Hurstbridge, once an apple growing district, is now more a residential suburb 28 km north-east of central Melbourne. It is on the Diamond Creek and is the terminus of a railway line (1912) from Melbourne via Eltham.
Its name was formerly Hurst's Bridge, named after Henry Hurst who was a settler who built a log bridge across the creek. Hurst had occupied a property called Allwood, and his descendants continued to do so. When the railway line was extended from Eltham the railway station was named Allwood. At that time Hurstbridge had a public hall, a sawmill and a cool store for local orchardists. Hurstbridge is said to hold the Australian record for the most apples dispatched from a railway station in one season. A primary school was opened in 1916.
Hurstbridge was also a tourist resort, and a recreation reserve, croquet green and tennis courts were added by 1940. Although the railway was electrified in 1926, town electricity was not turned on until 1957. (Until then the electric train station was lit by hurricane lamps.) During the first decade after the war Hurstbridge's population nearly doubled. There was also population growth in localities further afield. In 1966 a high school was opened. By the 1980s when the postwar population had grown fourfold, Hurstbridge had a wide range of children's services, clubs, four churches and an active shopping centre.
Hurstbridge has two extensive parklands along the Diamond Creek and two native flora reserves. The larger parkland, Ferguson's Paddock, includes Allwood House and an early single lane reinforced concrete bridge (1917) across Diamond Creek. A farmers' market is held monthly at the Paddock. Former orchards now graze horses and there is a pony club. The Main Road shops retain many original building elements and Anzac Avenue has an avenue of honour and the former school buildings (including the school from Gobur). One thing missing is the high school which closed in 1999. The primary school had 388 pupils in 2014.
Hurstbridge's census populations have been:
Alan Marshall, Pioneers and painters: one hundred years of Eltham and its Shire, Melbourne, 1971, Ch 12