Where the heck is Montmorency?

I hear Melbourne

Ken Williams

Guide to Montmorency.  Where is Montmorency?

I was sitting at my desk around nine this morning when I got a call from an estate agent. She said, “Are you that person who hears everything?”

I said, “Pardon, what was that?”

There was a long pause and then she asked me to write up a house for her in Montmorency.

Where the heck is Montmorency, I thought. Sounds like something you’d pick up at a rave party. It’s fun to say though, Montmorency. If you hold your tongue while you say it it’s even more fun. Momporempthy.

  Anyway, I looked it up, and sure enough, there it was, 18 km’s North East of Melbourne’s CBD – nestled between Greensborough and Eltham. It also said that this is where world renowned singer Gotye grew up. Born in Belgium, he moved to Montmorency when he was two. Okay, I thought. But who’s Gotye? Then I remembered, he’s just somebody that I used to know.

Gotya Montmorency

 

How to get to Montmorency

I said I’d get straight on it, made a sandwich with leftover corned beef, cheese and tomato relish, washed it down with a cup of English Breakfast and took the Western Ring Road eastwards. I swung onto Greensborough Road, over Main St Greensborough and wound around The Watermarc Aquatic Centre where giant waterslides dart out from the building and hang above the street, Impressive! As I drove across the Plenty River and right onto Para Road, I was greeted by two large football grounds with a black and white billboard that read: Home of the Monty Magpies. Hmm?

I drove up Were street (pronounced Weir), Montmorency’s main drag, where a giant windmill – an actual life-size Windmill – stands at the top of the street. You don’t see that every day. A train station at the foot of the street has views of the hills, and outside cafés line the street. I parked out front of the Newsagent / Post Office and took a stroll.

 

What’s Monty like?

First thing I noticed was the street was quite artsy – mosaics along the footpaths and murals on the walls. I entered a coffee shop at the top of the hill. An attractive woman wearing a blue apron and red t-shirt greeted me with a warm hello.

“G’day,” I replied, and followed up with, “Cappuccino, please.” You can’t teach that. She smiled politely and walked off.

I sat outside and peered down the hill towards the train station. The street was a mix of workers in overalls breaking for morning tea and mums with prams stopping for chats. Monty was growing on me. Monty, I discovered is the term the locals use. When I say locals, I don’t mean to suggest that they’re country folk. It’s only five minutes from Greensy, that’s Greensborough, or 45 minutes by train to the city on the Hurstbridge line.

Montmorency main street

Montmorency cafe

 

Where did Monty get its name?

I got up to take some photos when an older lady brought out my coffee and waited ‘til I finished my snaps, “Only forty-odd years ago this was a fruit and vegetable growing town,” she announced. “Dairies and orchards filled these hills.”

“Crikey!” I said.

She stared at me blankly and went on. “It was founded in 1917 and named after a local farm, Montmorency Estate, which in turn was named after the town Montmorency Val-d’Oise, where French philosopher, Jean-Jacques lived.”

“Sacre bleu!”  I said. “Wasn’t he that famous water guy?”

“No,” she sighed. “That’s Jacques Cousteau.”

“Oh.”

She shook her head, mumbled something, and walked away.

Montmency france

Montmorency Valley France

 

What’s a Typical Monty Home?

I finished my drink, nice and hot too. Then decided on a drive around Monty, when I noticed something quite unusual. There were hardly two houses that looked alike. It’s a real hodge-podge of new and old. Old weatherboard homes, massive modern monstrosities and even old farm houses.I hear montmorency farm houseMontmorency homehome - guide to Montmorency

As I drove, I listened. It appears these differences can make it difficult to price a lot of these homes. One might sell for over $1 million and another half the price. But entry level is around $750,000 to $850,000.

There are parts of Monty where you’d think you are in the country. And the street I was after is one of them. A Californian Bungalow stood quietly behind several bushy trees. The home was empty, yet felt cosy as I stepped across the porch into spacious living areas with timber floors. The renovated country style kitchen had me dreaming of breakfasts spent gazing into bushy gardens. The home was a chatty one. One of those old timers in for a heart-to-heart about the good old days (I was sure not to mention Jacques Cousteau). Solidly built for a bit of noise and activity, it wanted another family, and a dog. A shaggy dog with a waggly tail. It was very specific. It longed for the days where pets and kids raced along its sturdy corridors and kicked balls in the backyard. I told it, I didn’t know if kids still kicked balls in yards anymore. This made the conversation a bit awkward, so I took some notes and left it at that.

Monty’s a winner if you’re looking for that slight country feel

Overall, I like Monty. It has charm. Well worth a look if you’re wanting an escape from the hustle and bustle without being far from the big smoke. I don’t think it matters that the homes are not matching. And, I say homes not houses, because that’s the feel. The kind of place you might still see Billy-carts tearing down the hilly streets.  It’s got all your sporting amenities – the Monty Magpies I’m told are quite a successful club in the Northern Football League and get quite good crowds to their matches. But, I’m not sure I could get past the whole Magpies thing. Anyway, there are three popular primary schools, two shopping strips and a secondary college. But my favourite thing of all, Monty is the home of the Diamond Valley Racing Pigeon Club. I can hear Bill Lawry now, ‘Wendy?’

I hear Petrie Park Montmorency

I returned to my car feeling somewhat peckish, listening to houses can work-up an appetite. I drove back to Were Street and a place called Max’s. I ordered a woodfire pizza and was happy with my choice, the topping was nice, but ‘wow’ the crust! The crust was as delicious as I’ve ever eaten.

Montmorency restaurant

Enjoying my meal, I started writing while the home was fresh in my mind, Majestically located in a leafy court, this stunning 3 bedroom Californian Bungalow fuses modern living with old fashioned charm…

 

The Specs:

Suburb: Montmorency

Location: 18 km north east of Melbourne CBD in the city of Banyule. Has a population of just under 9000.

Transport: Trains to city on Hurstbridge line. Buses: 293 to Box Hill, Frankston/Airport 901 and Glenroy/Eltham 513.

Schools: 3 primary – 1 catholic, two state. Plus, Montmorency Secondary College.

Leisure: Restaurants, cafés, bakeries, parks, IGA grocery store, football/cricket ovals, tennis courts, lawn bowls, RSL club, Diamond Valley Racing Pigeon Club.

Personality: laid back, sporty and artsy, almost country feel. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, 80% of residents are Australian born and a mix of older residents and young families.

 

What’s on in Monty, 2019 

World Environment Day Pop-Up in the Park 2019 

When: Sunday 2 June 2019 from 10am to 1pm

Free Activities to celebrate World Environment Day

Where: Monty Village, Were Street – Were St, Montmorency, VIC

Cost: Free Entry

Busybird Publishing – Open mic night.

When: Every third Wednesday

Where: Busybird Publishing Studio Gallery
2/118 Para Road
Montmorency 3094

If you’re a writer, a poet, singer, comic, mime – whatever your talent – and would like to perform your material for a live audience, why not come along?

Readings are a great way to test your material, as well as a means to promote yourself and give yourself exposure and experience in a public forum. They’re great fun, too!

There are no bookings required to attend Open Mic Night, and attendees don’t have to perform. You can just come along, watch, and enjoy the night!

Click below for more information: https://www.busybird.com.au/

A guide to Montmorency

What's on in Montmorency

Nearby Activities

Diamond Valley Railway – A great day out with $3 rides for kids and adults. Check out website for more details: https://www.dvr.com.au/

Montmorency Activities

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