Panton Hill

Panton Hill is a mainly rural locality 32 km north-east of central Melbourne. It was named after Joseph Anderson Panton, Commissioner for the Anderson's Creek and other goldfields and later magistrate at Heidelberg. During time off from his magisterial duties he mapped the Yarra Valley (approximately 1862). In so doing he named Panton Hill, which was known as Kingstown, a name shared with other places and a cause of some confusion. Formal renaming occurred in 1874.

Panton Hill was established as a goldfield in 1859 in the area generally called the Caledonia Diggings (1855). Its northern neighbour, Queenstown, is now St Andrews. By the end of the 1860s the goldfield became less profitable and miners turned to farming. Several introduced viticulture and orchards to Panton Hill. A primary school was opened in 1865, and by 1880 there were two hotels and a Church of England. A mechanics' institute was opened in 1901. In 1903 Panton Hill was described in the Australian handbook:

The railway extension from Heidelberg to Hurstbridge in 1912 provided quicker access for fruit-growers to the Melbourne markets. Electricity was turned on in 1958.

For most of the twentieth century Panton Hill's population was around 300, indicating a steady rural economy. The present township includes a general store, primary school (126 pupils, 2014) and infant welfare centre, hotel, the Anglican church and a fire station. The voluntary fire brigade is a significant community organisation. In the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 CFA crews from Panton Hill and Narre Warren were trapped in their vehicles when the fire raced up a steep ravine towards the town. Five were killed. Panton Hill has a memorial park to honour their deaths.

There are three wineries and a linear parks system along Long Gully Creek.

Panton Hill's census populations have been:

Census date Population
1911 267
1947 337
1991 309
2001 422
2011 227

Further Reading

Alan Marshall, Pioneers and painters: one hundred years of Eltham and its Shire, Melbourne, 1971

Panton Hill School No 1134, 1971