Millgrove, a rural township immediately west of Warburton, is 63 km east of Melbourne. Although the township has had several long standing timber mills, which could have inspired its name, it is more likely to have come from an early selector, John Kennedy, who named his property Millgrove after his home town in Tipperary, Ireland. Kennedy’s property, north of the Yarra River which flows through Millgrove, was on undulating river land, in contrast to the hilly forest south of the town.

Millgrove is one of four localities along the Warburton Road, comprising Wesburn, Warburton West, Millgrove and Warburton. A school was opened in 1875 to serve these settlements, probably at Millgrove. When the Lilydale to Warburton railway line was opened in 1901 the settlements’ populations increased, as both farm produce and sawn timber were more readily transported to metropolitan markets. A school was opened in 1914 in the Millgrove public hall.

Millgrove’s mills received saw logs from the Mount Donna Buang slopes north of Warburton.

Millgrove remained a timber milling and agricultural town, with occasional tourism and fishing, until the 1960s to 1970s. Despite the closure of the railway in 1965, motor car transport placed Millgrove within acceptable commuting distance of larger towns. Its population grew sixfold during 1961-91.

Millgrove has a public reserve, a small shopping area, Baptist church and a primary school which shares campuses with Warburton East. The school was renamed Millwarra and had 111 pupils in 2014. The former railway line is a walking and cycling track.

The census populations of Millgrove have been:

census date population
1911 217
1921 370
1933 268
1947 240
1961 273
1981 925
1991 1715
1996 1701
2001 1682
2006 1576
2011 1554

At the 2011 census, technicians, trades workers and labourers comprised 38.6% of the workforce, compared with 22.9% for Victoria.

Further Reading

Val Smith, Millgrove: a pictorial history, Wesburn, 2005

‘Hard times in the valley of dreams’, The Age, 21 March 1998