To order call Evelyn on: 9729 3051


Welcome to the website of Bayswater History. This website was created for publicity for my two books "Orchard Days of Yesteryear" and "The Fruits of Bayswater/Wantirna". My name is Evelyn Hodgkin, nee Bowen.

The idea of publishing the Bayswater/Wantirna history came about when a group of volunteers in Bayswater in August, 1992 started publishing a monthly newspaper titled, Bayswater Inside Out. We carried out this publication over about ten years and reached Issue No. 100 with most of the issues reaching 24 pages. In 1905, my grandparents, William and Camile Bowen from South Melbourne owned a holiday home in Woodmason Road (now Power Road). My father, also William was born in Bayswater in 1912.

For inclusion in Bayswater Inside Out I started writing down my memories of growing up in Bayswater as a young girl and eventually these history stories grew to be extremely popular. Readers contacted me to have their own memories/stories published and I was able to personally interview those families who still lived in the area. Through my own knowledge of the early days, I was able to enlarge on their stories. Copies of this monthly Newspaper were posted all over Australia as word got around about the history stories. Unfortunately this Newspaper closed down in August, 2001 as we were unfinancial due to lack of advertising.

In 1999, I realised I had enough stories to publish a book of over one hundred pages and thus came about, Orchard Days of Yesteryear. I could not have accomplished these books if it was not for the co-operation of Bayswater's and Wantirna's former and current residents. I welcomed your stories and photographs for inclusion in Bayswater Inside Out and finally into my book. My stories are prior to 1961.

I sold many copies of Orchard days of Yesteryear and three years later in 2002 I had enough stories to publish The Fruits of Bayswater/Wantirna. This edition also proved popular and during the next few years I will endeavour to publish Book Three. This time I will seek out stories from residents who came to Bayswater up until 1970. Most of the changes to Bayswater occurred in 1960.

Orchard Days of Yesteryear was published in April, 1999 and The Fruits of Bayswater/Wantirna was published in February, 2002.


• Roads were unmade and gutters filled with slime and mud.
• Dandenong Creek was full and flowing with untainted water.
• Frost’s Paddock was a nature playground of wildflowers.
• Trains ran every hour with one track between Ringwood and Ferntree Gully.
• Everyone knew each other.
• Shopkeepers knew our names and often knew what we would be purchasing.
• One Policeman.
• Iceman called with slabs of ice and bread was delivered.
• Horse trough in the middle of the town.
• Picture theatre drawing huge crowds to see the latest releases.
• No chemist, no fish’n chip shop.
• Pegler’s General Store was famous for selling ‘everything’.
• Butcher shops had sawdust on the floor.
• Bayswater State School had classes through to Grade Eight.

Gone are the days when Bayswater and Wantirna were well known as a flourishing orchard area.

Many of the stories in my books have been supplied by the people themselves. Not everybody's memories of early Bayswater are the same. Reading about other people's memories may jog other people’s minds to may be one day have their own story in print. Your recollections may differ to what has been recorded.

There are still plenty of stories to be told.

If you wish to purchase my books I wish you happy reading recalling your wonderful times living in a very rural Bayswater. The stories are through the years from 1879 until 1961. I chose to finish at 1961 as this was the time Bayswater and it’s orchards were sold up and new homes built with new residents.

Cost - $20.00 each book plus $2.45 postage.

The special times prior to 1960 can never be replaced…….