Donnybrook 3064

Donnybrook is a rural area with a small residential community on the Merri Creek, 33 km. north of Melbourne. There have been two places called Donnybrook. The present one is the second, created when the railway line, three kilometres east of the Hume Highway, was opened in 1872. It took its named form the first Donnybrook, which was on the Hume Highway, and which is now called Kalkallo.

Both places are in the Parish of Kalkallo, which was the name of an estate of W.J.T. ("Big") Clarke, the name thought to be Aboriginal for bug trees or tomahawk.

Before either name was given, the Donnybrook on the Hume Highway was known as Rocky Water Holes. It was first settled in 1840 and an inn was built in 1841. A Presbyterian church was opened in 1848, which was the site of the district's second school in 1855. The name was changed to Donnybrook in 1853, probably after the Donnybrook Parish in Dublin. Being positioned on the main Sydney road, Donnybrook acquired hotels (one having stabling for 150 horses), slaughter houses, a flour mill and a tannery.

The area is situated on basalt plains, providing durable building material but experiencing extremes of heat and cold during unpleasant seasonal conditions.

When the railway line was opened in 1872 the nearby station and new village were named Donnybrook and two years later the original Donnybrook was named Kalkallo. Its trade and activity declined as traffic transferred to the railway.

The area was used for dairying until the second world war after which ordinary grazing took over. There is a mineral spring at Donnybrook with picnic and cabin facilities.

The area's bluestone heritage is visible in St. John's Presbyterian church (1861) and in a bridge (1876) over the Merri Creek between Kalkallo and Donnybrook. Both are on the Register of the National Estate.

In the 1840s the areas population was about 400. Census populations for Kalkallo and Donnybrook have been 136 (1911) and 224 (1954).

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