The area was first settled in the late 1830s. The
Boroondara Roads Board, the first municipal authority, was set up in the 1850s and covered a remarkably similar
area to the present City of Boroondara. Boroondara is an aboriginal word reputed to mean place of shade.
However, the Hawthorn Roads Board and the Kew Roads Board split from the rest of Boroondara in 1860.
The name Hawthorn, gazetted in
1840 as "Hawthorne", is thought to have originated from a conversation involving Charles La Trobe, who commented
that the native shrubs looked like flowering Hawthorn bushes.
Charles La Trobe was the
superintendent of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales and after the establishment
in 1851 of the colony of Victoria, he became its first lieutenant-governor.