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The name Nunawading, thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning battlefield or ceremonial ground, was initially applied to a vast area which now incorporates Box Hill, Blackburn, Mitcham, Forest Hill and Vermont.
The township of Nunawading began life in the 1870s as a producer of bricks and clay. The name Tunstall, named after the famed pottery producing English town, was given to the area, based at the intersection of Whitehorse Road and Springvale Road. The name is still reflected in Tunstall Park, on Luckie Street, Tunstall Avenue, off Springvale Road and the Tunstall Square Shopping Centre, on Tunstall Road, in nearby Donvale. The opening of the Tunstall railway station contributed to the growth of the brick and clay industries, with orchards soon following. Tunstall Post Office opened on 1 February 1889 and was renamed Nunawading in 1945.
Following a series of Shire subdivisions throughout the 1920s, the name Nunawading fell from use. The name was reinstated in 1945 when it replaced Tunstall.
The period following World War II saw a housing boom in the area, as residential blocks began to replace orchards. The civic centre was opened in 1968 and became the administrative centre for the City of Nunawading, which was later incorporated, along with the City of Box Hill, into the City of Whitehorse, in 1994.