News & Events

Inaugural Jane Hansen Prize for History Advocacy 2021

Our society’s president Sue Thompson was announced the winner of the above prize on October 21, 2021.
Learn more about the History Council of Victoria’s Prize and watch the presentation.

History Council of Victoria

Lilydale Star Mail report

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

The Value of History Statement – Council Presentation

On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, society president Sue Thompson asked to speak in support of the council’s inclusion of the Value of History Statement in its 2021 – 2025 Corporate Plan.

The council also congratulated Sue on receiving the Inaugural Jane Hansen Prize for History Advocacy at the beginning of the meeting.

LDHS October Update

Read about the society’s activities on our Update

September AGM and General Meeting

The society’s Annual General Meeting and General Meeting was held on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 1pm. Below are the links to copies of our 2019-2020 AGM Minutes and all the reports read and tabled at the 2020-2021 AGM meeting.

2019-2020 AGM Minutes.

2020-2021 AGM Reports.

Lilydale Community House

At long last Lilydale has its first community house. As it is our community house, staff are is seeking input on what activities, classes etc the community wants in its community house. Now’s the chance to have your say and make your voice heard.

My name is Suyin and I have recently taken on the role of Coordinator at the newly established Lilydale Community House, which is located at 7 Hardy St, Lilydale (the Senior Citizens’ EC Hill Hall). Despite lockdown, we are keen to find out what the local community in Lilydale and surrounds would like to see happen at a new community house.

I was hoping, if it’s appropriate, that you might be able to post on your facebook page, this survey link for your followers to fill out if they are interested. Or alternatively, if you are happy to send out to the members of the Historical Society instead. Here is the link to the online survey or if anyone wants more information, we currently can only be contacted by email at: [email protected] Our new Facebook page is: if anyone would like to check it out.

I have also attached a word document version if people prefer to fill that out, and that can be emailed back to me.

Heritage Overlay Update

As this will be an ongoing issue, we have created a  separate page and put all the information in it. To its credit Yarra Ranges recognises the urgency of it and is pushing ahead with the previously evaluated properties.

Lilydale Fire Station Update

Read media report.

Lilydale Fire station Demolition and the Lilydale Heritage Overlay

Below is the letter Sue Thompson President of LDHS sent to all councillors and director of Yarra Ranges Council on July 5, 2021.

Dear Councillors and Directors,
I cannot adequately convey to you all the outrage of our members over the demolition of the Lilydale Fire Station. Sadly there is nothing we can now do but you all can ensure this demolition of our town’s buildings historic buildings stops now. Attached is the list of buildings and features just in our Main Street which are not protected by a heritage overlay so can be bulldozed tomorrow by their respective owners. You have had your own Heritage Architects reports on each of the buildings since 2019 but nothing has happened. Everyone talks about wait until the Lilydale Structure Plan. While we wait our buildings can be demolished because there is no heritage overlay. You are the only ones who can protect our buildings and preserve what little heritage we have in our Main Street.
I find it amazing our own Lilydale Primary School built in 1876 has even been investigated yet.
On behalf of all our members and many angry people in the wider community ask that as a matter of urgency, council places heritage overlays on the 11 buildings highlighted in red and urgently have the buildings marked in blue assessed, specially the property at 5 Jones street which is currently up for sale and will be demolished for town houses unless you stop it.
I would welcome the opportunity to address councillors on this issue if that would be helpful.

Sue Thompson
Lilydale & District Historical Society
Mobile: 0475 219 884 or 0408 507 890
Email: [email protected]
Linger Longer in Lilydale

The Resolution passed unanimously by the members of the Lilydale & District Historic Society on Saturday, July 3:
Resolution to be considered by the members of the Lilydale & District Historical Society
At its general meeting on Saturday, July 3, 2021, the members of the Lilydale & District Historical Society unanimously passed the resolution below and added that the resolution be sent to all executive officers and all councillors as the lack of protection of the heritage commercial buildings in our municipal administrative centre is an issue for all councillors to address.
Please note:

Normal text is for those buildings included in the heritage overlay
Bold – not included but Heritage Report with the council since 2019.
Italics – Not in overlay but need heritage assessment carried out.
The members of the Lilydale and District Historical Society request that:
1. copies of the Heritage Reports prepared by the council’s heritage architect be sent to the society of the following properties:
a. 2 Albert Hill Road – former Deschamp’s Wine Store remnant Olive Tree. Planted late 1870s
b. 148-154 Main Street – former Oliver’s Shop. Overlay. Built 1914.
c. 161 Main Street – Olinda Creek Hotel. Built 1870-1871
d. 170-172 Main Street – former Poon Kee’s store. Built ca 1886.
e. 245-247 Main Street – former Poyner’s store. Built 1890
f. 251 Main Street – former Hutchinson’s store. Built 1889-1890
g. 267 Main Street – Crown Hotel. 3rd hotel on site built 1891
h. 279-281 – Beresford’s buildings. Built 1906
i. 284 Main Street – Wilkinson’s building. J. 2nd on site built 1884
j. 292 Main Street – Lilydale Hotel [White Dog]. Overlay. Built 1862
k. 295 Main Street – bakery. Built 1901
l. 322 Main Street – former Fire Station. Built 1938. Demolished June 30, 2021
m. 335 Main Street – former Johnston’s shop. Built ca later 1870s
n. Main Street- Jubilee Avenue. Overlay. Planted 1897
o. Main Street – War memorial. Overlay. Erected 1922.

