Maling Road Canterbury Iconic Shopping Village
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Our History

Visions of Maling Road

Maling Road is only a 20 minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD but walking down the street takes you back a century in time and beyond. Maling Road has successfully preserved its’ old time feel and physical fabric from its humble beginnings in the late 1800s.


Venture into the early 1900s.

This charming shopping village has inspired local and international film crews. Stroll down the street and discover heritage listed architecture, beautiful murals, engage with the dynamic street community and experience old style shopping at its best. This eastern Melbourne’s precinct is a fashion, dining, lifestyle, specialist and convenience shopping strip that is reminiscent of 1800s village life.

Indulge, a food gift and wine store, is now occupying the site where the Old State Bank presided.  Indulge is a home wares and food store which offers a variety of deli cheeses, chilled and delicacies galore. Simply stroll into the banks’ old vault, continue to their fridge, and load up with valuables.

Maling Road not only caters for local needs by offering fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, deli foods, a post office, pharmacist, bank, dry cleaners, auto service and travel agent, but it also caters for those seeking specialist items such as gift & antique shops, home wares, fashion and accessories.


How to get there:

Maling Road is easily accessible via car or public transport. It is directly adjacent to Canterbury Train Station and nine stops in the Lilydale/Belgrave Line. There is ample on-street parking.


A walk through the ages on Maling Road:

Since the late 1800s, Maling Road has been a shopping and service village that has served the locals. Whilst the physical fabric and nature of the shops have changed, it has remained an area of social interaction.

In fact, the 5 murals (at Maling Walk next to the Village on the railway wall) depict the significant stages in the history of the Maling Road Precinct - from 1885 (when the railway first was developed) to the present day. The murals themselves depict the overall historic story which includes a nursery rhyme hunt for children in an edgy, which engages children and adults alike.

As we take you through an amusing and fascinating look at the history of Maling Road, remember that as a central service district the varying shops and services of Maling Road reflected the social, cultural and economic fluctuations in Melbourne’s history.


Before 1900s:

Canterbury, according to land developers of the 1880s, was a rural idyll with hills and valleys and a great deal of open space.

This old Canterbury was challenged in the early 1980s when the area became attractive to the expanding middle class.

A rising demand for houses and land eventually led to the addition of the Belgrave/Lillydale railway line. This opened up the settlement and the Canterbury shopping district was conceived. The streetscape began to flourish and notable long term occupiers dealing in footwear, real estate, beauty and groceries started to multiply.


World War 1:

This new suburban Canterbury began to rapidly develop. Local businesses supplied basic daily needs in food, drink, fuel, newspapers, laundry, mail as well as access to tradesmen, doctors, chemists and a library.

As the Canterbury area grew, so did Maling Road. The most major development during this time was the Maling Road Hall/Theatre which served many community functions and recreations such as a meeting place for returned servicemen and women. This hall underwent many premise changes including being converted to a dancehall, then a discotheque and a religious revival centre.

The hall’s prospects were stalled when it was damaged by a fire in 1990 which led to it being demolished. Several of the present shops and a rear car park were built on the site of the demolished theatre. One of the shops now located on the site is Theatre Place Hairdressing.  This salon offers advanced cut and colour services within an old movie gallery décor.



By the early 1920s, the side of Maling Road closest to the railway had been filled. Maling Road housed some fifty commercial residences, amongst others a boot shop, a dental surgery, a bank and a post office. However, due to a staunch middle class, Canterbury and its surrounding areas became a dry area and its resident hotel Malone’s was delicensed?

The Precinct of the 1920s was very much like that of 1900s in that local residents could still have their everyday needs met by providers within walking distance of their homes. However goods could now be delivered by car due to the rise in use of the automobile in the 1920s.

The character of Maling Road had been well established by the 1920s and little changed in the next thirty years. The proportion of premises in each major category of use remained roughly the same although with different proprietors.



The 1930s were the depression years and this impacted the Maling Road shopping precinct. Casualties included two ironmongers, a butcher, a ladies draper, a confectioner and an estate agent.  Shop hours reduced, goods and petrol were rationed and labour was severely restricted.

However the impact of the war was not only seen on individual shop keepers.

The fashion change from long to short hair and the 'perm' ensured that ladies hairdressers became an essential business of the village.

The progressive advent of the car in the 1930s impacted the nature of shopping on the street. Roads became more congested by cars and trucks and it became hazardous to cross Canterbury Road.

The first garage on Maling Road opened in 1948 by the Bradshaw’s (former trader). b

However the depression did not impact on the importance of maintaining a well-defined relationship between customer and provider. Maling Road’s shops provided personal service which was hard to duplicate in department or chain stores like Myer and Coles.



Personalised service was increasingly under pressure in the 1950s because of the development of supermarkets and large buying groups. The growth of “one stop shopping” was momentous.



The mid 1970s brought Council proposals for improvement by modifying roads to create better traffic flow, a pedestrian mall and a car park. Town planners based their suggestions on Council surveys hopeful that they would lure more shoppers to the district.

In addition, Canterbury Road underwent several major physical changes. A railway overpass was built in 1969 which physically separated the Canterbury Road shops from those on Maling Road.



The 1980s became a period of slow change with landscaping, restorations, enhancements of buildings and the development of off-street parking, signs and power poles.

Whilst the village serviced local needs with butchers, greengrocers, delicatessens, a chemist, newsagent, post office, a bank, a service station and a number of hairdressers, by now there were many specialist shops on Maling Road. These purveyed clothing, antiques and household goods.



What transpired in the 1990s was quite different from what was envisaged. While the original 1972 plan envisaged Maling Road’s renewal as ‘a small local centre not far removed from its existing role’, something very different emerged.

While local service needs shops had increased, the shopping strip had become a specialised shop area; there were six separate antique shops and markets that sold specialist secondhand goods.

In addition, the growth of cafés provided refreshment for the shoppers.

The quality of service, the demand and uniqueness of the specialty retailers’ goods drove the village forward as a place for shopping within a relaxed setting.



Today, Maling Road has over 70 shops restored to their original Edwardian style setting and architecture. Shoppers from all over Melbourne and beyond continue to flock to the Precinct to enjoy the wonderful relaxed atmosphere that this unique shopping precinct offers. Maling Road is certainly A Place to Visit, the Place to Shop!


Historic Information Source:

Gibb, D & Warmington, S (2007). Visions of a Village: Canterbury Shops & Shopping 1880s-1990s and Beyond. Canterbury History Group: Canterbury, VIC*




The Canterbury History Group is an active community group that collects, preserves and presents historical material in the Melbourne suburb of Canterbury.

President Jan Pigot says "we have been active for 25 years and we have regular meetings throughout the year and one exciting event that we held this year during the History Week in October, which was a 'Melbourne Cup' evening at the Maling Room".

The Canterbury History Group was formed in 1985 to promote interest and research in Canterbury's history by collecting and preserving items of historical interest, producing and publishing historical material, and arranging meetings that focus on matters of local interest.

For more information please visit our new website or write us an email at


*This book can be purchased from the Canterbury Newsagency and Tim's Bookshop:

Canterbury Newsagency

104 Maling Road, Canterbury

Telephone: (03) 9836 2130


Tim’s Bookshop                 

143 Maling Road

(03) 9836 300