The following are extracts from “Notting Hill memories of a village” by Daniel Muenzner and the Notting Hill History Group. Published by the Notting Hill Community Association with the assistance from a grant from the Victorian State Archives 2009.
The Origins of Notting Hill
Memory begins where it ends – With the first recollections. In the 1960s the first residents arrived on the newly built Westerfield Estate. But the history of this locality is much longer, although there is no recollection of the original Aboriginal inhabitants of this place.
The land was Europeanised and used as farmland for more than 100 years when the first white residents moved in. We know that Thomas Gee Wilkinson settled on this land in 1857 and his connection with Notting Hill district in London was the reason why the name Notting Hill was chosen for this area. His property was at the site of the current Notting Hill Hotel known to the locals as ‘The Nott’.
The settlement was placed west of today’s Blackburn Road. On this side were the Notting Hill Primary School, the Shire of Mulgrave and the Notting Hill Hotel. The current neighbourhood of Notting Hill was still farmland or wasteland at this time.
Landscape and Environment
Everyone remembers the role rural times of Notting Hill when they arrived. Despite the barren land without trees, Notting Hill is remembered as a village. The beautiful village atmosphere is also claimed today. On the one hand the locality is now full of green trees. On the other hand, the Monash Freeway was built on the edge of Notting Hill in the 1980s. The noise level has increased. But the image of a village gives Notting Hill a stable narrative.
When the Westerfield Estate was developed in the 1960s it offered affordable housing for everyone. Later, expectations and needs changed, and some residents moved into bigger houses. Those who have stayed do not regret the decision. Because “in the end there was nowhere as nice to live” as the village of Notting Hill.
Community is something all the residents I interviewed connected with their first years of the estate. Each generation seems to remember their community effort: The kindergarten in the 1960s, the primary school in the 1970s and the struggles to keep the name Notting Hill in the 1980s and 1990s. The village stood jointly against the trend of losing its name.
Wilson’s Bakery in 1888- A portrait of the male pioneer society.
The Westerfield Estate in 1963.
Notting Hill in 1963- Looking west towards Monash University and the half-built Ming Wing
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