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(3162, 9 km SE, Glen Eira City)

Caulfield (located between Glen Eira and Glen Huntly roads), Caulfield North and Caulfield South (bounded by Glen Huntly, Kooyong, North and Booran roads) are mainly residential suburbs with distinct multicultural populations.

Proclaimed a Road District in 1857, a shire in 1871 and a city in 1913, Caulfield encompassed Carnegie, Elsternwick, Gardenvale, Glen Huntly, Ormond and Murrumbeena but was itself absorbed into the new Glen Eira City in 1995. Mystery surrounds the origin of the name. Although the area is thought to have been named after John Caulfield, a pioneer of Melbourne, who helped found the School of Fine Arts and Mechanics Institute (now the Melbourne Athenaeum) in Collins Street in 1839, he had no direct connection to the Caulfield district.

Early European settlers found in the district a source of timber and a resting place for cattle en route from Gippsland to Melbourne. A number of natural springs and swamps were an attraction to cattlemen using an old stock route that was gradually replaced by Dandenong Road. As a market gardening district, Caulfield had attracted a share of Chinese vegetable-growers in the 19th century. In some districts, such as Murrumbeena, Scottish migrants employed by Scottish farmers such as William Lyall formed a large proportion of the population in the mid-19th century.

When the district was surveyed and offered for sale in the 1850s, areas such as Paddy's Swamp and Leman's Swamp were set aside as public reserves and later became municipal parks. In addition, a large recreation reserve later became the Caulfield racecourse and East Caulfield Reserve. The first Caulfield Township was proclaimed on land that was later added to the racecourse reserve. Another early settlement, Camden Town, developed around the corner of Glen Huntly and Hawthorn roads. Here speculator Josiah Morris Holloway purchased land and subdivided a village, which became the district's main service centre. Large parcels of land, however, were snatched up by pastoralists wishing to continue using Caulfield for depasturing market-bound stock. In the 1860s a number of them built substantial houses, beginning a wave of mansion-building that continued until the 1890s depression and earned Caulfield the reputation of a 'pleasant, healthy and purely residential district'. Most of the mansions were located around the west and north of the district, while the south and east of Caulfield were mainly devoted to market gardens. The Labassa mansion is now a flagship National Trust property.

The railway line through Caulfield opened in 1879, encouraging the development of housing estates in its vicinity. Elsternwick station on the Brighton line had been opened in 1859 and a third railway line, via Caulfield to Frankston, was opened in 1881.

In the early years of the 20th century many of Caulfield's larger homes were subdivided into new housing estates or converted to other uses. Caulfield's population grew most rapidly in the period between 1913 and 1920. As suburban estates proliferated, Caulfield Council imposed brick-only restrictions on some areas of the city. By 1920 minimum allotment sizes and frontages were also imposed on houses, flats and shops. During World War I the Caulfield mansion Glen Eira was converted into the General Military Hospital No. 11, generally known as Caulfield Military Hospital. After the war it remained as a repatriation hospital and permanent home for many disabled soldiers, depicted by George Johnston, whose mother worked at the hospital, in My brother Jack. After World War II, the hospital reverted to the civilian Caulfield General Medical Centre. Another Caulfield institution, Caulfield Technical School, opened as Caulfield Trades School in 1922. Serving a wide, still predominantly rural area, the Trades School aimed to teach skills such as blacksmithing, to returned servicemen and boys. It later became Caulfield Technical College, then Chisholm Institute before becoming the Caulfield campus of Monash University.

In the 20th century Caulfield attracted a significant Jewish population spilling over from neighbouring St Kilda and bringing immigrants from Poland, Israel, Germany and the former Soviet Union. By the 1980s about a third of Victoria's Jews lived in the municipality, and within its borders were Jewish synagogues, cake shops, cultural centres and seven Jewish schools. By the start of the 21st century Caulfield also had an ageing population significantly over the metropolitan average, and was the location of many aged care facilities.

Jill Barnard

Murray, Peter R., and John C. Wells, From sand, swamp and heath: A history of Caulfield, J&D Burrows for City of Caulfield, 1980, Melbourne, 1980. Details