Park Orchards is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 23 km north-east of Melbourne's Central Business District in the local government area of the City of Manningham primarily, with a small portion (the southern side of Williams road) also located in the City of Maroondah.
- Area:9.475 km2
- Elevation:143 m
- Local Government Area:Manningham City Council
Park Orchards is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 23 km north-east of Melbourne's Central Business District in the local government area of the City of Manningham primarily, with a small portion (the southern side of Williams road) also located in the City of Maroondah. At the 2016 Census, Park Orchards, a Green Wedge area, had a population of 3,822 and is listed in the Australian Heritage Database.
Prior to European colonisation, the Wurundjeri people cared for the land.
In 1902, prominent Victorian orchardist, Tom Petty], purchased 559 acres (226 ha) of land north of the Mitcham district and, in an ambitious project, converted it to 80 orchard blocks.In 1925, South Melbourne timber merchants, Australias Sharp and John Taylor, purchased Petty's land and launched the Park Orchards Country Club Estate. They had the subdivisions designed by Saxil Tuxen and Miller. Tuxen had previously worked with Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin on the Ranelagh Estate in Mt Eliza, which Sharp and Taylor had owned. Park Orchards was designed around a similar "Country Club" development, that had become popular during the 1920s in the USA. The circular street layout is clearly inspired by the Mahony-Griffin style.The Clubhouse, named "The Chalet" (c.1929), was built in the Spanish Mission style, featuring a blackwood panelled interior, with a ballroom and billiard rooms. The Estate failed to attracts buyers during the 1930s Depression, so Sharp and Taylor cleared much of the land and planted plant pine trees (many which still remain) to provide timber for their business.In 1944, during World War II, the Australian Army requisitioned The Chalet and the football ground, and set up The School For Eastern Interpreters for Z Special Unit, as well as a training facility for the Australian Special Wireless Group. 400 personnel were stationed there, living in tents on the football ground. The army constructed the first water mains and connected the estate to the electrical grid.
In late 1946, Sharp & Taylor sold the Estate at auction to Edments Ltd, owners of a department store in Melbourne, who reportedly planned to develop part of it into a holiday resort for their staff. They had a 9-hole golf course and cricket ground constructed in the 1950s.
By the late 1950s, the post-war migration boom saw an increase in properties being developed, and most of the blocks had been sold by 1960. The Park Orchards Post Office opened on 1 November 1959, the Primary School opened on 14 March 1961. The final blocks sold in the early 1990s.
In 1965, The Chalet was the location of the first Catholic mass in Park Orchards. From the 1970s, the building was used as restaurant and reception centre, and hosted the wedding of Mick Gatto in 1978. In 1994, the exterior was heritage-listed by the local council.After The Chalet was sold in 2007, the new owners shut it down and submitted an application to build an aged care facility, which was rejected by the local council. In 2009, the community failed in an attempt to raise $1.5m to purchase the property, with the aim of turning it into a community centre. In 2010, VCAT determined, contrary to the local council ruling, that a planning permit should be issued, albeit with a requirement for reticulated sewerage services to be established. Later in 2010, the Park Orchards Ratepayers Association submitted that both The Chalet and the original Estate area be registered as places of significance by the Heritage Council, but the application was rejected as not meeting the minimum criteria. As of 2015, The Chalet remained unused and neglected.
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