The City of Whitehorse is located just 15 kilometres east of Melbourne and covers an area of 64 square kilometres. The municipality is bounded by the City of Manningham to the north, the Cities of Maroondah and Knox to the east, the City of Monash to the south and the City of Boroondara to the west. Whitehorse’s suburbs include Blackburn, Blackburn North, Blackburn South, Box Hill, Box Hill North, Box Hill South, Burwood, Burwood East, Forest Hill, Mitcham, Mont Albert, Mont Albert North, Nunawading, Surrey Hills, Vermont and Vermont South.
Community Demographics – Census Data
Unless otherwise stated, this information comes from the 2011 census and is based on place of usual residence.
The City of Whitehorse has an Estimated Residential Population of 157,740 (in 2011). This represents an increase of 7,208 people (or 4.8 per cent) since 2006. The municipality is home to 57,207 households; a figure which grew by 3.6 per cent across the same period.
Whitehorse, like much of Victoria and Australia, has a growing population of older people. This is a bit more pronounced here than elsewhere; around 17 per cent of our residents are aged 65+ as compared with 13 per cent, which is the Melbourne metropolitan average. By 2020 this age group will comprise nearly one quarter (24 per cent) of our municipality (based on Whitehorse Population Forecasting: http://forecast2.id.com.au/Default.aspx?id=123&pg=5000).
We are also a culturally diverse community. In the 2011 census one third of residents were born overseas and one quarter came from a non-English speaking background. The top five countries of birth are: China, the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Our large Chinese population is a real feature of the municipality, with 7.3per cent of residents born there. This is a 90per cent increase on the 2006 level. In Box Hill, this figure is 22 per cent. The number of residents born in Asia is increasing in Whitehorse. This not only reflects broader immigration trends, but is also in part due to our growing international student population. International students attend Box Hill Institute of TAFE, Deakin University and some local high schools.
Reflecting this, Mandarin and Cantonese are the most commonly spoken languages other than English at home. This is followed by Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.
In 2011, over half of Whitehorse residents (55 per cent) identified as Christian and more than one quarter (27 per cent) stated that they had no religion. 10 per cent of residents reported a non-Christian faith, with Buddhism having the largest following (5 per cent), followed by Hinduism (2 per cent).
In the 2011 census, 321 people or approximately 0.2 per cent identified themselves as Indigenous and living in Whitehorse. This is less than the average for Victoria (0.7 per cent) and Australia (2.5 per cent). Though a small population in relative terms, this group have a long history on this land, even in a contemporary sense. Whitehorse was home to a number of boys homes that housed members of the stolen generation who were removed from their families.
The most commonly occurring household type in Whitehorse is couples with children (33per cent). Approximately one quarter of households are comprised of couples and lone persons respectively. Whitehorse has a larger proportion of lone person households relative to Melbourne. Household size in Australia has declined since the 1970’s but between 2006 and 2011, it remained stable for the nation as a whole.
More information about the City of Whitehorse’s population will be made available when it is released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (due November 2012).
For more detailed information, phone Council's Community Development Department on 9262 6333 or view the City of Whitehorse's Community Profile, Atlas and Population Forecast. Note: the Community Atlas and Population Forecast are based on 2006 data and will be updated during November and December 2012. The Community Profile is based on data from the 2011 census. Unless otherwise stated, the information above comes from the 2011 census and is based on place of usual residence.
Factsheet 1 - Our Community September 2012.pdf (364.31kB)
Factsheet 2 - Diversity February 2013.pdf (3.05MB)
Factsheet 3 - Health and Wellbeing February 2013.pdf (5.88MB)
Factsheet 4 - Housing March 2013.pdf (6.62MB)
Factsheet 5 - Gender February 2013.pdf (308.97kB)
Factsheet 6 - Economics February 2013.pdf (311.78kB)
Factsheet 7 - Transport February 2013.pdf (3.32MB)
The City of Whitehorse was proclaimed in December 1994, following the amalgamation of the former cities of Box Hill and Nunawading. The birth of the City reunited the suburbs which formed the original Shire of Nunawading more than 100 years ago. The municipality derives its namesake and logo from a white horse dating back to the 1850s, when a white horse statue adorned the front entrance of the City’s first hotel and two-storey building. Today, a memorial stands on the former site of the hotel and the white horse symbolises the City’s identity.
The City is also recognised as the home of the Arts, stemming from its relationship with Box Hill as the original site of the Artists Camp. In 1885, artists established the first of their camps at Box Hill, and whilst the camp only lasted three years, some of the artists, including Frederick McCubbin, returned to the area often.
The City has an impressive art collection containing a total of nine works by members of the Box Hill Artists Camp, including works by McCubbin, Roberts and Streeton.
The City’s logo is modelled on the knight, which is one of the most powerful and flexible pieces in the game of chess. The significance of the white horse emanates from the historical and mythological representation of strength, courage and fertility. The symbol of the white horse in celtic mythology comes from the Goddess Epona (Gaul), Macha (Eire) and Rhiannon (Britain), each a guardian of good fortune ‘for monarch and tribe’. In astrology the white horse characterises freedom, strength and growth.
Council values its staff and the contribution they make to the organisation and the wider community. As at 30 June 2010, Council’s workforce is approximately 1121 employees, with 639 people in equivalent full time positions. Whitehorse has a high percentage of staff who live locally with approximately 44 per cent of the workforce, (494 staff members) living in the municipality.
