The leafy inner-eastern 'burb with a surprising claim to fame

Malvern's claim to fame? One of them, at least, is that it's the original home of the Malvern Star brand of bicycle. Originally a small shop on Glenferrie Road that opened in 1902 off the back of winnings in the Austral Wheel Race, it grew into Australia's biggest cycle brand thanks to growing interest in the sport and the endorsement of Hubert Opperman, who won a Malvern Star bicycle in a 1921 race and continued as the company's ambassador during his international career.

For more two-wheeled confluence in postcode 3144 look no further than the Gardiners Creek Trail. This popular cycling track that forms part of the Melbourne metropolitan bicycle network takes its name from early settler John Gardiner, who pioneered an overland cattle route from New South Wales to the Port Phillip District in 1836 and established a station on the banks of the waterway. The surrounding area remained Gardiner's Creek until 1878, when Sir James Lorimer of the Gardiner Shire Council renamed it Malvern, after his estate in Worcestershire, England.

Historians have noted that nineteenth and early twentieth-century Malvern inhabitants liked to celebrate their suburb's English-style country charms. By the 1930s it was the home no longer of paddocks and graziers but orchards and market gardens. Later still it became one of the inner circle of the elite, a situation that continues to this day. The Italianate-style Victorian town hall, its foundation stone laid by Alfred Deakin in 1885, is the suburb's grandest calling card. It was spruced up in 1926 when the good times were rolling to enjoy the addition of a cocktail lounge and supper room.

Part of a safely conservative seat (held by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer at federal level and shadow treasurer Michael O'Brien at state), Malvern boasts some Liberal heavyweights in its list of past and present notables, including Prime Minister Robert Menzies, who lived on the bluest-of-blue-chip Haverbrack Avenue. Current Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle held the seat of Malvern during his days as opposition leader.

The area isn't shy of its creature comforts, such as Malvern Central, a modern shopping complex close to Malvern train station where you can get your car hand detailed while shopping at David Jones, but the area's prime real estate lies at the northern end's Stonnington Estate. The precinct takes its prestige name from the Stonnington Mansion, which was built in 1890 and nudges up against Toorak.

12 Wheatland Road

12 Wheatland Road, MalvernPhoto: Jellis Craig

$2.7 million-$2.9 million
4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 car spaces

Within walking distance of the Claremont Avenue cafes and Malvern train station, this lovely red-brick Edwardian on a corner block is rich in period detail and modern comfort.

Auction: Noon, December 9
Agent:Jellis Craig, John Morrisby 0411 875 476

29 Gordon Grove

29 Gordon Grove, MalvernPhoto: Waves

$3.1 million-$3.4 million
4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 car space

This brick Victorian is fully renovated with a huge upstairs retreat and concealed study and balcony, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. impressive kitchen abuts a living/dining zone.

Auction: 10.30am, December 16
Agent:Marshall White, James McCormack 0410 503 389

This story The leafy inner-eastern 'burb with a surprising claim to fame first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.