The Region is also home to many well established suburbs such as Ringwood, Knox and Boronia, characterised by the transition between the built and natural environments.Melbourne’s Eastern Region is the traditional home of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
Industrial development in the Eastern Region from the colonial period through the first half of the 20th century was dominated by the timber, brick, and tiling industries that grew up around the expanding rail network. Nevertheless, forestry and agriculture retained great significance in the early days of Melbourne’s East.
Building on the opening of Monash University Clayton in 1961, the Eastern Region increasingly became a centre for Melbourne’s technology and research sector. By the 1990s, the number of science- and research-based employers in the area grew to include the CSIRO, Monash Medical Centre, and research laboratories for both BHP Billiton and Telstra. The more recent opening of the Australian Synchrotron in 2007 cemented the Eastern Metro Region as a major technology and research hub.
Today, the Eastern Region spans six Local Government Areas (LGAs) including the science and education hub of Monash, the suburban LGA of Whitehorse, the retail hub around Doncaster in the LGA of Manningham, the outer suburban LGAs of Knox and Maroondah, and the Dandenong Ranges and the food and wine destination of the Shire of Yarra Ranges.
As the region stretches eastward, residential areas and commercial centres that support the knowledge economy transform to become the tourism centre of the Dandenong Ranges National Park and expansive bushland of the Yarra Ranges.
The Eastern Region has a population of approximately 901,000 people (20 per cent of metropolitan Melbourne’s total). Such is the diversity within the Eastern Metro Region that the population density in the region’s east LGA of Yarra Ranges is approximately 37 times lower than in the south-western LGAs of Monash and Whitehorse. Over the next five years the region is only expected to grow at about half the average rate for metropolitan Melbourne, occurring through urban renewal and consolidation of existing hubs and activity centres.