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.
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:
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.
Jack Lundy Clarke
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