The Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve is an important addition to the network of parks and reserves in the south-east metropolitan growth corridor of Melbourne. Covering an area of 499 hectares, the reserve has significant cultural and environmental values. It contains Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, areas of significant indigenous vegetation and a number of sporting venues. The reserve is being developed to strengthen and enhance the area as a spiritual and historic place in which people can experience cultural and natural environments and undertake recreational pursuits in a quality rural setting.
Things to Do
- The Dandenong Police Paddocks has a diverse combination of rural bushland, cultural heritage and sporting areas.
- There are recreational opportunities for walkers, cyclists, bird watchers, dog owners, golfers, athletes and many more.
- Nerre Nerre Warren Picnic Area, at the end of Brady Road, is a newly developed picnic area that caters for a range of visitors.
- Stroll along one of the many trails in the area that form a network in the Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve. There is a short 700 metre walk to the rear of the picnic area that is suitable for visitors with limited mobility.
- An information shelter in the picnic area provides history and reports on future developments.
- For a more hands-on approach, consider joining the Friends of Dandenong Police Paddocks Group, which has been active since 1993. In its short lifetime the group has planted thousands of native plants, rehabilitated a wetland area, constructed and installed nestboxes and participated in many Clean Up Australia days. The regular planned activities are designed to allow people of all ages to enjoy and participate in the protection of the reserve.
- The group produces a quarterly newsletter that lists upcoming events and activities and keeps members in touch with the latest developments in the management of the Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve. Members of the group range in age from five to 80 and come from all walks of life.
- Nerre Nerre Warren Picnic Area has barbecue and picnicking facilities, shelter from the elements and easy-access parking.
- There are toilets to cater for all, including visitors with limited mobility.
The Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve is one of the most significant heritage places in the Melbourne Region. It has been important to Aboriginal people both before and after European settlement in Victoria.
Aboriginal people knew the location as Nerre Nerre Warren and had been visiting this area for more than 35,000 years. Nerre Nerre Warren probably served as a camping ground and a place where ceremonies and gatherings were held.
The Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate Station was established to 'protect' Aboriginal people from the frontier violence by encouraging them to move to government stations. From October 1840 to December 1844, the 'official' headquarters for the Melbourne or Western Port District was Nerre Nerre Warren. At this location, school classes and religious services were held for Aboriginal people and rations provided in exchange for manual labour.
The Native Police Corps was stationed here from 1842 to the early 1850s. The Corps, consisting of Aboriginal men under the leadership of Captain Dana, were involved in dealing with disputes between Aboriginal and European people across Victoria.
The Native Police were also the first police stationed on the goldfields and they acted as guards at Pentridge Prison at Coburg.
Aboriginal people worked as trackers with the Victorian Police between 1879 and 1963. Until 1931, many of the trackers were based with the Victorian Police Horse Stud Depot at the Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve.
The reserve forms part of an important wildlife corridor in the Melbourne region, providing connecting habitat between a number of parklands. The reserve is home to significant species such as the Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) and Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua). Forming the western boundary, the Dandenong Creek provides habitat for at least four native fish species.
Within the reserve there are about 90 native plant species in three vegetation communities including swamp scrub. Remnants of this community can be found along the Dandenong Creek.
Swamp scrub comprises many plant species including thickets of Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca ericafolia), shrub layers of Prickly Currant Bush (Coprosma quadrifida), Bidgee Widgee (Acema novaezelandiae) and stands of Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata). Remnant swamp scrub communities throughout Melbourne have been depleted, making this a site of regional significance.
Looking After the Park
How to Get There
- Please take your rubbish with you.
- Dogs are permitted in some areas of the park. All dogs in the picnic area must be kept on a lead at all times. Dogs are permitted on the Woodland Walk but must be on a lead at all times. Dog owners can run their dogs off lead on the two ovals adjacent to Brady Road.
- Firearms and the lighting of fires are prohibited.
- Trail bikes and horses are not permitted in any area of the reserve.
- Please observe gate opening and closing times on your arrival.
- All plants and animals in the park are protected by law.
The Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve is about 30 kilometres south-east of Melbourne and four kilometres north-east of Dandenong. The main vehicle access to the park is from Brady Road (Melway ref: 81 K11). This road will take you straight to the Nerre Nerre Warren Picnic Area. There are several other pedestrian access points to the reserve. Most other access points are from Churchill Park Drive (Melway ref: 82 A9) and Power Road (Melway ref: 82 B11) although parking is limited.
Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve is open every day of the year. The park opens at 10:00 AM every day, but closing times vary according to daylight savings. For up-to-date information on park closing times call the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963.
Yet to be reviewed.