Dandenong Ranges National Park
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View from Woolrich Lookout across Olinda Forest, May 2007

The Mt Dandenong Massif - an extinct volcano!
The Dandenong Ranges National Park will satisfy all levels of interests of bushwalking enthusiasts!
It is conveniently located on the doorstep of Melbourne, and over one million visitors are atttracted to the Park each year, enjoying a variety of recreational opportunities, flora and fauna.
More than 300 million years ago, a large volcano erupted through the earth's crust, near the present township of Olinda. The impact of weathering on  the volcanic rocks by the water and wind contrasted with the softer sedimentary rocks to form the Dandenong Ranges.
The Park has a rich Aboriginal heritage. the Wurundjeri Aboriginal people lived in the area and were believed to have followed tracks through the foothills to hunting gronds in the Great Divide. They had an intimate knowledge of the native plants and animals and this allowed them to obtain vegetable products, including roots, leaves, stalks, fruits, gums and resins.
The highest peak is Mt Dandenong, at 633m, and the second highest point is nearby Mt. Cornhanwarrabul, 628m.
The park covers an area of about 3215 hectares, with some 250 km of walking tracks. The Park perimeter is about 150 km.
Settlers moved to the foothills in the early 1850s and undertook widespread clearing of the forests for agriculturall land and timber resources. In the late 1860s, the Dandenongs became the retreat of the wealthy and then the general population with the introduction of the motor car. In 1882, land was reserved as a site for public recreation and in 1927 the area was declared the Ferntree Gully National Park.
In the early days, travel was mainly by foot, bullock train, or coach and horses, and the first motor cars appeared in the ranges about 1910. There was once a proposal to build a railway from Boronia to Olinda, but this was later abandoned.
Until the early 1950s, a tourist railway operated from the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, known as Fox's Point Scenic Railway, situated between Montrose and Kalorama, but was decommisioned in the late 1950's.
The Park was proclaimed in December 1987, with the amalgation of the Ferntree Gully National park, the Sherbrooke Forest and Doongalla Estate. The Olinda State Forest, Mt Evelyn and Montrose Reserve were formally added to the National Park in 1997.
Many of today's walking trails were once logging or bullock tracks, and subsequently were converted into fire management tracks when logging was phased out. They are now shared with walkers, cyclists, joggers, and horse/pony riders.
The Park is divided into these five general administrative sections:
The geology, history and development of the Park are of great interest to me!
If you never never go, you'll never never know!
Recommended publications:
The Dandenong Ranges National Park Visitor Guide, published by Parks Victoria, is an excellent resource, containing a comprehsive map, and may be downloaded as a PDF file.
"Fire on the Hill - Flowers in the Valley" is a very comprehensive publication, alternatively titled "The History of the Basin", originally written in 1992 and recently updated for on-line viewing or downloading. It describes in great detail the settlement, origins, history and development of The Basin district in the foothills of the Dandenongs. It includes maps, photographs and illustrations. Its author is Richard Cox Hill, a Basin resident, formerly of the Telstra Research Laboratories. A recommended resource for anyone wishing to learn about the origins of the many walking tracks and roades in that section of the Dandening Ranges.
Sherbrooke Forest its Flora and History
Authored by Ms Vivien Freshwater with substantial contributions from Friends of Shrebrooke Forest , the book contains a comprehensive history of Sherbrooke Forest with 170 plant descriptions and colourful photographs.
Distances to the start of walks, from Melbourne, are in brackets against their descriptions