The first European settlers in the area were the Edey family, Isaac and Catherine and their two sons William and Tom. They selected 231 hectares (572 acres) of land around Hallam Road in 1842. Their homestead was situated about where Ormond Road is now. Isaac (1808-1886) and Catherine (nee Davis 1820-1875) had two sons, William and Tom. William married in 1874 to Mary Anne O'Leary and they had five children - Emily, Maggie, Lily, William and Percival Isaac, who all worked at home on the farm.
Other early settlers in the area were Peter Davis who purchased 128 hectares (316 acres) of land in 1852 and then another 358 hectares (885 acres) in 1854. This land was purchased for one pound per acre. The other early settler was David Duncan who purchased 163 hectares (156 acres) in 1863. These three original land owners subdivided their land during the last part of the nineteenth century into smaller farms of up to 40 hectares (100 acres) . The Reedy family were one of the purchasers. Jack and George Reedy returned to their dairy farm after serving in World War One. Jack’s wife, Dolly, was Secretary of the Progress Association for 30 years. Their son, Ken, has had the Ken Reedy reserve in Hampton Park named in his honour as recognition for his community work. The Scott family purchased part of Garner’s paddock and run a dairy farm on the south side of Somerville Road.
Hampton Park sub-division map, c. 1920
State Library of Victoria
Further subdivision took place after the World War One into blocks between 2 and 8 hectares. This subdivision was named the “Hampton Park” estate by the developer Edward Victor Jones of Somerville Road, Footscray. These settlers were the first residents of the town of Hampton Park. They were tradesmen or worked on the red gum timber, in the clay deposits at the Hallam pits or for local farmers. Among the settlers were the Norris, Robjant and the Kirkham families. The Norris family owned the store. Mrs Annie Norris had the honour of cutting the ribbon to open the Primary school. Mr W Norris and Mr F Kirkham were secretary and President respectively of the Progress Association. Mr Fred Robjant donated land for the Methodist Church. The first Post Office was conducted by Mrs Norris (no relation to the other Norris family).
The small town of Hampton Park soon grew and community organizations were formed. The Primary School was opened in February 1922 with 28 students enrolled. The Hampton Park Progress Association was established around 1925, possibly 1923, and the Public hall on September 8, 1937. You can read a report about the opening celebrations, here. In the late 1930s or early 1940s electricity was connected to the town and the Fire Brigade established. In the 1960s town water was connected. The very early settlers of Hampton Park had to rely on water from the Dandenong Creek or a dam on Scott’s farm. The 1960s also saw the establishment of the Tennis Club, the Holy Trinity Anglican Church and the erection of St Kevin’s Catholic Church.
The former St Leonard's Church from Glen Waverley was relocated to Hampton Park and opened in late 1961. Pictures from A Parish carved from the Bush : the centenary history of the Dandenong parish (St Mary's) 1883-1983. (Published by St Mary's Church in 1983). Click on the image to enlarge it.
There were some minor residential sub-divisions off Somerville Road in 1955 and again in 1961. Large scale sub divisions began in the 1970s, no doubt spurred on by the connection to the sewerage system in 1973. With the new housing came a new population and the need for increased community facilities. The 1970s saw the construction of another primary school and a shopping centre. In the 1980s the Senior Citizens, the Community House, the Secondary College were established. This decade also saw the expansion of Hampton Park east of Hallam Road. Parks were established, including the Marjorie Eastick Reserve. Mrs Eastick was a long term resident of Hampton Park and involved with the Progress Association and other community groups.
Hampton Park may no longer be the small country town that it was in the 1920s but it has a strong community spirit which has seen the residents and the Hampton Park Progress Association continually work for new community facilities. This is reflected in the new Community hall, the Arthur Wren hall, that was opened in 1994 to replace the 1930s building, and more recently the opening of the Hampton Park library in January 2004.
Much of the information about the early days of Hampton Park comes from The history of Hampton Park by Roy R. Scott, written in 1970 and published in the Dandenong and District Historical Society Journal, Gipps-land Gate.
I have created a list of newspaper articles about the early days of Hampton Park on Trove, click here to access the list.