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Upwey, Victoria

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Main Street, Upwey
Upwey is located in Melbourne
Coordinates37°54′11″S 145°19′48″E / 37.903°S 145.330°E / -37.903; 145.330
Population6,818 (2021 census)[1]
 • Density970/km2 (2,520/sq mi)
Elevation220 m (722 ft)
Area7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)
State electorate(s)Monbulk
Federal division(s)Casey
Suburbs around Upwey:
Tremont Ferny Creek Sherbrooke
Upper Ferntree Gully Upwey Tecoma
Ferntree Gully Lysterfield Belgrave Heights

Upwey is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 33 kilometres (21 mi) east from Melbourne's central business district, located within the City of Knox and the Shire of Yarra Ranges local government areas. Upwey recorded a population of 6,818 at the 2021 census.[1]

Upwey South is a colloquial term for the area directly south of the township, but is not an official suburb.[citation needed]

Burwood Highway and Glenfern Road are the two main roads that run through Upwey which are connected by Morris Road. These three roads form the main routes around the suburb. Glenfern Road runs along the ridge of the hill providing views across the city and the Lysterfield Valley.


Upwey is a residential suburb in hilly surrounds 34 km east-south-east of Melbourne and 2 km west of Belgrave. Until the turn of the century Upwey did not have a separate identity. Upwey is a residential suburb in hilly surrounds 34 km. east-south-east of Melbourne and 2 km. west of Belgrave. Upwey was part of the Parish of Scoresby and the Parish of Narree Worren and as such known by those names during the 1800s. Upwey was known as Mast Gully, after several ship masts had been cut from the gully in 1850.[citation needed] (Mast Gully Creek and Mast Gully Road remain).

Early European settlers

John Ferguson was the first known white settler in Upwey. He settled in Upwey (then known as Ferntree Gully) in about 1870. He was a coach builder with premises in Collins Street and Wellington Parade, and other residential properties in Oakleigh and Elwood. Together with his three sons John, Samuel and Archibald, he ran cattle on his farm. He had approximately 600 acres covering the present Upwey township as well as land on both sides of Morris Road and Glenfern Road. He originally named his homestead Glenlissa, and it was later renamed Quamby and then Glenlucia. The house is still standing today at 28 Birdwood Avenue.[2] In 1897, three sisters, Misses Tullidge, bought the homestead portion of the Ferguson property.[citation needed] It was the Tullidge sisters who denoted the area Upwey, after the English village Upwey on the River Wey.[citation needed] They persuaded the Victorian Railways to approve a stopping place near their house, and the name Upwey was given to it. The name was adopted by common usage, the Upwey Church of England being built in 1904 (now in the neighbouring locality of Tecoma.[citation needed]


In 1922, 1938, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1980, 1983, 1997 and 2009 there were bushfires that affected parts of Upwey.

On 19 January 1938, two houses used as weekend holiday homes were lost in Upwey in 1938 from bushfires that started in the mid afternoon and burnt through Ferntree Gully and Upwey in the vicinity of the area around Burwood Highway on the approach between Upper Ferntree Gully to Upwey.[3]

In 1962, serious bushfires burnt through the Dandenong Ranges affecting not only Upwey but also The Basin, Ferny Creek, Ferntree Gully, Sassafras, Olinda, Montrose and Kilsyth.[citation needed]

On 8 January 1969, fires broke out around the state. There were serious fires in the Dandenong Ranges that affected Upwey as well as Upper Ferntree Gully, Ferny Creek, The Basin and Sassafras. There were houses lost in Upwey and there are still some evidence of these fires in blackened trees along Glenfern Road on the south side of Morris Road.[citation needed]

There were bushfires in 1972 that burnt through Ferntree Gully National Park at Lysterfield, and also affected Upwey, Ferny Creek, Upper Ferntree Gully, The Basin and Sassafras.[citation needed]

In January 1980, there were bushfires in Ferntree Gully National Park and Upwey burning through the area now known as Glenfern Valley Bushlands.[citation needed]

On the morning of 21 January 1997, the fires began in the foothills of the western face of the ranges. The communities of Ferny Creek, Kalorama, Mount Dandenong and Upwey were affected. Forty-three houses were destroyed and another 45 damaged. Three people lost their lives in the neighbouring It was suspected that the fires in the Dandenongs were deliberately lit.[citation needed]

One week after the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, a bushfire started near the corner of Nixon Road and Glenfern Road in Upwey in the mid-afternoon.[4]

