Newham is a rural village 8 km north-east of Woodend and 65 km north-east of Melbourne. It is to the north of the Mount Macedon range.

Newham was named after the Newham pastoral run (1848), which is thought to have been named after the birthplace of the run’s proprietor, Edward Dryden, Newham, England.

Newham is on the route between Woodend and Lancefield and carried all the traffic between those places until a railway line from Lancefield opened in 1881. The area was reputedly settled by Scottish farmers. A school was opened in 1860 by the Combined Protestant Church, and replaced by a government school in 1877.

By that time there were also two hotels, the Newham (c1862-1930) and the Hanging Rock (1870), a flour mill of three storeys (1866), Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches (1860, 1868, 1869) and a post office (1861).

In 1861 the Woodend, Newham and Rochford Road District was proclaimed, which became the United shire of Newham (with the inclusion of Woodend borough), on 17 November 1871. The name was changed to Newham and Woodend shire on 11 January 1905.

Newham was described in 1903 in the Australian handbook:

The bacon factory was in the former flour mill and continued until 1930 when it was dismantled. The former school building had been kept as a public hall until replaced by the mechanics’ institute in 1903. A general store was opened in about 1900, continuing until 1971.

Newham is a few kilometres north of Hanging Rock (Mount Diogenes) and Mount Jim Jim is a few kilometres north of the town. Hanging Rock reserve was the village’s recreation and picnic spot.

Newham has a school (90 pupils, 2014), the Presbyterian church, a tennis court and some recent residential development. Its census populations have been:

area census date population
Newham 1871 252
  1891 121
  1921 254
  1933 366
  1954 173
  1961 164
Newham and environs 2011 523

Further Reading

Shire of Newham and Woodend: a century of local government, shire council, 1962

Colin McKenzie, Looking back: history of Newham, 1977

Jannyse Williams, Echoes of the past: a history of Newham and Cobaw, Woodend, 2004