Established in the 1840s, Oakleigh was an independent rural railway township, known as an extensive pastoral area on and around the banks of Scotchmans Creek.
Oakleigh town was located along the present alignment of Dandenong Rd, between Warrigal Rd and Atkinson St.
The area was first known as the Parish of Mulgrave and in 1853 the first blocks of land were sold in Oakleigh.
In 1871, the Shire of Oakleigh was proclaimed and in 1879 the Oakleigh to Melbourne rail line was opened.
What became known as “railway fever” led to a land boom in Oakleigh and, while the railway workshops became the major industry in the region, dairy farms, orchards and market gardens began to dominate at the turn of the century.
Many migrants from southern and northern Europe migrated to Australia at the end of World War II, and in the 1960s and 1970s many moved to Oakleigh seeking larger blocks of land to grow their own produce.
By 1971 the City of Oakleigh was a workplace destination with more than 32,000 jobs, half of which were craftsmen and labourers.
Council amalgamations took place across Victoria in 1994 and the City of Oakleigh became part of the City of Monash.
In 2007, the council established the Oakleigh Village Public Space Enhancement Steering Committee to identify and examine ideas for reinvigorating Oakleigh’s activity centre, with the aim to create:
- A culturally distinctive, pedestrian-friendly urban village
- A vibrant destination-of-choice for fresh food, cafe culture, community and cultural activities
- A key commercial hub delivering transport, government and community services.
A major improvement in recent years was the $2.75 million upgrade to Eaton Mall to include public art, lighting, landscaping and street furniture to create a more connected and inviting pedestrian environment.
There are more than 360 businesses in Oakleigh Village, with two thirds being retail and food services.
Oakleigh has a strong Greek cultural influence, largely due to the influx of immigrants to Australia post World War II. Fourteen per cent of those living in the suburb speak only Greek at home.
Oakleigh is proud of its village atmosphere and its festivals and events including the Oakleigh Music Festival (March 5-15) and the Oakleigh Greek Glendi and Dimitria Festival (held in November).
Disclaimer: information provided by Monash Council