Moonee Valley is proud of its rich heritage. Our history goes back a long way and continues to live through family stories, buildings, residential and commercial precincts, parks, trees and objects.
Research local and family history
There are many tools to help you research your family, house or significant spaces and places in Moonee Valley.
- Moonee Valley Heritage Database for historic information about a particular heritage place or precinct, including a Statement of Significance (where prepared)
- Visit Sam Merrifield Library, Moonee Ponds for valuable book, film, photograph and CD resources. There is also a local history room.
- Libraries’ family and local history blog
- Australian Historical Newspapers (Beta Service)
Local historical societies
Moonee Valley has three local historical societies, all of which are led by enthusiast local residents keen to find and share information about our heritage.
Like most of greater Melbourne, Moonee Valley has a rich history of Indigenous life before the arrival of settlers, convicts and the establishment of government.
The Wurundjeri people are the traditional owners of the land. They relied on the Maribyrnong River, Moonee Ponds Creek and Steele Creek for fishing, transport and food. Other places of historical significance include Queens Park, which was the first stopover in Burke and Wills’ 1860 expedition.
The Indigenous Australians who lived in the area from Healesville to Kilmore and from Dandenong to Werribee belonged to the Woi-wurrung language and belief group.
Within this was a clan called Wurundjeri-baluk, which was divided into two sub-clans, one of which was the Wurundjeri-willam, meaning 'white gum tree dwellers' and which was further divided into three patrilines.
One patriline claimed the area between the Maribyrnong River and Darebin Creek, stretching up to the Dividing Ranges and including the area now known as Moonee Valley. At the time of European settlement the clan-head of this group was Billebellary.
By 1860, just 25 years after settlement commenced, Victorian settlers numbered half a million. By contrast, the Victorian Indigenous population had declined dramatically from approximately 40,000 to 2,000, and some people believed they were becoming extinct. Those who remained of the Kulin Nation were gathered at Mohican Station near Alexandra.
Billebellary's son Wonga was the clan-head of the Wurundjeri. In 1863, Wonga and his cousin Barak led his people in a walk out of the settlement and back to their country at a place near Healesville named Coranderrk (after a tree that blossoms on the river). Wonga and Barak began working with Scottish preacher John Green and they built a thriving economically viable community, turning Coranderrk into a major Kulin settlement.
Wurundjeri Willam: The Original Inhabitants of Moonee Valley (pdf, 1.5MB) provides a history of the earliest inhabitants, the Woi-wurrung people. It lists and describes important Aboriginal sites, places and landscapes as well as their traditional way of life.
Our Anzac history
Anzac Centenary commemoration
During the Anzac centenary (2014-18), we recognised the sacrifices of all
service men and women and paid tribute to our significant wartime contribution.
This included developing a booklet, Anzac Centenary commemoration in Moonee Valley, with our Anzac Centenary Community Coordinating Committee.
The booklet is available in hard copy at Moonee Valley libraries, or you can download a copy (pdf, 2.1MB).
Anzac commemorative street names
Moonee Valley has a strong Anzac history. Our Anzac connection is further strengthened by a series of commemorative street signs installed at 12 locations in Ascot Vale and Essendon.
The project was undertaken in partnership with our Anzac Centenary Community Coordinating Committee and Essendon Historical Society.
Ten of the streets were named after noted soldiers who served during World War One and Two, with a further two – Churchill Avenue and Victory Parade in Ascot Vale – named in honour of Britain’s war time leader Winston Churchill and in recognition of the Allied victory in World War One.
World War One
Birdwood Street, Essendon
Field Marshal Sir William Birdwood, 1865-1951
Chauvel Street, Ascot Vale
General Sir Henry George “Harry” Chauvel, 1865-1945
Elliott Street, Ascot Vale
Major General Harold Edward “Pompey” Elliott, 1878-1931
Jacka Street, Essendon
Captain Albert Jacka VC, 1893-1932
Monash Street, Ascot Vale
General Sir John Monash, 1865-1931
Victory Parade, Ascot Vale
Commemorates the Allied victory in World War One
World War Two
Blamey Street, Ascot Vale
Field Marshal Sir Thomas Albert Blamey, 1884-1951
Churchill Avenue, Ascot Vale
Sir Winston Leonard Churchill, 1874-1965
Dunlop Avenue, Ascot Vale
Colonel Sir Ernest “Weary” Dunlop 1907-1993
Savige Street, Ascot Vale
Lieutenant General Sir Stanley George Savige, 1890-1954
Vasey Street, Ascot Vale
Major General George Alan Vasey, 1895-1945
Wingate Avenue, Ascot Vale
Major General Orde Charles Wingate, 1903-1944
The historic Settler’s Cottage, a timber cottage stemming from the gold rush era formerly located at 1070 Mt Alexander Road, Essendon, has a new home at Woodlands Park in Essendon.
In December 2015, we decided to relocate and restore the cottage, which had been approved to be demolished as part of a new development.
The timber cottage was relocated to our depot in May 2016 and was refurbished, before it was relocated.
Its new home is just 500 metres from its original location on Mt Alexander Road.