Keysborough 3173

Keysborough is 27 km. south-east of Melbourne, south of Noble Park. It is a mixture of residential and agricultural, the latter being in south Keysborough where farmlands were formed by the draining of the Carrum Swamp.

In the late 1850s Summer grazing land was needed for beef production, and the Swamp and its margins were good for that purpose. George Keys, who had farmed in the area since about 1844, and two of his sons bought allotments in the area, and by 1859 land north of the Carrum Swamp was known as Keysborough. The Keys family helped to open a Wesleyan church there in 1861. A State primary school was opened in 1869.

The southern part of Keysborough shares the former Carrum Swamp with Bangholme. As the swamp was drained between 1878 and the 1920s farms were created, and the many of the owners belonged to only a few families, creating a close-knit community. In 1927 Keysborough was described as occupying two square miles with thirty-six farms, engaged in dairying, pastoral and agricultural pursuits. The farming community continued relatively unchanged, running patriotic entertainments during the second world war. Market gardens grew wartime vegetables for a cannery at neighbouring Dingley.

Shortly after the war a public hall and reserve were established in Cheltenham Road, fulfilling a long-cherished wish for a community meeting place in addition to the Church and school, which were further south and were isolated. The centenary of Methodist services in the district was commemorated in 1953, with nearly fifty Keys descendants attending. The rural gentry added a bowling club in 1961, but soon some farm holdings were subdivided. Market gardens were not so profitable on the sandy soil as transport to Melbourne became cheaper. Soon afterwards Haileybury College, Hampton, established a second campus in anticipation of its coming school catchment area.

In 1973 there were about 250 families and other addressees in Keysborough. The suburbanisation of Keysborough North during the late 1970s and 1980s was accompanied by the opening of three primary schools, two secondary colleges, a Catholic school and the Parkmore drive-in shopping centre (1973), which had grown to sub-regional status by the 1990s. There are several parks and reserves, including the Ron Hetherington Australian flora reserve, and the Keysborough Golf Club borders the remaining farm areas in the south. There are no railway services, but local bus services and the proposed Dingley Freeway pass through the area.

Keysborough's census populations during its rural period were 165 (1911) and 345 (1947).


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