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Knox Shire Hall

History of Knox

On 16 November 1963, the original municipality of Knox was established with an area of 110 square kilometres and a population of 24,000 people.

The area was originally part of the Shire of Ferntree Gully, which had been formed in 1889. As the population grew, Sir George Hodges Knox (1885-1960), a veteran of WW1 conflicts in Gallipoli and France and speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, observed a shift in the district that worried him. The needs of the increasingly urbanised town centres of Knox conflicted with their mountain dwelling neighbours. This began the push for severance, which as the Knox Severance Association stated ‘will give the people of the Knox area the ability and opportunity to…stand solidly and proudly on their own two feet.’ The City of Knox crest incorporates Sir Knox’s family motto ‘Move and Prosper’.

Knox was proclaimed a City on 4 July 1969, and by then had a population of 50,000 people.

On 15 December 1994, following a review of local government, a new City of Knox was proclaimed. As part of this amalgamation process, sections of Upper Ferntree Gully and Lysterfield became a part of the new City of Knox. Knox comprises 11 suburbs: Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully, Lysterfield, Knoxfield, Rowville, Scoresby, The Basin, Upper Ferntree Gully, Wantirna, and Wantirna South.

Today Knox is home to over 150,000 people, around a quarter of whom were born overseas. We live in approximately 58,000 homes. Find out more about who we are (link to profile id) click here.

Knox is known for its natural beauty, with plentiful parks and bushland, its sport and recreation, with kilometres of bike paths and of course, shopping. There are a total of 14,000 businesses in Knox, including 5,000 home-based businesses.

Find out how to explore more of Knox in Things to Do

Early history of Knox

For hundreds of thousands of years the creeks, hills and plains of the Knox area were cared for by the Wurundjeri and the Bunurong of the Kulin Nation. (More details on the Aboriginal history of the area here).

The first European explorers and settlers of the area followed the songline and ancient trade route of what is now Dandenong Rd (Princess Hwy). Reverend James Clow settled near present day Wellington Road on the Dandenong Creek in August 1838. Clow established a cattle run right up to present day Ferntree Gully. Townships soon thrived in the area, as orchards and flower growing become primary industries, until the creep of the suburbs of Melbourne created the City of Knox we enjoy today.

Did you know?


  • A blacksmith on the corner of Stud and Wellington Rd, petitioned the government for a post office in the area in 1903. He came up with the name ‘Rowville’, after the Row family of Stamford Park.
  • Scoresby was once the brussel sprout capital of Victoria.
  • Many early settlers and artists, poets and writers of the area are buried at Fern Tree Gully Cemetery.
  • For years, Boronia was split in two by the Belgrave railway line. The current intersection, with railway running underneath the road, was opened in 1998.
  • Many streets in Knoxfield are named after the people who lived (and sometimes still live) in them.
  • The Government Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, famed Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, named The Basin in about 1860 during a visit to the Dandenong Ranges because it is located in a "basin" surrounded by hills.
  • The word Wantirna might mean gurgling stream in Woi Wurrung.
  • The ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ Best Bicentennial Project in the metro area was awarded to the Tim Neville Arboretum after it opened in 1988.
  • The brick house at Ambleside Park was built in 1899, reflecting the growing stability of the settlers, in this case the Hansen family. Ambleside Park currently contains the local history museum for the City of Knox. To learn more about Knox’ early history, visit the Knox Historical Society
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