyn

Download our colouring book based on the Timeline Fence Panels along the Warburton Trail in Mt Evelyn.

Click here to download (4.3mb)


Publications available from Mount Evelyn History Group Inc.

Researching Your House in Mt Evelyn $8.00
Morrison House Changed a Community $25.00
The Happy Hermits & Diary of a Trip to Evelyn $12.00
Aborigines in the Yarra Valley and Northern Dandenongs revised edition $20.00
Tracks to Trails: A History of Mt Evelyn (2nd Ed.) $25.00
Gwen Hardy: a Tribute $5.00
The First Selectors of Mt Evelyn $4.00
Tourists, the Dam & Depression 1920s & 1930s $6.00
From Holiday to Home WWII & 1950s $6.00
The History of Guiding in Mt Evelyn $3.00
The Mt Evelyn Aqueduct $5.00
History of the Mt Evelyn Fire Brigade $5.00
How Mt Evelyn was Named $6.00
Street Names of Mt Evelyn $4.00
The Mt Evelyn Tennis Club $5.00
The Hut on the Grounds of Mt Evelyn Christian School $6.00
The Water Race $4.00
History of the Melba Centre 1971-1997 $2.00
Flower Farming in Mt Evelyn & District $4.00

Other Links

Some good information about Mt Evelyn's Aqueduct -


Contact us

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

Click here to download our membership form



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