Established in the 1860’s it was named after Mitcham Grove, a farm owned by William Slater, who had an orchard and grew roses and herbs for perfumes and oils. William Slater and his wife had a property now called Slater Reserve, in Blackburn an adjoining suburb, William had worked in England for Potter & Moore.
One of the main attractions in Mitcham is Schwerkolt Cottage. Johann and Pauline Schwerkolt were immigrants from near Frankfurt in Prussia. In 1861 Johann bought the land near Mullum Mullum Creek, cleared it, sold charcoal he produced and then farmed fruit trees, vines and kept poultry and cows. The cottage was built from local stone and they had 8 sons and 1 daughter. It is now a museum along with the outbuildings and underground cellar.
There is a quirky house in Mitcham Road, where one can buy plants and even have Love Letters written. The Eastlink Freeway is nearby and local protests forced the developers to put the freeway through a tunnel in order to protect the bushland in Yarran Dheran reserve – a beautiful area full of birds and wildlife
Pictures and words by Margaret Lowe.