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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, in 1920.

Interestingly there is a sole Palm Tree reserve in the centre, The Town Hall stands proud to the left, From a time when all the shops still had verandas and some country charm, with a population between 3,000 and 4,000 it very much was still a village/town.

Well before the streets of Dandenong became synonymous with the sounds of bellowing cattle, cracking whips and barking dogs the district was alive with an enviable mixture of natural resources. Red gums and She oaks, flowing water, rich soil for agriculture and great potential for dairy farming, added to its proximity to Melbourne, helped define the tiny township’s support role in helping to build booming Melbourne.

Although first settled in the 1840’s it wasn’t until the 1850’s that the signs of organized industry began to emerge as dray load after dray load of felled red gums made their way to Melbourne with much needed timber to establish wharves, timber street pavers and railway lines.

Supporting this industry was a small labour force and, along with a handful of bold settlers, they laid the foundations of the bustling town that continues over 160 years later to draw people, business and industry into it boarders.

Dandenong’s proximity to Gippsland also meant that it soon became known as “The Gateway to Gippsland” as it was perfectly placed with road, and later, railway links to Gippsland’s own network of, once considered, inexhaustible natural resources.

In 1865, when Dandenong had a population of 250, the then Minister for Lands described Dandenong as “The most picturesque little town he had ever seen”. In 1868 the first cattle market opened. The shanty town was now a market town and Dandenong had found its thumping heart.

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