Black Rock, a bayside suburb between Sandringham and Beaumaris, is 18 km south-east of central Melbourne. It was named after Black Rock House, a grand residence built by Charles Hotson Ebden in 1856, who had taken the name from Black Rock, Dublin. Ebden was an early Port Phillip pastoralist as well as being a businessman and parliamentarian representing the seat of Brighton in the Victorian Parliament. Black Rock House is on the Register of the National Estate.
Black Rock was a popular seaside destination centred on Half Moon Bay and Red Bluff. The bluff's name comes from the oxidised iron colour in the cliffs (whereas ‘Black Rock’ has no geological relationship.) Another favoured beach destination was Quiet Corner, about two kilometres south of Half Moon Bay. All these areas have needed structural works to stop wave erosion of the beaches.
In 1888, the year after the railway was extended to Sandringham, a horse tram was provided between Sandringham and Black Rock, running on to Beaumaris. The service, which lasted until 1914, was replaced by a tram service in 1919. In 1910 a State primary school was opened at Black Rock. Half Moon Bay had been a setting for yachting since the 1890s, and a branch of the Brighton Yacht Club formed the Black Rock Yacht Club in 1919. A rock breakwater was constructed and in 1926 the hull of the colonial naval vessel Cerberus was added for further protection of the boat haven. The Royal Melbourne Golf Club's courses are shared between Black Rock and neighbouring Cheltenham and date from 1931. In 1933 the Victorian municipal directory described Black Rock:
Black Rock had a large Semco (cotton thread) factory (1923-70) west of the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Cheltenham Road. The factory was unusual for its garden surrounds and ‘music while you work’. The factory later moved to George Street, Cheltenham. In common with Beaumaris, Black Rock's residential development was partly in the postwar period. Also in common was an active conservation movement for the protection of native plants beside roads and on heathlands. There is a coastal reserve at Half Moon Bay and about 1 km southwards, where the Life Saving Club is located. Nearby are a prominent clock tower and the shopping centre at the intersection of Bluff, Beach and Balcombe Roads. A public hall and Catholic primary school are in Balcombe Road east of the shops.
Median house prices in Black Rock during 1987-96 were between 100% and 140% higher than the median prices for metropolitan Melbourne.
At the 2011 census, fewer than two thirds of dwellings in Black Rock were detached houses. Row houses and flats/units were 23% and 11.6% respectively of total dwellings (2011 census). Black Rock primary school had 561 pupils in 2014.
Black Rock’s census populations have been:
The median age of residents at the 2011 census was 46 years (Australia, 37 years), reflecting an age range with a preference for downsized dwellings.
Graeme Disney and Valerie Tarrant, Bayside reflections, City of Sandringham, 1988
Thomas Sheehy, Sandringham, a sketchbook history, c1974
Elizabeth Waters, Sandringham sketchbook, Rigby, 1978