Contemporary community

While a suburb of Melbourne, extensive parks, large residential blocks and the lack of commercial activity means that Upwey maintains a rural character. Many of the local families have lived in the community for three, four or more generations.[citation needed] These locals will state that Upwey is a small-style rural community, though outsiders have tried to characterise it more as a hippie or bohemian style community.[citation needed] The local schools consist of many children whose grandparents and great-grandparents attended the same school. The community was fairly stable with few people moving in or out of the community until about 2010. Since then, there has been a rapid turnover in the demographic with many local baby boomers downsizing to smaller blocks and easier to maintain properties in nearby urbanised communities and younger families moving into the area. Newer residents and visitors have claimed that the semi-rural community is a "hipster suburb".[5]

Upwey Fire Brigade

The Upwey Country Fire Authority (CFA) is a volunteer fire service located at the southern end of the Dandenong Ranges. The brigade's area of primary protection includes the township of Upwey, parts of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, farmland, and other areas of bushland both private and public.

Upwey Fire Brigade was established in 1918 and is the oldest of the 15 fire brigades in the Dandenong Ranges.[citation needed]


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Upwey has a median age of 40 years. Children under 15 years account for 19.1% of the people in Upwey, and people aged over 65 years are 10.7%.

The majority of people living in Upwey were born in Australia (5,269 of the 6,652 or 79.9%). Other responses on the 2016 ABS census were English (5.8%), New Zealand (1.6%), Germany (1%) and Netherlands (0.9%). Over 55% of people living in Upwey had both parents born in Australia (55.3%) and only one quarter had both parents born overseas (22.7%). For people who had their parents born overseas, the top countries listed were England, New Zealand, Netherlands and Germany. Over 90% of households in Upwey only speak English at home.


The main street has a wide variety of shops and services, instilling a traditional community village nature into an outer eastern suburb of Melbourne. Main Street consists of small retail outlets including a music shop, health care shop and milk bar as well as health care services including physiotherapy, osteopathy, dental and medical centre.

The predominant businesses are small cafes and restaurants providing a strong food culture to the township as these businesses are generally popular with a range of eat in and takeaway services with a prominent curbside dining culture.

In 1998, the first metropolitan and third ever Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank was established in Upwey Main Street. This community banking model returns branch profits into the community.

Community spaces and public lands

There are substantial crown land and recreational reserves in Upwey. The Burrinja Cultural Centre on Glenfern Road, Forest Park Reserve, Ferny Creek Reserve (also known as the Hume St Drainage Reserve), Upwey South Recreational Reserve (including tennis courts), Upwey Recreational Reserve (including the bowls clubs) and Glenfern Valley Bushlands all form public reserves and recreational areas.

At Main Street, there is also a skate park and public halls. The public halls are located behind the retail outlets on Main Street. This group of public halls house community organisations including the Upwey Senior Community Centre, University of the Third Age, Upwey Angling Club, Upwey Scouts, and the Upwey Girl Guides. On the other side of Burwood Highway, the Upwey Community Centre also provides a location for community events, located opposite the Upwey RSL.

Other significant areas adjoining Upwey including Birdsland Reserve and the Dandenong Ranges National Park.

Children's playgrounds

There are children's playgrounds at Kooringal Playground on Kooringal Road, Burrinja Cultural Centre on Glenfern Road, Main Street Upwey, Wright Avenue Playground and at Upwey South Recreational Reserve.

Farming community

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Glenfern Road is home to prominent agricultural landscape. The area surrounding Glenfern Road is a significant urban agricultural region less than 35 km of Melbourne. With the advantage of the rich volcanic soils, the area in Upwey around Glenfern Road is home to the Lysterfield Valley fertile Monbulk Creek zone that consists of approximately 700 hectares of hobby farms, market farms and significant agricultural holdings of market gardens, cattle and sheep and poultry farms. These agricultural holdings are on the southern side of Upwey Village.

There are many semi-rural or rural style businesses in the area.


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Upwey is home to a cultural scene for live theatre and music. Notable examples are the "Dandenong Ranges Music Centre" co-located at the Upwey High School and the "Burrinja Cultural Centre" located at the site of the offices of the former Shire of Sherbrooke on Glenfern Road. The Burrinja Cultural Centre houses a 400 seat theatre, a black box theatre, 14 artist studios, an art gallery and café. It is a contemporary art & performance space, as well as a prominent venue for hire.

