Lost buildings of Lilydale

Lilydale Community Youth Club was on the original site of the Gasworks building. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS. 234335_53

By Joy Gothe, Lilydale and District Historical Society

Another glimpse into the lost buildings of Lilydale was the impressive old brick building left behind from the Gasworks that were at the end of Market Street next to the swimming pool.

In June 1886 at the Hodson’s Lilydale Hotel, the first meeting was held to discuss the idea of establishing a gasworks in the township, a public meeting was then called for at Poyner’s Dining Hall in July 1886, with many excited local storekeepers and residents turning up.

The decision was made to form a company for the purpose of lighting and providing Lilydale with Gas.

The Lilydale Gas Company was formed in June 1887 offering 10,000 shares at one pound each, which were purchased by residents of the town.

Local builder, Samuel Dornom who had already built many buildings in Lilydale, was contracted to carry out the construction. Henry Hyne’s Bricks were selected for use in the buildings for their excellent quality and ability to withstand great heat.

The works comprised of a large imposing brick building, and a huge gasometer encased in a brick tank.

The Gasworks opened in August 1887 with an official Ceremony and the Illumination festivities were of a very extensive character, as was fitting on so important an occasion and continued on into the evening. Large numbers of people flocked through Main Street intent on seeing for the first time in Lilydale the magnificent lighting supplied from the company’s works.

Ascending the hill to the centre of the town, quite a blaze of light met the eye in all directions.

The shops and homes were festooned with coloured lights and huge stars adorned the front of many buildings.

The works a whole new industry as shop owners and home owners purchased gas light fittings for their premises and homes.

The Gasworks operated until the 1930’s when it went into liquidation.

Unfortunately, the works were sold in January 1935.

Later the Council purchased some of the land for flood prevention works and demolished the old brick building in June 1947.

What a sad day, destroying such a unique solid brick building, if it had been restored it surely would have provided a fabulous space for many community activities.

The Lilydale Community Youth Club is now built over the site.

If you want to discover more about the history of Lilydale, visit lilydalehistorical.com.au or email info@lilydalehistorical.com.au