St Andrews is a rural locality 36 km north-east of central Melbourne, between Panton Hill and Kinglake. It was originally named Queenstown, a goldfield, in the area known as the Caledonia Diggings. By 1865 it was also known as St Andrews, and the presence of large numbers of Scottish miners gave rise to both ‘Caledonia’ and ‘St Andrews’. Its neighbour, Panton Hill, originally was called Kingstown.
St Andrews was the earliest goldfield in the area. By 1855 there were 3000 miners, and in 1856 it had a post office. The township was surveyed in 1859. A church school was opened in 1858, which was replaced by a State school in 1887. The Anglican church of St Andrew opened in 1868.
By the early 1880s gold had declined and a community of small farmers grew. The Australian handbook 1903, described Queenstown:
The name ‘Queenstown’ persisted for another 50 years, as the school's name was not changed to St Andrews until 1956.
The Diamond Creek runs through St Andrews, and there is a large village reserve beside it. On another reserve Saturday morning markets have been held since 1971. There is a recreation reserve, public hall, general store, hotel, bakery and an Anglican church. East of the school there is a former school building and the former Smiths Gully school (1876), used as a community centre. St Andrews primary school had 41 pupils in 2014.
In February 2009 a major bushfire destroyed properties east of the town.
The census populations of St Andrews have been:
|Queenstown and diggings||1881||1162|
West of St Andrews there is Cottles Bridge named, it is thought, after Thomas Cottle, a settler in the 1870s. It was a place of small farms and orchards. Now best known for Clifton Pugh's Dunmoochin artists' foundation. Census populations of Cottles Bridge have been:
St Andrews: a village built on gold, St Andrews, 1998