Glen Iris is one of the few Melbourne suburbs where the first settlement did not cluster round a hotel.
Unlike the neighbouring suburbs of Camberwell, Hartwell and Box Hill where roadside inns formed the nucleus of the first community, early Glen Iris consisted exclusively of farms developed on the hillsides overlooking Gardiners Creek Valley. The first communal building was a Methodist Church.
That may partially explain why Glen Iris has developed into one of the Garden City’s more select suburbs. As part of the inner Melbourne municipality of Stonnington, Glen Iris basks in the glory of such world-class shopping strips as Chapel Street, Toorak Road, High Street, Glenferrie Road and Chadstone, Victoria's 'premier regional shopping centre'.
The municipality takes its name from Stonnington House, a grand home built in 1890 for John Wagner, a founding partner in Cobb & Co. On Glenferrie Road in Malvern, Stonnington House has been home to seven Victorian Governors and currently hosts the Toorak campus of Deakin University.