Yarra Glen Historical Society
  Yarra Glen and District Historical Society Inc
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The district was first settled in 1837 by the Ryrie brothers, who grazed cattle on the rich Yarra River flats at what is still known today as Chateau Yering.  In 1838, they planted grapes, beginning an industry that brought fame to the Yarra Valley in the latter part of the 1800s . Under the direction of the de Castella and de Pury families, local wines were exported to British and European markets and won awards around the world.

During the early 1860s, traders began to establish across the river at Yarra Flats (as it was then known) to cater for local settlers and the many gold prospectors who travelled the "Yarra Track" through Eltham and Christmas Hills then on to the Woods Point goldfields. The final approach to the town from the west was down a notoriously steep spur known as "Breakneck", leading into King Street. this early route from Eltham probably had greater influence on the development of Yarra Glen than did the route via Lilydale.

Also at this time, many pioneer families took up farms or started businesses, the young town being centered on the rise around Symonds Street - Bell Street junction.

The town "came of age" in 1888 when the railway line to Yarra Flats was completed and local business began to gravitate towards the railhead, nearer the river. Rail access increased the town's profile in the Yarra Valley and, in 1889, the 'more desirable' name of 'Yarra Glen' was adopted. A diverse growth of business followed, including various traders, guesthouses and hotels. More transient enterprises included two dairy processing factories and, later, a peg factory. Yarra Glen also became a centre for timber from nearby Steels Creek, Toolangi and Kinglake. Numerous horse-teams and bullock-teams worked out of the town in this industry.

Of particular note in the town's history is the flood of 1934. Following torrential rains from 29 November, together with a king tide which obstructed the flow of the Yarra River into Port Phillip Bay, a record inundation level on 1 December saw floodwaters reach the site of the current Yarra Glen post office in Bell Street.

Today, Yarra Glen is a busy centre for vineyards and small rural holdings but remains a favoured tourist destination due to its scenic and enviromental assets.



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