News & Events

New Mafeking Tree Plaque Unveiling

Everyone is welcome to attend the Official Unveiling of the new Mafeking Tree Plaque in Melba Park on Saturday May 8 at 9am.

Working together the Lilydale & District Historical Society, 1st Croydon Hills Scout Group and Yarra Ranges staff and councillors have shown what can be achieved for our Lilydale Community.

Not only do we have a new plaque firmly embedded in a large rock, but the council staff have arranged for the painting of the wrought iron pickets, cleared away the undergrowth and created a special area for the tree. This will ensure the trees survival for another 121 years.

See the Mafeking story below.

April Newsletter

Keep up with what’s happening at the society  read our April 2021 newsletter.

Go to our newsletters page to read our back issues which are full of family stories and stories.

Walk for new Plaque

Thanks to the efforts of the 1st Croydon Hills Scout Group the Lilydale & District Historical Society and the Yarra Ranges Council, we will soon have a new plaque for the 120 year old Mafeking Tree in Lilydale’s Melba Park. As their contribution to Founder’s Day, the Joeys, Cubs and scouts walked from Lillydale Lake to Melba Park to raise money for the plaque which was to commemorate the Relief of the Siege at Mafeking in South Africa. The British garrison of 600 soldiers was led by Colonel Baden-Powell. For 209 days the soldiers kept 40,000 Boers from over running the town. British soldiers marched more than 600kms to relieve the garrison. From this experience, Baden Powell went on to establish the boy scout movement.
The group raised over $333 from the walk and the society has also contributed to donate $500 towards the new plaque. Yarra Ranges councillors have generously said they will make up the difference. Read the report on the fund-raising walk in the Mt Evelyn Mail Star March 2, 20201 pg 11.

Mafeking plaque fund raiser

Read about the Siege of Mafeking, the town’s celebrations and Sir Robert Baden- Powell’s visit to Lilydale in 1912 on the way to visit Nellie Melba at Coombe Cottage.

Old Lilydale Court House

The committee of LDHS has to re-open the Old Lilydale Court House after implementing our Covid-19 Safety Plan.

The archive will be open later in the year on

Fridays from 1 to 4pm, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 11am to 4pm.

However, due to current Covid-19 restrictions, until otherwise advised,  we will only be open on

Sundays by appointment only.

Call Lorraine Smith on 9735 1104 or Sue Thompson on 0475 219 884 to arrange a time.

As with our operations in 2020 anyone wanting information can still contact us directly via this website or via our email address:

[email protected]

Lilydale Bypass

One issue being examined by the Lilydale Structure Plan Issues Paper is the advantages and disadvantages of building the Lilydale Bypass.
The society has compiled all the articles on the bypass since the 1960s. Read it make up your own mind.
It’s time it was built to save Lilydale Main Street businesses and create a special place for people to shop and gather.

John Street railway subway

The new railway station will see the removal of the John Street railway subway, long an feature of our town.  The LXRP Marroondah Stakeholders Liaison Group has, with strong community support, successfully lobbied for a red brick feature to be included in the old station precinct to link the past and present and honour those wonderful artisans who created bricks and terracotta products for our town and wider Victoria.

Read our recent Mountain Views column.

We will continue lobbying to have the red bricks from the subway included but if the timing isn’t right, we will be asking LXRP and Yarra Ranges Council to take the bricks and use them in features along Main Street.

Writing for the future

Our new display is Writing for the Future.
The display features the society’s various deceased authors, their contribution to the society and their publications. The authors are: Leigh Blackburn, Ruby Kwijas, Keith Lithgow, Jack Lundy-Clark, Val Sheehan, Sandy Ross and Pamela Vestey.
Each author drew on and shared their own wealth of knowledge which today we continue to use to inform new residents and younger generations about the history of our district.

The display was launched by our local MP the Member for Evelyn Bridget Vallence and will run for the rest of the year.

However, as the Old Lilydale Court House is now closed until the COVID19 is over, we have transformed our displays into ebooks which you can now download panel by panel and read at your leisure.

Leigh Blackburn

Ruby Kwijas

Jack Lundy Clarke

Keith Lithgow

Sandy Ross

Val Sheehan

Pamela Vestey

If you enjoyed reading them all you are welcome to make an online donation to the society to help us pay for our utility costs which have to paid even though we aren’t open.

Members are also invited to pay their 2020-2021 membership early and consider purchasing our books for special events such as Mother’s Day and Father’s day.

Valuable Resources to help researchers and historical societies

Historical societies and individual researchers can quickly access a wealth of information from the three peak historical groups in Australia. Below are the links to the newsletters of each which you can readily subscribe to free of charge. Search through the rest of the sites as there is a wealth of information ranging from setting up a society, to attracting bequests and writing and publishing history.

Royal Historical Society of Victoria

History Council of Victoria

Federation of Australian Historical Societies

Royal Historical Society of Victoria

As a member of the RHSV, our society receives its wonderful digital publications. If you would like to read it please feel free to download a copy.

The Value of History Statement

The study of the past and telling its stories are critical to our sense of belonging, to our communities and to our shared future.
History shapes our identities, engages us as citizens, creates inclusive communities, is part of our economic well-being, teaches us to think critically and creatively, inspires leaders and is the foundation of our future generations.
Download the complete document

Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.

Contacts:
Sue Thompson (President) 0475 219 884
Joy Gothe 0405 128 964
Lorraine Smith (Court House Manager) 03 9735 1104
Email: [email protected]

Our home is the Old Lilydale Court House at 61 Castella Street, Lilydale 3140
Hours of opening:
By appointment only:
Fridays 1 to 4pm and Saturdays to Mondays 11am to 4pm.
Sundays are preferred.
Closed Public Holidays

Share Your Information with the Society!

Email us your info (and images) to:
[email protected]

Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.

Contacts:
Sue Thompson (President) 0475 219 884
Joy Gothe 0405 128 964
Lorraine Smith (Court House Manager) 03 9735 1104
Email: [email protected]

Share Your Information with the Society!

Email us your info (and images) to:
[email protected]

Our home is the Old Lilydale Court House @
61 Castella Street, Lilydale 3140
Hours of opening:
By appointment only:
Fridays 1 to 4pm and Saturdays to Mondays 11am to 4pm.
Sundays are preferred.
Closed Public Holidays