Warburton East, a quiet village of about 865 surrounded by small farms and orchards, has its own thriving primary school and a well-used community hall. Still loosely following the Yarra the main road snakes past smaller hamlets and larger acreages, ever deeper into State forest. The family-owned sawmills are now gone but timber harvesting still takes place in the warmer months as many logging access roads will testify.
When Upper Yarra Shire (1888-1994) was created in 1888 its first office was in East Warburton.
In 1930's East Warburton had its own Football team 'Yarra Rovers'. According to Brian Carroll it was reported in 1935 that 'Yarra Rovers, the baby team of the competition was only a junior side, a team in the making. The Rovers deserved credit for finishing the season without missing a fixture, although overwhelmed week after week.'
Yarra Rovers shared the Warburton ground with the powerful Warburton club. The Rovers, who wore purple and gold jerseys, won only one of their 22 matches in 1935 to finish a distant last. By 1937, however, the club had improved enough to win 10 of 18 matches and finish sixth. A swift decline in 1938 saw Yarra Rovers fall to second-last. The club failed to re-form in 1939. The reason given was that the severe bushfires of Black Friday (13 January 1939) had caused much unemployment and made it too difficult to find players to travel each Saturday. Read more about former clubs in the Yarra Valley from here.
To visit the Redwood Forest, drive towards East Warburton and turn left to Cement Creek Road. These trees were planted by the Board of Works in about 1930 following clearing of the original eucalypt forest. There are over 1476 trees ranging from 20 metres to the tallest being 55 metres. Species include Californian Redwood (Sequuoia sempervirens), Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Pinus raidiata. The trees were planted in tidy rows reflecting nineteenth century cultural attitudes towards aesthetic plantings with exotic tree species. The Californian Redwood Forest is significant because of the history and extent of the plantation.
With the tall straight tree trunks all around you, you feel like you are in a cathedral. It is also a great spot for some 'hide & seek' between the trees! Today the heritage listed Redwood Forest is a very popular tourist attraction. If you want to experience the magic of this Forest, consider visiting mid-week when it is less crowded.
‘Upper Yarra Shire’, Victorian Places, 2014, accessed on 24/10/2021
Brian Carroll, 'The Upper Yarra'- an illustrated history, Yarra Junction, 1988
Brian Carroll, The Upper Yarra, an illustrated history, Yarra Junction, 1988