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(3134, 23 km E, Maroondah City)

Now a large outer-eastern commercial centre straddling the Maroondah Highway, in its natural state the Ringwood area was undulating and thickly timbered. The first squatting runs were taken up in the 1840s, and timber-cutters came to the area in the next decade. In the 1850s a timber inn, known for a while as the Old Gippsland Road, was built by the rough track that led towards Lilydale. The Parish of Ringwood, surveyed and named in 1857, is thought to have been named after Ringwood at the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, England. According to some sources, an earlier name for the district was Ballyduffy.

In the 1860s the parish was under the control of the Berwick Roads District, but became part of the Shire of Upper Yarra (later Lillydale in 1871.) By this time selectors had begun to take up blocks in the district, but a more dramatic spur to development was the discovery of antimony-bearing ore at Ringwood East in 1869. A small but thriving community developed in the 1870s to serve companies operating mines prior to 1896. By the 1880s Ringwood was described as a 'scattered hamlet', with one community based around the mines and another around a handful of commercial buildings on the main road. A number of brick kilns took advantage of a local seam of clay. When the Camberwell-Lilydale railway opened in 1882, sidings for the transportation of bricks were built at Ringwood, although the station was not built until 1889. Many of the brickworks closed during the 1890s, but by this time fruit-growing (particularly berries) had developed as a major local industry, with Ringwood serving as a centre for orchardists spread across a wide hinterland, as well as a stopping point for travellers en route to Lilydale and Healesville. In 1896 local orchardists formed the Ringwood and District Horticultural Society, which held annual shows until 1938. A cool store, built with government assistance by the society in 1911, was used by a co-operative of growers until 1960, when, suburban development having enveloped the surrounding orchards, the society was wound up and the cool store closed.

Severed from Lillydale to become a borough in the 1920s, Ringwood began to exhibit the characteristics of a satellite town. A major train and road junction, with a clock tower built as a war memorial at its centre, the town took on a bustling air. After World War II cheap land attracted larger numbers of home-builders, with the population growing most rapidly between 1950 and 1970. In 1946, in an attempt to keep ahead of development, Ringwood Council proposed progressive city planning controls that would give it the power to develop zones of activity within a dedicated green belt. Local opposition obstructed the scheme, but in 1960, the year that Ringwood became a city, the council was allowed to freeze development on 16 acres (4 ha) around the main shopping centre to allow the creation of civic and commercial facilities. Eastland shopping centre was built in 1967 and expanded again in the 1990s. Designated as a 'District Centre' in the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Planning Scheme, Ringwood offered decentralised commercial, retail, office and cultural facilities to the residents of the surrounding Lilydale corridor. In the 1990s the Ringwood bypass was constructed to remove traffic from the commercial heart of Ringwood along the Maroondah Highway. At the same time, a private company planned the construction of Melbourne's largest office park, confirming Ringwood's position as one of the most important office locations outside of the Central Business District. In 1995 the City of Ringwood was absorbed into the new Maroondah City.

Jill Barnard

Anderson, Hugh, Ringwood: place of many eagles, Mullaya, Melbourne, 1974. Details
Pullin, Ellie V., 25 years of paper: Ringwood Historical Research Group 1958-1983, Ringwood Historical Research Group, Melbourne, 1983. Details