Ashburton 3147Ashburton is a mostly postwar residential suburb located 11 km. south east of Melbourne. The locality's name arose when the station on the Outer Circle railway line (1890} was named Ashburton, at the suggestion of a former local councillor, E. Dillon who had lived in Ashburton Terrace, Cork, Ireland.
An unrealised objective of the railway line had been to stimulate residential development, but the locality was best known for the Ashburton forest, overlooking Gardiners Creek, as a site for picnics.
The Outer Circle railway, originally from Oakleigh to Melbourne via Fairfield, was abbreviated to spur lines from Camberwell within a few years, northwards to Deepdene and southwards to Ashburton, and no other fixed rail transport was provided for Ashburton. The residential development of Ashburton awaited Melbourne's postwar metropolitan expansion and increased car ownership.
In the 1920s Ashburton had a few shops, orchards and market gardens, supporting sufficient population for a primary school to be opened in 1928. In 1948 the railway line was extended by one station to Alamein, a postwar suburb with almost entirely wartime street names such as Victory. Boulevard, Benghazi Avenue and Tobruk Road Much of the housing was built by the Housing Commission.
Ashburton has an active strip shopping centre along High Street near the railway station. Nearby is a large catholic church. St. Michael's. A recreation reserve has modern indoor and outdoor swimming pools and associated facilities Along Gardiners Creek is the Malvern Valley golf course.
The small shopping centre in Victory Boulevard, Alamein, was reduced to one convenience store by I997, Opposite the shops the Alamein primary school (1950) had been closed, and the land given to housing. The new houses are in colonial, federation and modern two-storey styles, offering a contrasting opulence to the functional postwar Commission housing.
In 1987 the median house price in Ashburton was 30% above the median for metropolitan Melbourne and in 1996 it was 36% above the metropolitan median.
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