Launching Place 3139Launching Place, a rural township with a substantial residential area, is on the route between Lilydale and Warburton. It is situated on the Yarra River, near where the river is entered by the Little Yarra River.
When the Woods Point and other Gippsland gold fields were discovered a track was cut from Melbourne through the vicinity of Launching Place. Supplies were brought in by the track as far as Launching Place, and were then transported further upstream on flat bottomed boats, which were launched at that location. (More commonly, though, goods were transported along pack tracks.)
During the 1860s the hamlet was also known as Ewart's after David Ewart's Home Hotel. Despite the presence of the hotel, two nearby settlements grew somewhat at the expense of Launching Place. Don Valley, to the north, was the site of a primary school in 1884, which closed in 1894 when a school was opened in Launching Place's easterly neighbour, Yarra Junction, two kilometres to the east.
Launching Place gained a railway station when the line between Lilydale and Warburton was opened (1901), but its school did not come until 1926. The railway made Launching Place accessible for tourists for the forest scenery and fishing, and a boarding house provided accommodation additional to the Home Hotel's. Local industries included saw mills, dairying and fruit-growing.
The original village centre is near the hotel, where the Yarra River flows close to the main road and the Don Valley Road. The railway station and train line (1901-65) were also nearby. Launching Place's residential area is on the Melbourne side of the village centre, and began during the late 1970s. It contains the school, two reserves and a few corner stores.
North of Launching place is Don Valley, formed by two spurs from the northern ranges. Its heavily timbered slopes were opened up for farming around the turn of the century, but the area closer to the flatter ground where the Don River meets the Yarra River proved to be better for settlement. About one and a half kilometres north of Launching Place is Haining Farm, on mainly river flat country. It has a dairy herd and is run for community groups and school children to give them experience of a working farm.
In 1987 the median house price in Launching Place was $67,000 and in 1996 it was $107,000, an indication of larger houses being built as much as of rising prices.
Launching Place's census populations have been 51 (1901), 231 (1911), 497 (1961), 1,004 (1981) and 1,518 (1991).
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