Rowville is a residential suburb 26 km south-east of central Melbourne. It is centred approximately on the intersection of Wellington and Stud Roads, where an electricity terminal station and the Stamford Hotel were built in the 1950s-60s, in the midst of a rural landscape but heralding subsequent urbanisation.
Originally part of Narre Warren and later Lysterfield, Rowville was settled by Europeans in 1838. The undulating, lightly timbered land was good for grazing. No provision was made for a town or for a settlement, and a post office was not opened until 1902.
The name Rowville was given after the Row family which owned the Stamford Park property. The Stamford homestead (1882) is at the end of Emmeline Lane, off Stud Road.
In 1938 part of the former Dandenong Police Paddock was set aside as a national park. In 1944 it was named Churchill National Park after the British wartime leader. The national park is partly in Rowville and partly in Endeavour Hills to the south. An earlier park created by the Fern Tree Gully shire is Heaney Park, named after the shire engineer. It contains a swimming lake and facilities for guides and scouts, and had originally been a water storage basin.
Rowville’s western boundary is the Dandenong Creek which passes through an extensive flood plain that has provided the route for the Eastlink Tollway (2008). Dandenong Creek is joined by the Corhanwarrabul Creek, which is Rowville’s northern boundary. It has linear reserves and a walking trail.
In 1942 a military training camp was placed on the site which later became the electricity terminal station. It accommodated tactical response Australian troops, American troops destined for war in the islands north of Australia, and finally prisoners of war.
In 1956 a drive-in theatre was opened in Stud Road, opposite the terminal station. Seven years later the Waverley Golf Club opened its new golf course just south of the drive-in. The surrounding country was still open land.
Rowville's undulating landscape attracted housing and two more golf links in the period from 1970. The Stud Park shopping area (1989) is a semi-regional centre, and the advancing new housing with a preponderance of young families has resulted in Rowville having four State primary and two State secondary schools. The State schools were:
|State school||pupils, 2014|
|Rowville primary (1973)||448|
|Karoo primary (1992)||569|
|Heaney Park primary (1993)||517|
|Park Ridge primary, (1990)||587|
Rowville secondary (1990) and
east campus (1996)
Rowville also has a Catholic primary school (1982), a community centre with a library and another drive-in shopping centre in Wellington Road. A feasibility study for a rail line to Rowville, with stops at Monash University, Mulgrave and Waverley Park, was conducted in 2012 but not costed. In 2013 Council endorsed the Draft Rowville Plan, a strategic document developed with the local community that set out a vision and direction for the Stud Park Shopping Centre and surrounding neighbourhoods over 20 years.
Rowville's census populations have been:
Bryan Power (ed), Rowville and Lysterfield stories, 3 vols, Rowville, 2005
Helen Coulson, Story of the Dandenongs, 1838-1958, F.W. Cheshire, 1968