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Melbourne, Victoria
Population 12,944 (2011)[1]
Postcode(s) 3103
Area 4.5 km2[2]
Location 10 km from Melbourne
LGA(s) Boroondara
LGA ward Cotham, Maranoa, Maling
State electorate(s)
Federal Division(s) Kooyong
Suburbs around Balwyn:
Kew East Balwyn North Mont Albert North
Kew Balwyn Mont Albert North
Deepdene Canterbury Mont Albert

Balwyn is a suburb 10 kilometres east of Melbourne located in the northern part of Boroondara.


The name 'Balwyn' is derived from the name of an estate near the south-west corner of present-day Balwyn and Whitehorse Roads. It was named by its owner, Andrew Murray, in 1858. The name combined the Gaelic bal and the Saxon wyn to create Balwyn meaning 'home of the vine'.[3]


Main article: History of Balwyn

The suburb began as a rural locality of grazing lands for land squatters with cattle and other animals.[4] In 1841 it formed part of Elgar's Special Survey which subdivided much of Boroondara into smaller lots and created more permanent farms and associated agricultural infrastructure. The village and commercial centre began to form in the 1860s when Balwyn Primary School and a number of churches were established.[3]

As the area developed through the turn of the century, residential lots began to expand into surrounding areas. This development accelerated rapidly post-World War II when the neighbouring suburb of Balwyn North also experienced rapid growth. Balwyn, through is more established nature, retained much of its original building stock of Federation and Inter-War-style dwellings.[5]

More recently, since the 1990s, Balwyn has been experiencing a property boom. Median house prices in the area are some of the highest in Melbourne and continue to climb. Factors associated with this include its historically wealthy population, plentiful greenery and proximity to government and private schools in the area. The associated construction of townhouses and large 'McMansion' dwellings has caused significant controversy in the area as older housing stock is demolished or altered.[6][7]


Located in Melbourne's east, Balwyn typically features Silurian siltsoil.[8]. This attribute accounts for the high proportion of fruit agriculture that occurred early in Boroondara's history, especially in the north-eastern reaches. Some former creekbeds, such as W Creek and Glass Creek, provide more alluvial soil in certain areas.

The topography of Balwyn is hilly, generally sloping upwards from west to east up to its highest point at Beckett Park. Consistent with the planning of roads at the time of European settlement, many main roads, such as Whitehorse and Mont Albert Roads follow the ridgelines of hills. Fintona Girls' School also sits on top of a high point in the suburb.[9]






Balwyn has a higher mode share of public transport than state average for Victoria, with a 17.3 percent mode share. Driving a car remains the most common mode of transport by a significant margin at 56.4 percent, five percent less than the average for the rest of the state. Only 0.9 percent of residents use a bicycle to travel to their place of work or education and 2.1 percent walked only.[10][11]




The Outer Circle Trail runs to the west of the suburb. A number of minor local paths also exist, such as the small linear parks branching north off Gordon Street. Balwyn Road also has bicycle lanes connecting Balwyn to Balwyn North and south to Canterbury Railway Station.


Major thoroughfares are predominantly east-west routes to service citybound traffic. Whitehorse Road is the main road, carrying traffic through to the Maroondah Highway to the east. Balwyn Road serves as the main north-south road.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Balwyn (State Suburb). 28 March 2013., accessed: 3 September 2016
  2. About the profile areas: Balwyn., accessed: 3 September 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 eMelbourne. Balwyn - Place. July 2008. School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne.
  4. City of Boroondara. UPC2 Property specific heritage assessments - Preliminary consultation outcomes. 10 November 2016., accessed: 2 February 2017
  5. City of Boroondara. Balwyn and Balwyn North Heritage Study. July 2013., accessed: 2 February 2017
  6. Walker, T. Balwyn High School in Melbourne sparks property boom as parents fight to get in. 24 February 2016. Domain., accessed: 2 February 2017 (archived from the original)
  7. Hughes, Duncan. A record 800 'historic' houses being demolished every week in Australia. 5 May 2016. Australian Financial Review., accessed: 2 February 2017 (archived from the original)
  8. Geological Survey of Victoria. Know Thy Soils - Melbourne and Suburbs, accessed: 3 February 2017
  9. OpenStreetMap. OpenTopoMap. 2017., accessed: 3 February 2017
  10. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2011 Census QuickStats: Balwyn. 28 March 2013. Canberra: ABS., accessed: 3 February 2017
  11. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Balwyn - method of travel to work. 28 March 2013., accessed: 3 February 2017