Mount Waverley

Mount Waverley is a residential suburb 15 km south-east of central Melbourne. Its area extends eastwards from Huntingdale Road to Glen Waverley. In 1853 a privately surveyed township was laid out at the south-east corner of High Street Road and Stephenson’s Road, named by its owner after Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels. The site rises from a deep valley to the south, the rise being sufficient for the appellation of Mount. St Stephen’s Anglican church was opened to the west of Stephenson’s Road in 1865, the first in the Waverley district.

In 1900 the population of the Mount Waverley area was sufficient to assemble a petition for a State primary school and to request post and telegraph services. The nearest post offices were at Notting Hill and Black Flat (now Glen Waverley), each about 3 km away. A school was opened in 1905, and post and telegraph facilities were provided at about the same time. The farms were increasingly given over to fruit growing, and a cool store was built in 1920 in High Street Road. Vegetables and poultry farms increased in response to Melbourne's growing metropolitan population, particularly after World War I.

In 1930 an electrified railway line was opened from Malvern East. Mount Waverley's census population of 112 in 1911 grew fourfold by the 1933 census, whereupon it stabilised until the postwar years. The railway station immediately east of Mount Waverley is Jordanville, to where the Riversdale Golf Club transferred in 1927. By 1950 the Housing Commission had acquired land for 2000 houses. The Jordanville technical school was opened in 1954 and a high school (named successively Holmesglen, Jordanville and Waverley), was opened in 1956. The eastwards residential expansion was not long coming to Mount Waverley. A modern shopping centre with an L-shaped arrangement of shops facing onto a landscaped car park was built in 1959, next to the railway station. By the end of the 1950s the railway line was duplicated and train frequency improved.

Mount Waverley extends west to east from Huntingdale Road to Blackburn Road. By the 1960s it had eight State primary schools and two State secondary schools Travelling from north to south (Highbury Road to Ferntree Gully Road) the schools were:

Name and date opened

enrolment, 2014

Essex Heights primary (1962)

539 pupils

Mount Waverley North primary (1962)

320 pupils

Syndal North primary (1967)

‘Mount Waverley North’

Mount Waverley high (1966) Now a secondary college, 1808 pupils
Syndal technical (1959) Closed 1993
Syndal South primary (1964)

385 pupils

Bayview primary (1956)


Mount Waverley primary (1906)

776 pupils

Sussex Heights primary (1967)

183 pupils

Pinewood primary (1961)   

406 pupils

(Syndal and Pinewood have separate entries).

A Catholic primary (1957) and girls’ secondary (1965) schools' campus is near the station and Huntingtower (1953) a little further eastwards.

South of the railway station the valley accommodates a long linear public reserve and flood retarding basins. North of the station is the Damper Creek reserve.

At the western edge of Mount Waverley on Blackburn Road there are the Pinewood shopping centre and primary school, adjoining which is the Waverley cinema. The shopping centre and adjacent housing were an A.V. Jennings estate in the late 1950s. The Pinewood Reserve is at the head of Scotchmans Creek which was the site of an historic grazing run (1840) which extended to Oakleigh. The creek has a linear park and flood retarding basins. South of the Pinewood shops is an industrial estate which is partly in Notting Hill. It is flanked by the South Eastern Arterial/Monash Freeway.

By the mid-1990s Mount Waverley was becoming an aged community as the first generation of home builders approached retirement and were characterised as ‘empty nesters’, whose children had moved out to more distant estates or moved in the other direction to inner city living.

Mount Waverley’s census populations have been:

census date population
1911 112
1933 464
1947 493
2001 29,218
2006 30,617
2011 32,076

Further Reading

Susan Priestley, Cattlemen to commuters: a history of the Mulgrave district – now the City of Waverley, 1839-1861, John Ferguson, 1979