Glenferrie is a residential area 7 km. east of Melbourne, containing the main civic and retail buildings of the Hawthorn area.
Glenferrie was at first called Upper Hawthorn. The main north-south thoroughfare is Glenferrie Road, and the name probably came from a property purchased in 1840 by Peter Ferrie, which he called Glen Ferrie. The property was on the south side of Gardiners Creek, in Malvern. Glenferrie was the name given to the railway station on the line between Hawthorn and Camberwell in 1882.
Burwood Road was the main east-west route through Hawthorn to Camberwell, and the Hawthorn borough hall was opened at the corner of Glenferrie and Burwood Roads in 1861. Diagonally opposite the Catholic church of the Immaculate Conception, a commanding bluestone building, was begun in 1867. A short way south the Presbyterian church was built in 1864. Within a radius of a few hundreds metres there are the Congregational St. Augustine church (1880), the Anglican St. Colomb’s church (1883) and the Oxley Road Methodist church (1889). Whilst the Methodist church had a greater proportion of shopkeepers and tradesmen than the other Protestant followings, it also had the influential Frederick Cato (Moran and Cato, chain grocers), and George Swinburne.
Swinburne, Hawthorn councillor and local Parliamentarian, was strongly involved in establishing the Eastern Suburbs Technical College at Glenferrie in 1907. Renamed the Swinburne Technical College, and Swinburne Institute of Technology, it became the Swinburne University of Technology in 1992.
The local shopping strip before the turn of the century was along Burwood Road, which was serviced by a horse tram between 1890 and 1916. In 1913, however, a tramline was opened along Glenferrie Road, which stimulated the building of a second shopping strip, which ultimately overtook Burwood Road. The tram also became the private schools’ line servicing Scotch College, Glenferrie (1916), Tintern Girls’ school (until its transfer to Ringwood in 1953) and several further north in Kew. In 1916 the Hawthorn Tramways Trust opened an electric tramline along Riversdale Road, in addition to the parallel railway line (1882) about 800 metres northwards.
Glenferrie has several buildings on the Register of the National Estate (former CBA, 1891, primary school, 1876) and the Victorian Heritage Register (former ES and A Bank, 1873 and the Glenferrie oval grandstand, 1938).