Doongalla Homestead walk

Doongalla Estate forest

Doongalla Homestead walk

Doongalla Estate forest

Staff Pick
1 h 57 m
7.86 km
Intermediate

Starting from the local shopping centre this walk takes in heritage, beautiful views, some of the district’s earliest exotic tree plantings, and the site of a magnificent late Victorian mansion.

Doongalla Homestead walk

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Summary

Starting from the local shopping centre this walk takes in heritage, beautiful views, some of the district’s earliest exotic tree plantings, and the site of a magnificent late Victorian mansion.

Description

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Doongalla Estate Forest Reserve, managed as part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park by Parks Victoria, is 35 km east of Melbourne Australia, and 8 km from the nearest suburban rail station at Boronia on the Belgrave line.

The walk from The Basin shopping centre to Doongalla showcases the many and varied environments that have attracted so many local residents to the foothills of ‘the blue Dandenongs’: spacious fringe urban areas adjoining the shops, ‘green wedge’ areas reserved from development across the road; semi-rural properties along Sheffield and Doongalla Roads; finally, seemingly primeval forest in Doongalla Estate, including areas of dry, open forest and lush rainforest gullies.

The walk also highlights the rich and varied cultural and heritage features of the district. The former Salvation Army Boys’ Home, opened in 1913, was named ‘Eden’ and brought generations of city boys from troubled backgrounds into contact with life on the land.

The Basin Theatre Company has presented quality stage productions for decades. The Chandler Oak site provides a tangible link with the past, but also shows innovative approaches to conservation of the natural ecology.

The forest reserve itself provides many opportunities for both passive and active recreation: nature walking, jogging, mountain bike riding, geo-caching, photography; sitting listening to the sounds of the forest, its rich bird-life, bubbling creeks, and wind in the trees.

‘Place of Peace’ indeed: a stimulating and invigorating walk so close to the city, but ending in magnificent forest.

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Points of Interest

1. The Basin shopping centre

The Basin’s first shops were established in the 1920s, and the Progress Hall was erected in 1926. The present Mountain Hwy shops date from 1965

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2. Wicks Reserve

Ferntree Gully Shire Council acquired 9 ha of land formerly owned by Edmund and Janet Wicks in 1942 as a reserve. The Wicks ’selected’ their land in 1873. Edmund died in 1880.

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3. Chandler oak

William Chandler planted an acorn beside Dobsons Creek in 1875 to mark the birth of his son, Archibald. Dobsons Creek has the highest ecological values of any City of Knox waterway.

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4. The Basin Theatre

Edna Chandler, wife of William Chandler’s grand-son Fergus, founded The Basin Theatre in 1954. The Chandler family donated land for the building in 1973.

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5. Dandenong Creek

Dandenong Creek is of significance to the Aboriginal people as marking a ‘song-line’ placed by their creator spirit, Bunjil. The creek crossing is a good spot for sighting wild-life.

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6. The Stables

The former stables were located below the main homestead. A small tramway used to transport construction materials from the valley for the house terminated here.

7. Doongalla Homestead

Doongalla homestead was constructed in 1892 by Sir Matthew Davies, a well known land speculator in the 1880s land boom, who named the property ‘Invermay'. The house burned down in 1932.

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Features

Picnic Spot Picnic Spot
Drinking Water available Drinking Water available
Seating Available Seating Available
Public toilets Public toilets
Historical Interest Historical Interest
Local Treasures Local Treasures
Art and Culture Art and Culture
Park / Garden Park / Garden