Hawthorn is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Boroondara. At the 2011 Census, Hawthorn had a population of 21,177.
The area was first settled in the late 1830s. The Boroondara Roads Board, the first municipal authority, was set up in the 1850s and covered a remarkably similar area to the present City of Boroondara. Boroondara is an aboriginal word reputed to mean place of shade. However, the Hawthorn Roads Board and the Kew Roads Board split from the rest of Boroondara in 1860. The HRB evolved into the Town of Hawthorn and the City of Hawthorn. The state government amalgamated the Cities of Camberwell, Hawthorn and Kew in 1994 to form the City of Boroondara.
The name Hawthorn, gazetted in 1840 as "Hawthorne", is thought to have originated from a conversation involving Charles La Trobe, who commented that the native shrubs looked like flowering Hawthorn bushes. Alternatively the name may originate with the bluestone house, so named, and built by James Denham St Pinnock (see Australian DNB), which stands to this day.
The region is generally regarded to be one of Melbourne's surviving bastions of post-Gold Rush expansion and today, one of Melbourne's most affluent and influential suburbs. Land values in the region are among the country's highest, with streets such as Hawthorn Grove, in the prestigious Grace Park Estate, straddling the suburb's northern boundary and Yarra Park's Coppin Grove in the west, located closer to the Yarra River have been arguably the most sought after with properties commanding prices to match. Interestingly, there is also a considerable amount of student accommodation, due mainly to the presence of Swinburne University. This is located in the Hawthorn East and Auburn areas.
Construction of the bridge in 1860 spurred development on the east side of the Yarra River, and ensured the prominence of Bridge Road, Richmond and Burwood Road, Hawthorn as the main thoroughways to the eastern suburbs.