The Mountain District Radio station 3MDR community radio station broadcasts from its studio located at the historical Forest Park Homestead on the grounds of the Upwey South Primary School.

Sporting clubs

Together with its neighbouring township Tecoma, Upwey has multiple sporting teams. The Upwey Tecoma Australian Rules football team (Upwey-Tecoma) competes in the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League.[6] Other local sports clubs are the Upwey-Tecoma Netball Club, Upwey Tecoma Bowls Club, Upwey Tecoma Cricket Club, and Upwey-Tecoma Tennis Club. Upwey South hosts the Upwey South Netball Club and the Upwey South Tennis Club.

The Upwey - Tecoma Community Recreational and Sporting Hub - known as the UT Crash - provides significant sporting facilities including the Andrew Petersen Pavilion located on the Upwey High School grounds.

Places of worship

The Upwey Baptist Community Church, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Tumbetin Spiritual Centre and Buddhist Discussion Centre are located in Upwey.


Upwey is on the Belgrave Railway line. It has one railway station which is located adjacent to Main Street, Upwey's main shopping strip.

The bus route 693 which runs from Belgrave to Oakleigh via Burwood Highway and Ferntree Gully Road runs through the suburb.

The bus route 699 runs from Belgrave to Upwey and travels around Upwey and neighbouring suburbs.

The Ringwood-Belgrave Rail Trail passes through the Upwey township.


Upwey has two pre-schools called Upwey South Pre-School and Upwey Pre-School. Similarly, there are two primary schools in Upwey known as Upwey Primary School and Upwey South Primary School.

There is one secondary school in Upwey—Upwey High School, a government school for years 7–12.

Victorian Heritage Listed Properties

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National Trust

  • Belmont Tower - 32 Belmont Avenue oldest-known wooden lookout tower in Victoria
  • Lysterfield Valley - Lysterfield Valley is located south-west of the Dandenong Ranges. The boundaries follow Napoleon Road, Ferny Creek, Glenfern and Kelletts Road and are contiguous with a section of the boundary of the Recorded Lysterfield Forest area.

Yarra Ranges Shire

  • Eloera Homestead at 265 to 269 Glenfern Road - Built by one of the area's selectors. It is an example of a largely intact nineteenth century gothic homestead.
  • Chitt's property at 322 Glenfern Road - An allotment selected by the Morris family. It is a rare example of a surviving farm complex. It was later used as a market garden by the prominent Chitts family.
  • Forest Park Homestead and Stables at 91 Morris Road (corner of Riley Road). One of the region's oldest and most elaborate houses. The stables coachhouse and garden gazebo remain in excellent condition.
  • Hillside- house and garden at 1-5 Hillside Grove
  • Allawah at 10 St Kilda Avenue Allawah has State significance as the place where in the 1960s the artist Fred Williams was living while he created his Upwey paintings
  • Magpie Milk Bar at 48-50 Main Street The former Magpie Cafe, a two-storey shop/residence, has high local significance as an important township building, part of the Upwey shopping centre townscape from the mid-1920s or earlier.
  • The Former McNally Real Estate Offices McNally Real Estate Offices (former), built by Phillips and Nicholson in 1920, have high local significance for their association with the development of Upwey township after the First World War.
  • Glenlucia Homestead (Glenlissa /Quamby) at 28 Birdwood Avenue One of the region's oldest houses, in excellent condition with minimal alterations
  • Mangoolah Homestead at 86 - 90 Main Street
  • Mast Gully Track and Gully at 71-73 Mast Gully Road and 3 Elliott Road Mast Gully has high local significance as a place associated with an expedition to cut urgently needed ship's masts, from which the gully gained its name.

Victorian War Heritage Inventory

  • Upwey Memorial Wall at Mast Gully Road
  • Upwey Primary School War Memorial at Upwey Primary School
  • Belgrave State School Honour Roll (First World War) at 1 Mast Gully Road

Significant properties

The designer and architect Alistair Knox designed two mudbrick houses in Upwey.[7][8][9]

Notable people

Natural environment and bushlands

The Glenfern Valley Bushlands are located on Glenfern Road.[10] The Bushlands provide native remnant and rehabilitated forest. It descending from the ridge into the valley and a walk along Ferny Creek.[11] Glenfern Valley Bushlands comprises 40 hectares or 100 acres, 35 km east of Melbourne. It is bounded on the south by Glenfern Road, on the west by New Road, the north boundary is Ferny Creek and the eastern boundary is 'Depot Track'. The land falls gently from south to north, with Grassy Forest and Herb Rich Foothill Forest on high ground to Riparian Forest at the creek line. It is in the Southern Fall Bioregion, and contains a large area of remnant vegetation. This land is now Crown Land under management by Department of Sustainability & Environment and the Shire of Yarra Ranges. It is being rehabilitated by Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushlands - a volunteer group of interested local people who weed and plant in the park on a monthly basis.

