Toolangi is the indigenous word for ‘tall trees’, referencing the high mountain ash eucalypts predominant in the area. Records from the time of European settlement date back to the 1860’s, when paling splitters and timber cutters lived in camps deep in the bush. They split the mountain ash, and found the messmate timber made excellent building material. Paling loads were taken by bullock wagon to Yarra Glen, via the Old Dixons Creek/Toolangi Road often “knee deep in mud” in places.

The first land selection occurred in the 1880’s, when Crown grants were made on a 40 year lease. As a result, people settled and the township grew, with the arrival of a pub, school, post office, community hall, church, and railway line extension to Yarra Glen, arrival of electricity, and the Melba Highway opening etc.

This progression paved the way for the Potato Research Station and the Strawberry Certification Scheme. Timber remains a valuable industry in Toolangi, fortunately not in logging alone, but also among the eco-adventurers and tourists who love to ride, walk and drive among the beautiful tall trees and forests.

Toolangi Timeline

Pre-recorded history The Taungurong and Wurundjeri peoples co-exist on the lands now known as Toolangi and Castella
1860’s Paling splitters move into area
1880’s First land selections taken up
1888 Lilydale to Yarra Glen railway
1889 Lilydale to Healesville railway
1895 Queens Head Inn opened. Later rebuilt as Toolangi House
1895 Toolangi School opened
1900 Toolangi Post Office opened, loose-bag mail from Yarra Glen prior to this
1901 Possible beginning of church services
1908C J Dennis settles in Toolangi
1910 Probable date of church building on Church of England land
1912 Significant bushfires
1913 Toolangi House becomes licensed hotel
1919 Magnetic Observatory moved from Melbourne Botanical Gardens
1919 First recorded telephone line, a party line to Alex Cameron’s hotel
1921 First forest officer – Charles Demby
1921-27School teacher shared by Toolangi and Granton Mill schools
1924 Chum Creek Road construction began
1925 Toolangi becomes part of Healesville Shire
1926 Severe bushfires
1933 First cricket premiership
1934 Myers Creek Road extended from foot of Mt St Leonard to Toolangi
1936Closure of Granton Mill
1938 Death of C J Dennis

1939 Disastrous bushfires
1945 Potato Research Station began
Late 1940’s Infant Welfare Centre
1949 Mount St Leonard tower replaced cabin on a tree
1952 One and only season of Toolangi football team
1953 Rural Fire Brigade established
1954 C J Dennis Memorial Hall
1960 Certified Strawberry Scheme commenced
1962 Establishment of Blue Mount Seismic Observatory
1963 Arrival of electricity in Toolangi, previously electrified from Healesville as far as potato Research Station and Seismic Observatory
1965 C J Dennis “Arden” house destroyed by fire
1960’s Opening of Melba Highway
1971 Automatic telephone Exchange
1975 Toolangi House (hotel) destroyed by fire
1987 Seismic Observatory switched to automatic
1988 Telstra replacement tower on Mt St Leonard
1990 Fire shelter built at the school
1994 Forest Discovery Centre constructed
1994 Toolangi becomes part of Murrindindi Shire
1995 Victorian Strawberry Industry Certification Authority established
1998 Plant Protection District proclaimed
2000 New Fire Station opened
2008 Sugarloaf Pipeline commenced
2009 February 7 Devastating bushfires