Shire of NillumbikEconomic profile
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Nillumbik Shire

About the area

Name origin

Nillumbik is named from an Aboriginal word thought to mean "shallow earth".

Location and boundaries

Nillumbik Shire is located in Melbourne's north-eastern suburbs, about 25 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD. Nillumbik Shire is bounded by Murrindindi Shire in the north, Yarra Ranges Shire in the east, Manningham and Banyule Cities in the south, and the City of Whittlesea in the west. The Shire's boundaries are the Kinglake National Park in the north, the Yarra escarpment in the east, the Yarra River in the south, and the Plenty River and Yan Yean Road in the west.

Included areas

Nillumbik Shire includes the suburbs and rural localities of Arthurs Creek, Bend of Islands, Christmas Hills, Cottles Bridge, Diamond Creek, Doreen (part), Eltham, Eltham North (part), Greensborough (part), Hurstbridge, Kangaroo Ground, Kinglake (part), Kinglake West (part), North Warrandyte, Nutfield, Panton Hill, Plenty, Research, Smiths Gully, Strathewen, St Andrews, Watsons Creek, Wattle Glen, Yan Yean (part) and Yarrambat.

Land use

Nillumbik Shire features both urban and rural areas with undulating hills. The bulk of population is located in the southern and south-western areas, generally comprising Diamond Creek, Eltham, Eltham North, Greensborough, Hurstbridge and Wattle Glen. The major townships are Eltham, Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 432 square kilometres.


Nillumbik Shire is served by the Metropolitan Ring Road and the Hurstbridge railway line, with stations at Diamond Creek, Eltham, Hurstbridge and Wattle Glen.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the late 1830s, with land used mainly for grazing, timber-cutting and viticulture. Development was slow until the 1850s and 1860s, spurred by the gold rush, with townships established at Diamond Creek, Panton Hill, Research and St Andrews. From 1870 to 1900 orchards spread along the Diamond Valley, with the prosperity of the fruit growing industry resulting in the townships of Arthurs Creek, Doreen, Plenty and Strathewen. A railway was built to Eltham, and later Hurstbridge in the early 1900s. Sugarloaf Reservoir was constructed in the 1970s, serving as a water storage and treatment plant supplying Melbourne. The most significant residential development occurred in the post-war years, particularly during the 1970s and 1980s. The population rose from about 51,000 in 1991 to about 58,000 in 2001, and then increased marginally to about 59,000 in 2011. The rural areas of the Shire suffered significantly as a result of the Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009, with the loss of approximately 130 dwellings, principally in the townships of Strathewen, St Andrews, Christmas Hills and Arthurs Creek.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Nillumbik area were the Wurundjeri Aboriginal people.

Regional labour force

Nillumbik Shire labour force region is defined by an area in which a significant percentage of workers travelled into Nillumbik Shire to work at the 2011 Census. Details of this calculation and a list of areas included can be found in the data notes.