The genesis for the formation of this historical society was the request in 1955 by then Cr Kenneth McIntyre, for people to donate items of historical interest, in preparation for the forthcoming centenary of local municipal government in 1957. Donated items were stored in the Box Hill Library. Some years later Cr McIntyre, together with Librarian H.C. [Bert] Lewis, decided to establish local groups for like-minded people. The Historical Society was one such group, established in 1963 as the City of Box Hill Historical Society.
The inaugural meeting of the Society was held on Friday 9 August 1963 in the committee room of the Infant Welfare Centre. The building still stands, as the Box Hill Ballet studio in the Whitehorse Road median. The meeting was attended by a group of enthusiastic people eager to preserve the history. Ken McIntyre was elected president, and the committee included Mr C Gollan (secretary); Miss Marjorie Bishop (treasurer) and Mr Jack McLean (archivist).
During its first decade the Society was active in recording and documenting local history. By 1975 four volumes of papers presented before the Society had been published. The Society was a major resource for Andrew Lemon’s Box Hill (1978), as well as the Council’s series of historical pamphlets. Society publications included Box Hill Sketchbook, with text by OS Green, and Marjorie Bishop’s biography of Edward Bishop. Mona Webster’s history of Mont Albert Shopping Centre was also published, and significant input was made to the 1990 Heritage Study.
During the 1990s a fifth volume of the papers was published, and the Council sponsored a series of picture books prepared by Lea Finlay and Marjorie Morgan. After the Councils of Box Hill and Nunawading were amalgamated in 1994, the Society became the Box Hill Historical Society. After many years of temporary accommodation, the Society moved into rooms on the first floor of the Box Hill Town Hall in the mid-1990s, and subsequently to its present location on the ground floor of the Box Hill Town Hall hub.
From the outset the Society has concentrated on the collection and conserving of documents and photographs. In addition, cataloguing of this material and the indexing of other resources, included the early rate books has been an ongoing activity.