The history of Manningham dates back thousands of years to the Wurundjeri tribe whose way of life was closely linked to the natural environment and identified with specific areas of land in both a physical and spiritual sense.

In the late 1830s, the first European settlers began growing wheat, vegetables and grapes before eventually planting orchards throughout the area. The district's real windfall came with the discovery of gold in Warrandyte and by 1851 thousands of fortune hunters were trying their luck panning the streams and digging the rich soil around Harris Gully.

Local Government in the area dates back to the election of the Templestowe District Roads Board in 1856. The first meeting of the Board was held in the Upper Yarra Hotel at Templestowe.

On February 28, 1967 the Shire of Doncaster and Templestowe was proclaimed a City. The Doncaster and Templestowe Council administered the area until December 15, 1994, when the City of Manningham formed as a result of local government amalgamations.

Manningham has retained many links to its cultural heritage with a large number of heritage places, buildings, trees and landscapes, reflecting the area's habitation by local indigenous people, early gold mining settlements and orcharding past.