Tecoma is a residential suburb in hilly surrounds 35 km south-east of Melbourne and 1 km west of Belgrave.

Until 1925 Tecoma did not have a separate identity, being known as part of Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey or as Lower Belgrave. It had the Upwey Church of England (1904), and the Belgrave State school (1906). The name came about when residents of ‘Lower Belgrave’ persuaded the Victorian Railways to build a railway station, which was named Tecoma after a plant which grew in the locality. The Tecoma Station Extension Estate (land subdivision) followed shortly. Although sales were small, the name succeeded.

The Tecoma Star picture theatre (1920s) was the first in the hills area, and is now part of the shops on Burwood Highway. In residential Blackwood Street a World War I veteran, Horatio Jones, built a house from bush timber and flattened kerosene tins. It has survived threats of development and is heritage registered.

Tecoma has a small strip shopping centre, somewhat held in check by its proximity to Belgrave, churches and a primary school (330 pupils, 2014). Residences are built in hilly country, well planted with trees, which can be endangered by bushfires from the Dandenong Ranges National Park to the north or from open country in Belgrave South.

Tecoma residents attempted to prevent an American fast food chain restaurant from setting up in their town despite threats of legal action. They adopted the slogan 'burger off!'. Thousands signed petitions and campaigned for three years against the restaurant which went against community wishes and opened in 2014, leaving the only option as boycotting the chain. Locals argued that the style of restaurant went against the culture of the Dandenong Ranges town, more suited to cafes and devonshire teas.

Tecoma's census populations have been:

Census date Population
1933 416
1947 1115
2001 2203
2006 2189
2011 2088

Further Reading

Helen Coulson, Story of the Dandenongs, 1838-1958, Melbourne, 1968

Reflections of the past: a photographic history of Belgrave, Upwey, Tecoma and Upper Ferntree Gully, 3 volumes, Belgrave, 1998-2005