Hawthorn East is a residential suburb 9 km east of central Melbourne between Auburn and Burke Roads. It extends in a north-south direction from Barkers Road to Gardiner's Creek. At the southern end, however, it meets with the smaller localities of Gardiner, Glen Iris and Tooronga.
The northern part of Hawthorn East is serviced by train (1882) and tram (1916). Consequently it was subdivided and built on by the turn of the century. The southern end has no east-west public transport, and subdivision was uncompleted until the interwar years. Auburn primary school (1890) and the one at Auburn South (1925) are in Hawthorn East, and mirror the different stages of the area's residential settlement. Along its eastern side is the Burke Road tram (1917).
Swinburne College had a technical school in Camberwell Road during the 1980s, and Hawthorn Secondary College is near the Auburn South Primary school. The Bialik College is also nearby, separated by the John Gardiner Reserve on the site of a former claypit. The Swinburne technical school was also near a large claypit, latterly the Hawthorn tip and the Fritsch Holzer Park. (Holzer was probably Hawthorn's pre-eminent brickmaker, having also made bricks from the clay pit on which the Victoria Road Reserve, Auburn, was formed.)
Hawthorn East shares the Burke Road shopping strip with Camberwell. On the Hawthorn side the shops in Camberwell are gradually being filled in at the rear, turning the two strips into a shopping complex. The Well (2008), an undercover shopping complex has about 30 outlets. Camberwell Road also has the art deco Rivoli Cinema (1940), along with recently constructed bulky goods showrooms.
The part of Hawthorn East southwards from Riversdale Road to Gardiner's Creek has fewer attractions. Anderson Park has sporting facilities, as has the more recent John Gardiner Reserve. The nearest shopping centre is the drive-in Stockland shopping centre, formerly Tooronga Village (1965). Before either of these the site was occupied by gasometers and a drive-in theatre. There are also small shopping centres in Burke Road at Toorak Road and in Tooronga Road. The houses in this part of Hawthorn East are of interwar designs, reflecting the increasing acceptance of off-street space for motor cars and the dispersion of community facilities. Recent trends to higher density living have resulted in flats and row houses comprising 57.9% of dwellings in 2011. In 2013 an apartments tower at the corner of Camberwell and Riversdale Roads was completed, replacing a low rise car yard.
Hawthorn East's census populations have been:
Gwen McWilliam, Hawthorn peppercorns, Melbourne, Brian Atkins, 1978
Victoria Peel et al, A history of Hawthorn, Melbourne University Press in association with the City of Hawthorn, 1993