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Place Snapshot: Whittlesea Township

Originally known as Upper Plenty, it was renamed Whittlesea in 1864 after the town of Whittlesey in England. In 2021, it is estimated 6,122 people live in the Whittlesea Township. By 2036, the population is expected to grow to 7,220.

This place snapshot provides a summary of future development in the Whittlesea Township and surrounding suburbs, for current and future residents, business owners, investors and community groups.

For snapshots of development in other areas, see Place Snapshots: A Guide to Development in Your Area.

Snapshot of Whittlesea Township and surrounds

  1. Whittlesea Community Activity Centre
  2. Walker Reserve
  3. Whittlesea Community House
  4. Whittlesea Showgrounds and Recreation Reserve
  5. Whittlesea Swimming Centre
  6. Whittlesea Skate Park and BMX Dirt Track
  7. Whittlesea Secondary College
    The state government has allocated $4.7 million to upgrade the secondary college facilities. On site there is the Whittlesea Recreation Centre, which includes 2 basketball/netball courts available for community sports use out of school hours.
  8. Church Street, Whittlesea
    In 2015 Whittlesea Township’s main hub and popular shopping strip, Church Street, underwent a $3 million redevelopment with significant upgrades to drainage, footpaths and street furniture and the installation of road crossings for pedestrian safety.
  9. Whittlesea Courthouse Visitor Information Centre
    Built in 1864, it features the single lock-up cell built in 1959. The restored Whittlesea Courthouse is one of the oldest remaining buildings in the area, providing local arts and crafts for sale and historical and visitor information at hand.
  10. Bruces Creek Recreation Reserve Master Plan

Local history

Originally known as Upper Plenty, it was renamed Whittlesea in 1864 after the town of Whittlesey in England. Whittlesea Township within the rural north of the municipality covers an area of approximately 20 square kilometres.

Whittlesea Township has a strong historical character much of which remains intact. Notable buildings include Whittlesea Primary School, Christ Church Anglican Church, various shops in Church and Walnut Streets and a number of original homesteads.

European settlement dates from 1837. In 1853 the first post office opened and in 1878 the first school opened, which is still home to Whittlesea Primary School.

The railway to Whittlesea Township opened in 1889 and operated for 70 years until train services were stopped in 1959.

Whittlesea Township is surrounded by Eden Park, Yan Yean, Humevale and Kinglake West.

Planning and development

Whittlesea Township is the major service centre for the surrounding rural/residential areas of Plenty and Kinglake Ranges.

We are currently preparing a plan to guide how the Whittlesea Township will change over the next 20 years, including transport, housing, open space, shopping and employment. Find out more about the Whittlesea Township Project 2036.

Green Wedge Management Plan

The Green Wedge Management Plan identifies a vision and recommends actions for the sustainable use of Whittlesea’s rural land.


In 2021, it is estimated 6,122 people live in the Whittlesea Township. By 2036, the population is expected to grow to 7,220.

The median age in 2015 was 37 which has increased to 41 in 2021.

The 70 to 84 age group is forecast to experience the greatest change between 2015 and 2036 (an increase of 76 per cent).


In 2015, an estimated 65 children were born, on average one per week. By 2036, this figure is expected to increase to 88 births per year, on average 1.7 births per week.


The proportion of residents who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Whittlesea is the highest in the municipality.

The two most common languages spoken at home other than English are Italian and Macedonian.

The most common countries of birth other than Australia are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Italy.

Families and households

In 2021, there were approximately 2,255 dwellings. This is expected to increase to 2,892 dwellings by 2036.

In 2021 the average household size is 2.7 people and is expected to remain the same in 2036.

In 2021, the proportion of households consisting of couples with children is 46 per cent. By 2036, this will have reduced to 31 per cent.

The Whittlesea Township has the highest rate of residents in the municipality who volunteer a slightly larger rate compared with Greater Melbourne (19 per cent versus 16 per cent).


More residents are employed as technicians and trade workers than any other occupation – a higher proportion compared with Greater Melbourne (23 per cent versus 13 per cent).

There are more residents working in the construction industry compared with any other industry which is a higher proportion compared with Greater Melbourne (18 per cent versus 8 per cent).


In 2015, Whittlesea Township has a relatively large proportion of primary school aged children (11 per cent compared to 9 per cent across the rest of the municipality).

Major surrounding features

  • Yan Yean Reservoir Park
    Managed by Melbourne Water. The Reservoir supplies the northern and central suburbs of Melbourne.
  • Toorourrong Reservoir Park (Whittlesea)
    Managed by Parks Victoria. Completely destroyed during the 2009 bushfires, the Victorian Government spent $5.1 million rebuilding the park which re-opened to the public in late 2015 and is also home to the Whittlesea Bushfire Memorial.
  • Kinglake National Park
    Has 23,210 hectares of tall forests, fern gullies and rolling hills, an extensive network of walking tracks and other facilities, as well as vantage points offering scenic views. It protects almost 600 native plant
    species, over 40 native mammal and 90 native bird species.
  • Growling Frog Golf Course (Yan Yean)
    The course has first class facilities including a restaurant and café, dedicated driving range, putting green, chipping green, practice bunker and more. The creation of a dedicated recycled water supply has ensured there will be plenty of water to keep the course maintained at the highest standard throughout the year.
  • Whittlesea Golf Club
    Situated in the Humevale Valley, houses a challenging 18-hole layout for golfers of all standards.
  • T H Hurrey Recreation Reserve (Yan Yean)
    Facilities at this 4-hectare park include 4 tennis courts (asphalt), a pavilion and changerooms,
    barbecues, picnic facilities, and a public toilet.
  • Tuttle Recreation Reserve (Wollert)
    Facilities at this 2.16 hectare park include 2 public access tennis courts (synthetic grass), a pavilion and clubrooms, picnic facilities, barbecues and public toilets.

Travelling in and out

Residents are more likely to drive a car to work compared with the broader population of Greater Melbourne (73 per cent versus 61 per cent).

There are more households with access to 2 or more vehicles compared to Greater Melbourne (61 per cent versus 51 per cent).

Advocacy priorities for Whittlesea Township and surrounds

Walking and cycling network

Council is seeking funding support from the state and federal governments to expand the local walking and cycling pathway network along the disused railway line from Mernda to Whittlesea Township.

Find out about other advocacy priorities for the whole City of Whittlesea.