The part of Coldstream nearest the river contains Yering and Yeringberg, where the Ryrie brothers, overlanders from New South Wales, found grazing on the open river flats in 1838. William Ryrie planted the first vineyard in the Lilydale district on his Yering cattle station in the year of his arrival. Other vineyards followed in the 1850s and 1860s, several planted or tended by skilled workers from Switzerland.
Grazing was mostly confined to sheep and cattle, but by the 1880s the proximity of the railway (to Lilydale, 1881 and to Yarra Glen, 1888), made dairying profitable. Declining grape yields caused the uprooting of some vineyards at the turn of the century, and fungal infection in 1918 was a serious blow. By then Coldstream was a milk-producing district. The last recorded grape harvest was in 1937, and thirty years passed before there was a revival of viticulture.
Coldstream did not have a school until recently, but there was one at Yering West (1880-1905) and one continues at Yering (1869).
The western side of Coldstream contains the Lilydale airfield and the Coldstream and Yering stations on the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway. The Coldstream township and residential area, just south of the junction of the Melba and Maroondah Highways, contains a drive-in shopping centre, a new primary school and recreation reserves. At the junction of the highways is Coombe Cottage, the estate of Dame Nellie Melba (Helen Mitchell). operatic soprano (1861 - 1931). Another airfield is east of the township.
Several vineyards are in the Coldstream and Yering district, forming part of the Yarra Valley wineries region, which had over 30 such establishments in 1997.
Peel, Lynette J., Viticulture at Geelong and Lilydale, Victorian Historical Magazine, November, 1965.
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