Flora and biodiversity

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Upwey contains a wide range of microclimates and aspects, and as a result the flora is similar to that of the larger Dandenong Ranges as a whole.

Weeds remain a significant threat to biodiversity, with significant infestations of Ivy, onion weed, tradescantia and holly. A number of conservation groups are active in the local area including the Friends of Ferny Creek and Friends of Glenfern Valley.

Outside of the conservation zones and bushlands, Upwey is largely covered by exotic vegetation with remnant native trees.

Creeks and waterways

Upwey has three main creeks, Ferny Creek, Monbulk Creek and Mast Gully Creek. These two creeks are part of the Corhanwarrabul catchment. The Corhanwarrabul catchment is part of the larger Dandenong Creek catchment, that flows into Port Phillip at Patterson Lakes. Ferny Creek starts in the Dandenong Ranges near the suburb of Sherbrooke. The headwaters are located in the Tremont/Ferny Creek region on Mt Dandenong of the Dandenong Ranges. It flows through the suburbs of Upwey, Upper Ferntree Gully, Ferntree Gully and Rowville. Ferny Creek and Monbulk Creek join in Rowville after which this combined waterway is known as Corhanwarrabul Creek. Monbulk Creek runs through the Lysterfield Valley to the south of the Glenfern Road ridge. The Corhanwarrabul Creek later becomes the Dandenong Creek at Police Road. Monbulk Creek flows through the suburbs of Belgrave, Upwey, Lysterfield, Ferntree Gully and Rowville with the headwaters rising in the Sherbrooke Forest National Park.

Ferny Creek

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A Melbourne Water Corporation report in 1998 on the Health of Corhanwarrabul, Monbulk and Ferny Creek contained a thorough report on the quality and health of the waterways. The report found Ferny Creek had fluoride concentrations three times higher than other local creeks (Monbulk Creek, Ferntree Gully Creek and Celamtis Creek). This finding suggested that approximately one-third of the water flowing through Ferny Creek comes from fluoridated domestic water including runoff from watering gardens, household greywater and runoff from septic systems. E Coli levels in Ferny Creek were higher than in other local creeks, again suggesting there may be runoff from domestic septic systems. Although much of the area is connected to the main sewerage system, a small section of upper Ferny Creek upstream of Tecoma and in Upwey along Glenfern Road are not connected to the main sewerage system and instead use domestic septic tanks, many which are older original systems.

The water quality of Ferny Creek deteriorates as it flows through Upwey. It is rated as good at Sophia Grove but by the time it reached New Road on the west border of Upwey, Ferny Creek quality was rated very poor to fair. Although other local creeks including the Monbulk Creek are excellent habitat for platypus and platypus is sited, there have been no platypus sightings in Ferny Creek.

The majority of Ferny Creek is degraded and suffering from severe bank erosion. The large rural residential blocks on Glenfern Road to the west of Morris Road running down towards the Glenfern Valley Bushlands have predominantly partnered with Melbourne Water to undertake rehabilitation of the Ferny Creek undertaking weed reduction and erosion. There had been a man-made dam dug into Ferny Creek prior to the subdivision of the town in the 1920s. Although this dam collapsed in the 1980s, the residual erosion and stream bed degradation to the waterway remains substantial and affects the waterway rehabilitation.

See also


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Upwey (Suburbs and Localities)". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 9 July 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Victorian Heritage Database".
  3. ^ "HOMES BURNT IN UPWEY FIRE". 20 January 1938. p. 1 – via Trove.
  4. ^ "Fires threatening communities in Upwey, Daylesford and Won Wron". 22 February 2009.
  5. ^ Malo, Jim (12 January 2020). "'From hippie to hipster': How Upwey went from ghost town to a thriving mountain town". Domain.
  6. ^ Full Points Footy, Upwey-Tecoma, archived from the original on 30 April 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
  7. ^ "Alistair Knox Architect".
  8. ^ "Alistair Knox Architect".
  9. ^ "Alistair Knox Architect".
  10. ^ "Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushlands". Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushlands.
  11. ^ "Friends of Ferny Creek".
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Upwey, Victoria
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