History of Whitehorse

Article image - History of Whitehorse White horse sculpture Unity by Stephen Glasborow 1999.

The City of Whitehorse was proclaimed in December 1994, following the amalgamation of the former cities of Box Hill and Nunawading. The birth of the city reunited the suburbs that formed the original Shire of Nunawading more than one hundred years ago.

The municipality derives its name and logo from the white horse statue dating back to the 1850s that adorned the front entrance of the city’s first hotel – the Whitehorse Inn.

The statue’s history is bound up with a temperance campaign.

In 1920, the year prohibition officially came into force in the United States, local option polls were undertaken and the Nunawading district, which included Box Hill, was one of only two in Victoria that voted to completely ban liquor licensing.

As a result, the White Horse Inn, opened in 1853, was forced to cease trading. It became a boarding house until 1933 when it was demolished.

At that time the owners donated the old hotel’s symbol, the white horse statue, to the city and it was erected on the former site of the hotel.

The white horse symbolises the city’s identity and appeared on the former City of Box Hill’s coat of arms.