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The Wurundjeri Aboriginal clan, one of four Koorie clans that inhabited the Port Phillip region, were the original occupants of the area now occupied by East Burwood. To the east of present-day Middleborough Road, much of the land was initially not very attractive to European squatters for settlement and parts were mostly covered with open forests, consisting of Red Stringybark, Red Box, Long Leaf Box, Candlebark and Manna Gum. Highbury Park contains some of the few remaining stands of remnant vegetation, including the locally uncommon Shiny Wallaby-grass (Austrodanthonia induta).
By the mid 19th century, East Burwood and the surrounding districts were under cultivation and local horticulturists were supplying Melbourne’s markets, including the Victoria Markets, with cut flowers and produce. Jonquils and Daffodils were harvested in the area well into the 1950s. Apple, cherry and pear groves covered the hill slopes for close to a century. Local orchardist Walter Mock developed the Red Williams’ pear variety in East Burwood during the 1930s. The ‘Reds’ found favour and the variety was exported to Europe and North America.However little more than thirty years later, the last of the orchards located in East Burwood had been ripped up or relocated in one case, to Bacchus Marsh.
Schools in the suburb include: