Fawkner is a residential suburb 12 km north of central Melbourne with the Hume Highway on its west and the Merri Creek on its east. To its south is Coburg North.

The area was first known as Box Forest, after a subdivision of farmlets sold by John Pascoe Fawkner in the early 1850s. The name was superseded by Fawkner fairly soon, although a Box Forest (Anglican) school was opened in 1846 and a Box Forest Road runs along the northern boundary of the Fawkner cemetery. (The original Box Forest subdivision is west of present-day Fawkner.)

When the area north of Coburg was entirely rural, a railway line was opened from Coburg to Somerton, where it joined the main line to Seymour, (1889). In anticipation of this the Coburg Reserve Estate Co subdivided land for housing, citing the convenience of the North Coburg railway station and another near the present Fawkner station. The venture was unsuccessful.

In 1905 the State Government approved the New Melbourne General Cemetery for the northern suburbs, one year after the new eastern suburbs cemetery was opened at Springvale. The cemetery is immediately west of the railway line and the Fawkner station was opened in 1906. Although the station only received mortuary trains at first, a small amount of housing was encouraged by its presence, and ordinary passenger trains began in 1914. In 1908 a primary school was opened.

By the outbreak of World War II Fawkner had about 180 buildings, and shortly after the war the Housing Commission built 113 houses in south Fawkner. Private sector developers built housing and by 1960 the Moomba Park estate (700 houses) in north Fawkner was begun. North Fawkner and Moomba Park primary schools were opened in 1957 and 1961.

The summary of Fawkner's schools is as follows:

name, date opened present situation
Fawkner State primary (1908) Transferred to Fawkner East site
Catholic primary, south Fawkner (1934) Continues
Fawkner State high (1956) 'John Fawkner College'
Fawkner North State primary (1957) Closed 1993 now Darul Ulum Islamic College (1997)
Fawkner East State primary (1960) 'Fawkner' primary school
Fawkner technical (1961) Closed 1992
Moomba Park State primary (1961) Continues
Catholic primary, north Fawkner (1961) Continues

Fawkner has three reserves with sporting facilities, the middle one having the swimming pool (1964). The southern reserve is named after Charles Mutton, shire councillor (1924-54) and Labor State Parliamentarian who was the Member for Coburg. He was regarded as a Fawkner patriot. There is a linear park with a walking trail along the Merri Creek. The main shopping centre is near the middle of Fawkner, near the Gowrie railway station. The railway station was opened in 1965, and is named after Gowrie Park, a grazing property named by its owner who came from Gowrie, England. The cemetery is on part of the property.

There are also shopping centres in Anderson Road and Major Road, and all three have post offices (2012).

In addition to Anglican and Catholic churches (two) there are Greek Orthodox and Buddhist places of worship.

Fawkner has had census populations of:

Census date Population
1911 307
1933 758
1947 911
2001 11,926
2006 11,876
2011 12,596

Among the languages spoken at home by residents at the 2011 census there were:

language Percentage of population
  Fawkner Victoria
English 32.5 72.4
Italian 18.4  2.3
Arabic 10.6  1.3
Greek   4.6  2.2

The median income of residents was 64% of the Australian median (2011 census).

Further Reading

Don Chambers, Fawkner crematorium and memorial park: 100 years of service, Fawkner, 2006