Wollert, a rural locality, is 25 km north-west of central Melbourne. Its western and eastern boundaries are the Merri and Darebin Creeks. Suburban Epping is on its southern boundary and rural Donnybrook is to its north.
Originally a parish name ‘Wollert’ is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal expression describing a place inhabited by possums.
In 1853 most of the parish was subdivided for farms. A ribbon village grew along Epping Road, with a Methodist church (1878) near Lehmanns Road, the Wollert Christian church (1877) further north, and a government school (1877) which replaced an Anglican school opened as early as 1852. Later, near the corner of Epping and Bridge Inn Roads, there were a post office, a twentieth century ‘dance palais’, a sports reserve and a CFA station. All remain, although the ‘palais’ has closed.
Wollert has a few relics of early rural infrastructure: single lane bridges over Darebin Creek at Bridge Inn Road and over Merri Creek at Summerhill Road; and drystone walls in Masons Lane. Wollert’s dairy farms continued until the 1960s, augmented by a few soldier settlement farms after World War II. The drystone walls, however, give a hint of the modern quarry industries near the Merri Creek (Austral bricks) and near the Darebin Creek. South of the latter quarry site there are residential estates as urbanisation has crept north from Epping.
Wollert’s school closed in 1994. It was a few kilometres north of the impending residential estates in which five sites were nominated for schools. The draft Wollert Precinct Structure Plan outlined three main residential precincts and an employment precinct concentrated along Epping Road.
The Hume Freeway (2005) on Wollert’s west connects to the Metropolitan Ring Road, and a proposed north-south outer ring road was designed to take traffic from east Wollert, south through Mill Park to the Ring Road. In Wollert’s south-west corner, sandwiched between the Freeway and the Merri Creek, there is the Craigieburn grasslands reserve.
Wollert’s census populations have been:
J.W. Payne, Centenary history of the Wollert State School No. 1861, 1877-1977, Kilmore, 1977