WESBURN

Wesburn stretches along several kilometres of the Highway between Yarra Junction and Millgrove, and includes the historic localities of Britannia Creek and Old Warburton. In 1894, after passing the Village Settlement Act two years before, the State Government subdivided 325 hectares of land along the Warburton Road into about 40 farm lots. It was named the Warburton Village Settlement, later West Warburton and finally Wesburn (1925), an abbreviation of the previous name.

The railway line from Lilydale to Warburton opened in 1901, but ran north of the village settlement.  Wesburn is situated on relatively undulating land, with forested ranges immediately eastwards. Upwards of twenty sawmills operated in the Wesburn area since the first one had opened in 1903. 

 

A thriving tourist destination until the 1950s, Wesburn at one stage had twelve named guesthouses plus several others. At its peak, Wesburn’s Main Street had at least twelve shops, plus a blacksmith, two churches and the school.  Both the Baptist church and Wesburn Primary School  have celebrated their centenaries.

Upper Yarra Cemetery has splendid mountain views of Ben Cairn, Mt. Little Joe, Mt. Tugwell and Mt. Bride. This picturesque country cemetery has served the community since 1893. Why not stop in at the cemetery at Wesburn, right on the highway! Stunning surrounds to see and fascinating local history to be learned from the grave stones. The new perimeter walking track offers a scenic, gentle stroll for visitors (you are even allowed to bring your dog on a leash).

Brittania Creek Cave Geological Reserve offers the most adventurous caving opportunities that feature tight squeezes, layered labyrinths that water has carved out over millennia and glow worms that reside in the darkness. Best explored with trained adventure guides!

Wesburn Park, one of the largest open public recreational spaces in the Upper Yarra, has a wealth of historic connections. The Upper Yarra Racing Club held picnic races there between about 1930 and 1963, and it was also used for tennis, basketball and netball. These days the Park is still being used for a multitude of purposes, including Australian football, cricket, school sports days, pony club events and recreation, while the Upper Yarra Incident Control Centre, incorporating the regional headquarters for the CFA and SES – together with an emergency helipad – are located in the western corner.

Yarra Valley ECOSS, a former poultry farm in Old Warburton Road, is a vibrant and innovative Community Environment Park, creating and supporting sustainable living solutions in the Yarra Valley. It offers education, training and cultural events and is the home of the Valley Market that takes place every Friday.

Today you can find an interesting mixture of businesses in Wesburn including some amazing local food businesses. If you are cycling or walking along the former railway line (the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail), get off the trail at Wesburn and follow the footpath to the township for a refreshing drink and snack.

When travelling along the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail, stop at the Avenue of Honour at old Wesburn station platform and pay your respects to the young men from the district who never reached ‘old growth’. The red spotted gum eucalyptus trees will ultimately shade the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail and serve as a reminder of the local boys, and all, who gave their lives in WWI.

 

Source:

‘Wesburn’, Victorian Places, 2014, accessed on 24/10/2021

Further reading:

Jan Miller and Isabell Buckland, Warburton village settlement, the authors, 1987

Val Smith, Wesburn (West Warburton): a pictorial history, the author, 1989

Area profile for Yarra Junction - Wesburn - Millgrove