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Lilydale's heritage

Heritage research has focused on the historic uses of public space in Lilydale.

This work was completed by the Lilydale and District Historical Society in 2018. 

The work provides insight about how Lilydale used to work as a country town compared with how people know it today as more of a highway-based centre.
It is hoped that these past uses might inform new and revived uses of public spaces and streets as the Lilydale Project continues.

The research unveiled plenty of examples of Lilydale's public life lived out in public places from the 1860s to the 1970s.

  • The Main St Rotunda and regular brass band performances and serenades
  • Regular community participation in street tree planting and care
  • ANZAC day services at the Cenotaph since 1922
  • Lilydale Cricket, Football, Croquet, Tennis, Athletics and Lawn Bowls Clubs
  • One off events like Commemorative Fountain openings and Melba’s Welcome Home
  • The street buzz and activity generated by commerce such as the Market, Station, Tannery and Mill
  • The various dining and accommodation establishments such as the Crown Hotel and Temperance Hotel

Lilydale's bowling green

The Lilydale Bowling Club has had the most moves of any sporting club in Lilydale.

Its first rink was in Clarke Street near the Olinda Creek in November 1902. However the green proved inadequate because yabbies from the creek made great holes in the surface.

In 1908 the greens were established in Main Street near Castella Street and remained there until 1927. The club moved back to Melba Park and then to its present home in Eyrefield Park facing Hardy Street 

The former bowling green on Lilydale's main street in 1914.

Lilydale Swimming Carnival

The Lilydale Baths took just four days to build and within a week a swimming club committee had been formed and organized a swimming carnival which became an annual event for many years.

On the ANA weekend in January, special trains brought competitors and spectators from all parts of Melbourne for the day.

Filling the pool was simple: water flowed in from one branch of the Olinda Creek and out the other keeping fresh water in the pool. Today’s pool was built on the existing site in 1959.


 Lilydale Brass Band

One of the first musical groups formed was the Lilydale Brass Band. The earliest recording of a band in Lilydale was April 1888 when it was reported that the Lilydale Baptist Church had started a brass band which had a drum, three cornets, saxhorn and bombardon.

By March 1893 the band was under the conductorship of Mr W.J. Wilson and played on Saturday evenings from the balcony of the Lilydale hotel.

In 1902 the band had 18-20 members which played at events such as Dame Nellie Melba’s welcome home, Coronations celebrations, Hibernian sports, Drought Relief concert and Arbor Days.

At the announcement of the signing of Armistice the bandsmen lost no time in gathering together. Hundreds of people congregated in a very short time and the National Anthem and other songs were sung, then the bandsmen rendered several items and paraded Main Street followed by scores of townspeople.

Lilydale's Brass Band performing in Castella Street on 1 June, 1900.

Yarra Ranges Council would like to thank the Lilydale and District Historical Society for the above research and its ongoing work to support the Lilydale community.




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