Millgrove is a lovely little township nestled at the foot of the ranges on the banks of the Yarra. Although the township has had several long standing timber mills, which could have inspired its name, it is more likely to have come from an early settler, John Kennedy, who named his property 'Millgrove' after his home town in Tipperary, Ireland. Kennedy’s property, north of the Yarra River which flows through Millgrove, was on undulating river land, in contrast to the hilly forest south of the town.
When the Lilydale to Warburton railway line was opened in 1901 the settlements’ populations increased, as both farm produce and sawn timber were more readily transported to metropolitan markets.
Millgrove’s mills received sawlogs from the Mount Donna Buang slopes north of Warburton. Millgrove remained a timber milling and agricultural town, with occasional tourism and fishing, until the 1960s to 1970s. Despite the closure of the railway in 1965, motor car transport placed Millgrove within acceptable commuting distance of larger towns. Its population grew sixfold during 1961-91.
As the Highway winds through Millgrove you will notice large eucalypts beside the road: these represent the Avenue of Honour dedicated to those who served in the Great War. After one of the Avenue of Honour trees fell in a storm in 2016, it was decided to create a new Avenue of Honour to remember the five Millgrove men who fell in the Great War. Six new trees have been planted along the rail trail with signage showing the History of the Avenue of Honour and names of those soldiers who died.
‘Millgrove’, Victorian Places, 2014, accessed on 6/3/2023
Val Smith, Millgrove: a pictorial history, Wesburn, 2005
‘Hard times in the valley of dreams’, The Age, 21 March 1998