We aspire to be an inclusive, supportive community with vibrant, outstanding and sustainable natural, built, social and economic environments.
Whitehorse City Council will provide participative, representative and straightforward government; efficient, appropriate and responsive services; and adequate and reliable infrastructure that will lead to a prosperous and sustainable municipality.
In pursuing our goals, Whitehorse City Council believes and is committed to, these values:
- Consultation and communication: ensuring residents are both sufficiently informed and able to contribute to Council's decision-making process
- Democracy and leadership: recognising and valuing resident participation in Council's decision making as well as Council's role in providing leadership to the community
- Equity and social justice: sharing the benefits and burdens of living in this city, celebrating our cultural diversity and paying attention to the needs of our disadvantaged resident
- Integrity: making decisions and acting in ways that reflect our values
- Openness and accountability: being transparent in its decision-making, Council welcomes public scrutiny and community feedback
- Sustainability: making decisions about social, economic, built and natural environments that will benefit both present and future generations
- Wellbeing: developing a community that is cognisant of, and seeks to achieve, personal and community wellbeing
Services and Facilities
Council provides more than 100 high quality services and facilities across a range of areas including home and community care; sustainability; waste and recycling; health and family; leisure facilities; maintenance of sports fields, parks and gardens; infrastructure (operations centre and Whitehorse Recycling and Waste Centre); engineering (planning of roads, drains and streetlights); maintenance of footpaths, drains and roads; arts and culture; planning and building; traffic and community laws; libraries; community development; business and economic development.
Whitehorse is characterised by quiet tree-lined residential streets; an abundance of parks, gardens and natural bushland reserves; bustling shopping centres, a diverse range of arts and cultural opportunities; and sports and leisure facilities.
The Whitehorse community has access to an extensive public transport system with trains, trams and buses serving the area. Whitehorse boasts some of the region's leading educational, medical and leisure facilities and is home to the largest high technology precinct in eastern Melbourne, placing it at the cutting edge of the telecommunications, multimedia and information technology industry.
Whitehorse has many attractions for its residents and visitors to discover and experience including:
- Box Hill Town Hall is a vibrant hub for Whitehorse community groups and includes an accredited art space to display Council's comprehensive art collection and a convenient meeting place for local businesses.
- The Whitehorse Centre, the municipality's premier arts and cultural centre, attracts thousands of theatre lovers each year. The Whitehorse Professional Theatre and Music Season showcases some of the best professional theatre from around the country.
- Schwerkolt Cottage and Museum Complex in Mitcham is a heritage-listed pioneer's stone cottage in a garden setting surrounded by 2.25 hectares of bushland. This popular attraction is open to the community on weekends.
- The Box Hill Community Arts Centre is an artistic and cultural hub and home to a wide variety of local arts and community groups. The centre offers art and craft classes, an exhibition space, art shop and community meeting space.
- Blackburn Lake Sanctuary is one of the area's most important environmental assets and is regarded as one of the most important bird refuges in metropolitan Melbourne.
- Aqualink Nunawading and Aqualink Box Hill are state-of-the-art leisure facilities that attract thousands of people each week.
- An outstanding range of community events and festivals, including Australia Day celebrations, the annual Spring Festival, Summer Music Series and Carols by Candlelight.
Sister City Relationship with Matsudo
The City of Whitehorse has a sister city relationship with Matsudo, a Japanese city on the outskirts of Tokyo. The relationship was developed by the former City of Box Hill in 1971 and continued by the City of Whitehorse in 1994, when local government in Victoria amalgamated.
The two cities participate in an active exchange program for young people, which strengthens cultural understanding and promotes friendly relations. The relationship also promotes economic development opportunities between the two countries.
The City of Matsudo has a population of 461,000 and is home to a large number of foreign residents. The City of Whitehorse is home to a growing Asian residency and, with Australia generally, is focused on consolidating links with its Asian neighbours.
Suburban Heartland – A History of Whitehorse
Written by historian Lesley Alves Suburban Heartland incorporates aspects of the previously published histories of Box Hill and Nunawading and updates them with local history from the 1970s to the present. The book contains more than 320 pages of fascinating stories and colourful images drawn from public and private collections.
Members of the Whitehorse community contributed their personal memorabilia and stories to fill the book with anecdotes, information and archival material that explores the people, places and events that shaped our community for more than 150 years.
Suburban Heartland costs $74 for the hardcover edition and $49 for the softcover version. Copies of the publication can be purchased during business hours from Council’s Service Centres at the Box Hill Town Hall, Forest Hill Chase Shopping Centre and Whitehorse Civic Centre in Nunawading.
For more information, phone Council’s Cultural Facilities and Programs Team Leader Shayne Price on 9262 6393.
Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada
People searching for Whitehorse City Council online may occasionally stumble across its namesake in Yukon, Canada. Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three territories. The sparsely populated territory has an Arctic and sub-arctic climate and abounds with snow-melt lakes and perennial snow-capped mountains. It borders the US state of Alaska to the west, the Northwest Territories to the east and British Columbia to the south.
The territory's capital is Whitehorse, apparently named after the White Horse Rapids, which were said to look like the mane of a white horse. Whitehorse is a city under Yukon municipal legislation, and is governed by the Whitehorse City Council, a council of six councillors and one mayor, elected every three years by eligible Canadian citizens of age 18 or older who reside within city limits.
Find out about the differences and similarities of the two cities by visiting the Canadian Whitehorse City Council website.