Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Historic Castella Street, Lilydale

Home > Melbourne > Outdoor | Places of Interest | Walks
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published February 19th 2020
Take a nostalgic walk back in time
Castella Street was named after Paul de Castella a native of Gruyere, a French-speaking area of Switzerland who arrived in Melbourne in 1849. In 1850, he began buying property in the Lilydale area. By 1861 he had expanded a small vineyard to 76 acres.

castella street sign
The street.

Castella Street is perhaps the most historic street in Lilydale with many buildings from the 1800s still standing.

leafy Castella street.
Leafy Castella Street.

The street is best explored on foot, starting at Market Street. On that corner is the entrance to Melba Park, named in honour of Dame Nellie Melba. Most of the park is unfenced, but on the corner of Castella and Market Streets are two large wrought iron gates, erected by Dame Nellie in 1927 as a memorial to her father David Mitchell. A plaque on the gate reads, "To the memory of David Mitchell. This tribute to my beloved father by his daughter Nellie."

melba gates
The gate entrance to Melba Park.

Just inside the entrance is a large oak tree, the Mafeking Tree. An iron fence is erected around the tree, with a brass plate affixed, bearing the following inscription: "Relief of Mafeking. This tree was planted by the people of Lilydale on 13th June, 1900, to celebrate the gallant and successful defence of Mafeking, South Africa by Colonel Baden Powell and his brave garrison during the siege by the Boers extending over a period of 209 days…"

mafeking tree
The Mafeking oak tree.

Mafeking tree plaque.

Yarra Ranges Regional Museum. 35-37 Castella Street. Hours: Open seven days 10.00 am. - 4.00. pm. Features permanent and themed displays of Lilydale's rich history. The museum is in the original Lillydale Shire Council Chambers, the foundation stone was laid in 1889.

Museum building
The Yarra Ranges Regional museum.

foundation stone
Foundation stone.

Athenaeum Theatre. 39-41 Castella Street. Originally the Mechanics Institute and Free Library. The foundation stone which was laid in 1888 is now on display in the entrance foyer of the theatre. The building is now the home of the Athenaeum Theatre Company, which stage four plays each year. The office is open on Monday and Tuesdays 10 am – 2.00 pm, and if they are not busy can show you the Melba Room which features Melba memorabilia.

Athenaeum Theatre
Athenaeum Theatre.

foundation stone
Foundation stone.

melba room
The Melba Room.

Lilydale Tabernacle. Within the 47-51 Castella Street group of Anglicare buildings. This was the former Baptist Church, with its foundation stone laid in 1881.

Lilydale tabernacle
The Lilydale Tabernacle.

foundation stone
Foundation stone.

Old Court House.
Address: 61 Castella Street.
Lilydale Historical & District Historical Society
Hours: Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: 11 am. – 4.00 pm.
Friday 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm.
The society is headquartered in the old courthouse, where it has permanent displays display on the history of Lilydale and district. It was built in 1876.

Old court house
The old court house.

inside court house
Inside the court house.

court sign
The old sign still there.

State school number 876. 61 – 65 Castella Street. The original school was built in 1876 with many additions since then.

Lilydale state school
The Lilydale State School.

St. Johns Church. 68-71 Castella Street.A memorial stone was laid on 25 September 1886 by Baroness De Pury with the first service in 1868.

St. Johns church
St. Johns Anglican church.

foundation stone
Foundation stone.

Most of the historic buildings are on the left or west side of Castella Street. After viewing St. Johns Church, cross the road and head back to Main Street.

L'Auberge Restaurant. 42 Castella Street. Formerly the Methodist church with its foundation stone laid in 1888.

L'Auberge restaurant.
The formerly Methodist Church.

foundation stone
Foundation stone.

On your walk you will notice several large vertical informative signs. Read them for more historical information.

history sign
Look for and read these.

Take the walk, the history is still there.

Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  74
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? A history lesson.
Where: Castella Street, Lilydale
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Top Events
Popular Articles