Photo by Leila Myllymaeki-Hay
In 1844-45 Robert Hoddle, Senior Surveyor for what was then N.S.W. and responsible for the plan of Melbourne City Streets, carried out a survey of the Yarra River from its lower reaches to its source. In December of 1844 he camped on the creek named after him and not far from this camp he built a bridge to take his dray across the Hoddles Creek.
In 1865, Hoddles Creek was known as Hoddles Creek Falls. It was then a postal village in the Upper Yarra for the alluvial gold mining industry. The surrounding country was mountainous and scrubby, and covered with heavy timber. The flatlands were particularly swampy in the winter. The only communication with Lilydale and Warburton was by pack and saddle horse, or dray passing along the Hoddles Creek (Gembrook) Road.
In 1872 the first of several schools opened and during the ensuing years they were run in conjunction with the school at Warburton. In 1916, the Hoddles Creek Primary School was founded to replace other local schools.
Timber cutting and milling were significant industries in the 1910s and 1920s. With the clearing of the landscape as a result of felling the trees it was inevitable that farming became a prospective and profitable source of income. The rich soil and gentle sloping hills gave way to agricultural crops with orchards, vineyards, berries, vegetables and cut flowers and this industry has continued until the present day.
Many names of pioneer families are honoured in the district, some by street names such as Willis, Staves, Grover, Thonemann, Eacott, Teese, Parkinson and Worlley and others by creeks like McCraes and Hansens. Although Sir Harold Massey was perhaps Hoddles Creek’s most famous resident, who attended the school from 1913 and went on to become an acclaimed scientist in England. On a return visit to the school in 1937 he planted a pine tree that stands tall and proud today in his honour.
The WHYLD Community Group is working to form a connected community for this part of the valley. WHYLD is an acronym for the towns of Woori Yallock, Hoddles Creek, Yellingbo, Launching Place and Don Valley.
‘Hoddles Creek’, Victorian Places, 2014, accessed on 24/10/2021
“The Upper Yarra: An Illustrated History” by Brian Carroll 1988
D. Burville, Hoddles Creek: the school and district, the author, 1975