Baxter is a rural township in the northern part of the Mornington Peninsula, seven km south-east of Frankston and 45 km south-east of Melbourne. It was named after Captain Benjamin Baxter, the proprietor of the Carrup Carrup pastoral run (1838-60).
The first name that applied to the area was Baxters Flat, the site of a racecourse for the Frankston community in the 1850s. The area was part of a larger rural district until 1889 when a railway line was run through it from Frankston to Crib Point. The line went past the Langwarrin military reserve and the railway station where Baxter is now located was named Langwarrin. A school opened in 1890 was named Langwarrin Railway Station.
Later the locality was named Mornington Junction, as a branch line to Mornington ran from there. The change of name to Baxter occurred in 1916.
Baxter has two historic houses. The first is one built by John Sage who married Baxter's daughter. Sages Cottage (1853), off Sages Road, is heritage listed and is a therapy and education centre. The second house is Mulberry Hill, Golf Links Road, built by Daryl and Joan Lindsay. Constructed around a farm cottage in 1920, both the cottage and the additions designed by Desbrowe Annear are heritage listed.
The Baxter township is immediately west of the railway station and includes a small shopping centre, a hotel and a compact area of housing. Immediately west is a proposed freeway reservation, separating the town from Baxter Park which has several ovals, tennis and horse riding facilities. Baxter primary school (203 pupils, 2014) and a general store are about 1.5 km east of the town. Between the school and Mulberry Hill is the Woodleigh Anglican secondary school (1974). It was formed from the relocation of St Paul's Anglican school, Frankston (1856). Baxter technical school (c1976) became Mount Erin College and is now in Frankston South.
The railway line from Baxter to Mornington was closed in 1981 and later taken over as a tourist railway.
Baxter's census populations have been:
Michael Jones, Frankston: resort to city, Allen & Unwin, 1989