2. That the following properties be the assessed for the inclusion in the council’s heritage overlay and reports on each be forwarded to the society:
a. 57 Warburton Highway – “Heatherlie”.
b. 1/33-61 Edinburgh Road –Dora Mitchell House.
c. 24 North Road – reputed Dutch prefabricated house.
d. 161 Mangans Road – Keppell Palmer house.
e. 101 Anderson Street.
f. 16 Crestway, “Willowbank”
g. 63-66 Castella Street – Lilydale Primary School, No 876.
h. Lilydale Railway Station Goods Shed and the railway station precinct.
i. 64 Castella Street, Lilydale – built late 1870s.
j. 5 Jones Street, Lilydale.
k. Former bowls club pavilion in Melba Park – built Main St 1921.
l. Shops 304 Main Street.

If you believe this building should be included in Yarra Ranges Council’s Main Street buildings to be heritage listed, please email your concerns to [email protected]

Council’s Response

Ms Kath McClusky, Director of Planning, Design and Development gave her permission for the society to publish her response.

Dear Sue,

Thank you for raising your concerns with the protection of heritage buildings in Lilydale. As you would appreciate Council takes its obligation’s under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to conserve and enhance heritage places very seriously.

To that end, Council officers are commencing work on preparing a Municipal Heritage Strategy to assist Council to more effectively protect and manage heritage places. The strategy will guide actions that address the identification, protection, management and promotion of Yarra Ranges heritage places. The strategy will include criteria for the prioritization of places to be included in the Heritage Overlay of the planning scheme to ensure significant places are regularly assessed and progressed through to a planning scheme amendment.

Commencing a planning scheme amendment to protect heritage significant properties in Lilydale’s Main Street that are not currently in a Heritage Overlay is a high priority. This work will be progressed through a planning scheme amendment to implement the Lilydale Structure Plan, following its adoption.

Thank you for your list of other buildings in Lilydale that the society consider need to be further investigated for inclusion in the Heritage Overlay. Some of these have been previously identified through a heritage gaps analysis. For those that haven’t, we will require a formal nomination to be made. Alison Fowler, Executive Officer Strategic Planning will liaise with you to advise which properties will require a formal nomination.

As you will appreciate, progressing heritage protection through the planning scheme and investigating sites for future protection needs to be balanced with other priorities currently on the strategic planning work program.

However, you will be pleased to know that further investigation has occurred for the property at 161 Mangans Road, Lilydale and this is proposed to be included in a Heritage Overlay through an upcoming general planning scheme amendment.

I appreciate your frustration with the loss of the former fire station building. In this case due to the extent of damage to the building, and following the issue of a building notice to the land owner to show cause on why they shouldn’t demolish the building or carry out works to make the building safe, a building order was issued to demolish the building as this was the safest option.

Council through the process of report and consent under section 29A of the Building Act 1993 has an opportunity to review any proposed demolition application. However in this case due to safety reasons it was not appropriate to delay the demolition.

As you are already aware, Council has no planning powers relating to demolition by neglect for heritage buildings, such as to prosecute the building owner, or issue repair and improvement notices. These powers only exist for buildings that are classified as State significant.

Council officers will continue to engage with you and the society as we progress heritage protection of places in Lilydale, and we appreciate your ongoing interest and support for protecting heritage places in Yarra Ranges.

Kind Regards


Lilydale Fire Station

The recent fire in the derelict old Lilydale Fire station at 322 Main Street Lilydale prompted and enormous response from our local community. Back in June 2019 our society researched the history of the station and you can read Sue Thompson’s research.
The report tells the history of the building but not the impact that building had on the lives of the Lilydale community. It was here volunteers our local townspeople rushed to get the equipment to fight the fires in and around the town. They saved many homes, buildings, people and properties throughout the years. It was also a hub for the community and hosted many social and events, many to raise funds for much needed equipment.
If you believe this building should be included in Yarra Ranges Council’s Main Street buildings to be heritage listed, please email your concerns to [email protected]

Presentation to the GSV

Earlier this year, our president Sue Thompson gave a Zoom presentation to the Genealogical Society of Victoria on the history of our society.

In this our 50th year of operation, it seems appropriate we share the talk with our members, supporters and the wider community.

From a group which was formed to run a couple of displays for the Centenary celebrations of the Shire of Lillydale, we have come a long way in preserving, conserving and promoting our district’s fascinating history which underpins the community we are today.

In The News


It has been a very busy time for LDHS members pre Covid. All the talks scheduled for last year were booked again so it was out and about talking with various groups.

The launch of the new Star groups newspaper has also been a real boon for the Lilydale Community. The Lilydale Star Mail has published several articles featuring the society. I have listed them below so you too can read and enjoy them.

The links will also be on our news page:

May 4 edition Queen of Song

May 11 edition: Mafeking Tree Plaque

May 19: Melba Rotary Cemetery Walks

May 26: Kinley talk

May 26: fire station

For news any time, please join our Facebook pages:



June News Update

Keep up with what’s happening at the society  read our June News Update.

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

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.

Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.

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.

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