Nillumbik Shire (1994-) is north-east of Melbourne comprising outer suburbs, farmland and forest reserves. Its area is 430 sq km, extending from Eltham to the Kinglake National Park. Nillumbik’s southern boundary is the Yarra Valley, and the northern boundary is an irregular line around the Kinglake National Park, near a summit ridge of the Great Dividing Range, 45 km from Melbourne. The Kinglake township is not in Nillumbik.
Flowing through the municipality from Kinglake is the Diamond Creek. At about the three-quarters mark of its journey to the Yarra River the creek passes through the township of Diamond Creek. The township’s first name was Nillumbik, thought to be an Aboriginal word meaning no good, red or bad earth.
Nillumbik shire was formed on 15 December 1994, by the union of most of Eltham shire, most of Diamond Valley shire (except the populated urban parts south-west of Diamond Creek), part of Whittlesea city east of the Yan Yean reservoir, and part of Healesville shire (Christmas Hills area).
Nillumbik shire has a railway line from Melbourne to Hurstbridge, running parallel to the Heidelberg-Kinglake Road which bisects the shire. About 80% of the shire’s population is in the south-west of the shire, generally comprising Eltham, Eltham North, Research, Hurstbridge, Wattle Glen, Diamond Creek and Kangaroo Ground.
The shire’s population grew from 55,000 to 60,000 during 1996-2006. Growth has not been universally welcomed. Long-standing residents wanted to keep the shire’s rural ambience, especially around the urban parts, and were wary of property development, road widening and sales of council land. Concern for landscape is exemplified by the Bend of Islands environmental zone along Henley and Skyline Roads where exotic garden plants, dogs and cats are forbidden. Another example occurs on the shire’s western boundary where it touches Whittlesea city. The suburb of Doreen is in both shires, fully built-up in Whittlesea and open space in Nillumbik.
Nillumbik shire’s census populations have been:
Diamond Valley shire, Eltham shire, Christmas Hills and Doreen entries