Bundoora was originally settled in the 1850s by members of the Starwatcher Coven. The members of the coven had come from various different parts of the world, including Scotland, Carpathia and Boston, but what is truly relevant about them is that no member of this coven spoke French. The mystics had gathered to perform a ritual known as Le portail de pain, which they believed would, through great sacrifice and suffering, open a portal through which they would attain understanding, knowledge and, of course, power (which knowledge is). They had come to Bundoora because it contains the highest point in the metropolitan area, the 132m tall hill now called Mt Cooper, which they believed would be an excellent place to conduct their rituals.

In 1863, the first post office in the area was opened, and its first postmaster was Guillaime du Clairmont, late of Calais. Guillaime was possessed of an active sense of humour and a profound skepticism of the supernatural. He took a great delight in informing the Starwatcher Coven members that their beloved ritual’s name did not translate as “the Gate of Pain”, but rather, as “the door of buns”. Guillaime himself became known as the Bun-Doorer, and the poor spelling that characterises Gold Rush Era Victoria soon mutated that into Bundoora, which became the name of Guillaime’s post office, and later of the area as a whole.

The Starwatcher Coven dispersed by the end of the 1860s, and the area slowly developed over the ensuing century, slowly maturing into a township, and later a suburb. However, the development of Bundoora and its surrounding suburbs really took off after the creation of La Trobe University in 1964. Perhaps there was something to Le portail de pain after all. The initial master plan for La Trobe – which is, of course, French for “the Trobe” – was designed by architectural firm Yuncken Freeman, and bore, in certain aspects, a resemblance to the geomantic designs originally laid out by the Starwatcher Coven. On the other hand, it is also the case that at least one descendant of the Starwatcher Coven was a member of the team of architects at Yuncken Freeman, so who can say?

La Trobe University, although located at the southernmost extremity of Bundoora, remains its best known landmark today, and is ranked as one of the foremost tertiary learning institutions in the whole suburb. Its construction led to a great increase in both housing demand and retail activity in the suburb, and even, two decades later, new public transport infrastructure construction. If the magic of the Stawatcher Coven was responsible for this last, then it must be a potent magic indeed.

Suburbs near Bundoora: