Located some 35 km from Melbourne, Dandenong Township is situated in the Dandenong Ranges and on a clear day Melbourne can be seen on the horizon from the 633m-high summit of Mt Dandenong.
Dandenong - Aboriginal History
The traditional aboriginal owners of the Dandenong country are the Wurundjeri people. The Wurundjeri Aborigines were nomadic hunters and gatherers who used the Dandenong's as their summer hunting ground. Mount Dandenong was called 'Corrhanwarrabul', meaning a beautiful place where birds sang, kangaroos jumped and lyrebirds performed.
James Clow was the first white man settled in the Dandenongs in the 1830's when he took up land stretching from the Dandenong to Olinda and Monbulk and named his property the aboriginal name 'Corrhanwarrabul'. Settler's runs soon covered the whole of the Dandenongs. In the 1870's Baron Von Mueller set up semi permanent base in the Dandenong basin and made an intense study of the indignant flora. Timber was felled extensively and camps were opened in Olinda, Kallista and Sassafras in the ensuing years. Between 1880 and 1900 the forests were finally decimated when settlers were allocated 10-acre lots to farm.
Dandenong Ranges - Attractions
The Puffing Billy is a restored steam train and is major attraction that toots and puffs its way through the picturesque hills and fern gullies of the Dandenong's. Opposite the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens is the Sherbrooke Forrest Picnic ground where crimson rosellas visit. The pretty town of Emerald, about 15km east of Belgrave, has Emerald Lake Park has picnic areas and the largest model railway in Australia, with over 2km of tracks and miniature hills. The Dandenong Ranges National Park is made up of the four largest areas of natural forest in the Dandenong's. The 5 sections of the park each have walking tracks. The Ferntree Gully area; named for an abundance of tree ferns, includes the popular 1000 steps track to One Tree Hill picnic ground and is part of the Kokoda Memorial Track in memory of the Australian service mean who fought and died along the infamous Kokoda Trail in WW II. The William Ricketts Sanctuary features Ricketts' 92 extraordinary kiln-fired clay and ceramic sculptures in the exquisite style he developed over many years from his associated with the Pitjantjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people. The National Rhododendron Gardens offer superb views and are a kaleidoscope of colour in season. The Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens are worth a visit and were originally the grounds of the country mansion of Alfred Nicholas, as are the George Tindale Memorial gardens. On the western slopes of Me Dandenong, Doongalla Forest is a mix of dry forest and exotic plants; while the Olinda Forest has the most undisturbed habitat in the park, and the Mt Evelyn area has pockets of rare plant species.