History of Stonnington

The City of Stonnington was formed on 22 June 1994, with the amalgamation of the cities of Malvern and Prahran. The first election for the City of Stonnington was held on 16 March 1996, followed by the first meeting of the Council on 19 March 1996.

The municipal boundaries are the Yarra River, Gardiners Creek, Warrigal Road, Dandenong Road, Queens Way and Punt Road. The municipality encompasses the suburbs of Armadale, Kooyong, Malvern, Malvern East, Toorak, Prahran and Windsor, and parts of Glen Iris and South Yarra.

The name Stonnington was taken from the mansion Stonington (Glenferrie Road, Malvern), built for John Wagner, a partner in Cobb & Co. in 1890, and named after the city in Connecticut, USA, where his wife Mary was born. The spelling of the name was changed to Stonnington during the period that the mansion was the vice-regal residence for governors of Victoria. The residence has since reverted to its original spelling.

The original City of Stonnington logo featured two interlocking celebratory ribbons representing the coming together of the two former cities of Malvern and Prahran. The intricate circular border represented the community and the blue, burgundy and fawn colours reflected the established historical nature of the area.

City of Stonnington logo 

After an extensive brand review, in 2015 the City of Stonnington Councillors voted on a refreshed logo, which retains the two interlocking celebratory ribbons representing the coming together of the two former cities of Malvern and Prahran. The City of Stonnington brand reflects a contemporary and progressive style while also honouring and respecting the historical relevance of many parts of the municipality as well as previous brand marks.


The City of Stonnington covers part of the indigenous Boonwurrung language area. The indigenous language area of Melbourne is collectively known as ‘Kulin’ or ‘East Kulin’, ‘kulin’ being a common word for ‘man’ among its language groups. The East Kulin language has three dialects ­– Boonwurrung, Woiwurrung and Daungwurrung – each with a number of clans. The Yarra River and Gardiners Creek approximate the boundary between the Boonwurrung and their northern neighbour, the Woiwurrung. Both groups camped along the river and creek banks where they sourced local food including plants, fish, mussels, eels and waterfowl. The Boonwurrung clan most associated with the Stonnington area is the Yalukit-willam clan, whose country encompassed all of the City of Stonnington area, with the exception of the small pocket of the city to the east of Gardiners Creek, which was Wurundjeri-balug country (a Woiwurrung clan).

A copy of the substantial report on Stonnington’s indigenous history (published in 2006) is available to download below, or you can visit Council's Indigenous History page for more information.

Indigenous-History-full-report.pdf(PDF, 22MB)

The suburb and former City of Prahran takes its name from the Aboriginal word for the area, Pur-ra-ran. According to George Langhorne, a missionary to local Aborigines in 1837, Pur-ra-ran is a compound of two words meaning 'land partially surrounded by water'. Surveyor General Robert Hoddle adopted the name Prahran for official use. 

The Prahran Road District was proclaimed on 17 May 1854, with the boundaries of the municipality being the Yarra River, Kooyong Road, Dandenong Road, Wellington Street and Punt Road. Prahran was declared a municipality on 24 April 1855. The first elections for the Prahran Road Board were held on 22 February 1856 followed by the first meeting on 25 February 1856 at the Prahran Mechanics' Institute. The municipality became a borough on 1 October 1863, a town on 13 May 1870 and a city on 27 May 1879. The final meeting of the Prahran Council was held on 20 June 1994 at the Prahran Town Hall. Following amalgamation with the City of Malvern, the narrow stretch of land bounded by Wellington Street, Punt Road, Queens Way and part of Dandenong Road was excised from the municipality, and is now part of the City of Port Phillip.

Prahran Council coat-of-arms 

The City of Prahran's coat-of-arms includes the Royal Coat-of-Arms surmounted by a crown and bearing a scroll with the motto Spectemur Agendo meaning 'Let us be seen by our deeds'.

Malvern was originally named Gardiner after John Gardiner, one of the first overlanders from the Murrumbidgee River to Port Phillip in 1835. The first recorded use of the name Malvern was in January 1854, when barrister Charles B. G. Skinner named his new hotel on the corner of Malvern Road and Glenferrie Road the ‘Malvern Hill’ after the district in England where his ancestors had lived. The Gardiner Road District was proclaimed on 6 October 1856, with the boundaries of the municipality being Gardiners Creek, Warrigal Road, Dandenong Road and Kooyong Road. The first elections and meeting of the Gardiner Road Board were held on 8 November 1856 at the Wattle Tree Hotel. The Municipality became a shire on 26 May 1871, was renamed Malvern on 15 February 1878, became a borough on 22 February 1901, a town on 24 April 1901 and a city on 30 May 1911. The final meeting of the Malvern Council was held on 8 May 1994 at the Malvern Town Hall.


The City of Malvern coat-of-arms includes the Royal Coat-of-Arms surmounted atop two shields, one with a hand-plough and the other with a shear sheaf. Between the two shields is a hanging figure of a sheep. This was replaced by the gargoyle or griffin logo in 1988, designed by students at the Swinburne Institute of Technology.

Malvern Council gargoyle logi 

A table outlining key dates in the City of Stonnington’s history up to amalgamation in 1994 can be downloaded below.

Key dates in Stonnington to 1994(PDF, 240KB)