The City of Whittlesea’s rural north includes the suburbs of Donnybrook, Eden Park, Humevale and Woodstock, the northern part of Wollert, the non-urban part of Whittlesea, the City of Whittlesea parts of Beveridge and Kinglake West, and most of the City of Whittlesea part of Yan Yean.
In 1854, Ewen and Janet Robertson purchased 400 hectares of land north west of Whittlesea where they built a homestead called Breadalbane. In 1888 the land was subdivided and sold as the Eden Park Estate. Promotional material at the time described it as a way to escape the city.
At its peak Eden Park had a school (1904-1942), a post office (1905-1971), and even a police station site. Despite the beautiful setting, few blocks sold and the land was prone to soil erosion. Orchards and grazing provided limited income, and many settlers left. Because of the fragility of the soil and the need to minimise development, many sites have been consolidated. A handful of older houses from the original settlement and the unused road reservations provide an important reminder of its past.
The rural north comprises the rural balance of the City of Whittlesea, including some rural-residential areas.
The non-urban areas are characterised by forest, cattle grazing, farming and poultry, horse and dog breeding.
Population density and growth
The 2011 population for the rural north was 3,317, with a population density of 0.10 persons per hectare.
The 2016 population forecast for the rural north is 3,248, and is forecast to grow to 3,808 by 2036.
The number of dwellings in the rural north is forecast to grow from 1,123 in 2011 to 1,276 in 2026, with the average household size falling from 2.96 to 2.92 by 2026.
The rural north had a lower proportion of pre-schoolers and a higher proportion of persons at post retirement age than the City of Whittlesea in 2011.
There were 26 people over the age of 85 living in the rural north in 2011, with largest age group being 50 to 54 year olds.
In the rural north, 15 per cent of people spoke a language other than English at home in 2011.
In 2011, 11 per cent of people in the rural north came from countries where English was not their first language.
The 3 largest ancestries in the rural north in 2011 were Australian, English and Italian.
1,718 people living in the rural north in 2011 were employed, of which 60 per cent worked full-time and 36 per cent part-time.
More rural north residents worked in construction than any other industry in 2011. There were more technicians and trades workers in the rural north in 2011 than any other occupation.
In the rural north 17 per cent of the population reported doing some form of voluntary work in 2011, which is higher than the City of Whittlesea average of 9.7 per cent.
Families and households
In the rural north, 45 per cent of households were made up of couples with children in 2011.
In the rural north, 83 per cent of households were purchasing or fully owned their home, 11.2 per cent were renting privately, and 0 per cent were in social housing in 2011.
Analysis of car ownership in 2011, indicates 81 per cent of households in the rural north had access to 2 or more motor vehicles, compared to 61 per cent in the City of Whittlesea.
Green Wedge Management Plan
The Green Wedge Management Plan identifies a vision and recommends actions for the sustainable use of Whittlesea’s rural land.
Major surrounding features
- Yan Yean Reservoir Park
Managed by Melbourne Water. The Reservoir supplies the northern and central suburbs of Melbourne.
- Toorourrong Reservoir Park (Whittlesea)
Managed by Parks Victoria. Completely destroyed during the 2009 bushfires, the Victorian Government spent $5.1 million rebuilding the park which re-opened to the public in late 2015 and is also home to the Whittlesea Bushfire Memorial.
- Kinglake National Park
Has 23,210 hectares of tall forests, fern gullies and rolling hills, an extensive network of walking tracks and other facilities, as well as vantage points offering scenic views. It protects almost 600 native plant
species, over 40 native mammal and 90 native bird species.
- Growling Frog Golf Course (Yan Yean)
The course has first class facilities including a restaurant and café, dedicated driving range, putting green, chipping green, practice bunker and more. The creation of a dedicated recycled water supply has ensured there will be plenty of water to keep the course maintained at the highest standard throughout the year.
- Whittlesea Golf Club
Situated in the Humevale Valley, houses a challenging 18-hole layout for golfers of all standards.
- T H Hurrey Recreation Reserve (Yan Yean)
Facilities at this 4-hectare park include 4 tennis courts (asphalt), a pavilion and changerooms,
barbecues, picnic facilities, and a public toilet.
- Tuttle Recreation Reserve (Wollert)
Facilities at this 2.16 hectare park include 2 public access tennis courts (synthetic grass), a pavilion and clubrooms, picnic facilities, barbecues and public toilets.