Seventeen kilometres east of Melbourne, the residential suburb of Blackburn developed round the Blackburn Hotel, which opened in 1861 to cash in on the flow of travellers to the mountain resort of Healesville and the Gippsland goldfields.
Development was underpinned by the opening of a post office in 1876 and the coming of the railway in 1882, which encouraged sub-division. The most innovative of the sub-dividers was Freehold Investment and Banking which bought out 30 small farms and set about designing a model township in a triangular estate south of the railway station.
The company, in fact, is credited with funding and building the public hall and damming Blackburn Creek to form a recreational and ornamental lake which is now a sanctuary for waterfowl.
Blackburn is part of the City of Whitehorse which regards itself as the gateway to Melbourne's eastern suburbs. The predominantly residential municipality extends over 44.3sqkm and is home to a population of 143,000.