Menzies Creek

Menzies Creek is a rural township in the Dandenong Ranges, 42 km south-east of Melbourne, and 5 km east of Belgrave. It was the second station from Belgrave on the narrow gauge railway (1900) to Gembrook, now the ‘Puffing Billy’ scenic railway. The station, however, was named Aura after a nearby property, and the two names coexisted until the 1940s. Aura is now part of the name of a lake linked to the Cardinia reservoir, south of Menzies Creek.

The name Menzies Creek came from James Menzies, an early miner on the Emerald diggings. Extensive gold workings occurred in the Menzies Creek area in the 1860s, followed by timber splitters and, later, selectors in 1873. The slopes above Menzies Creek were noted for giant mountain ash trees and tree ferns.

In 1882 the Menzies Creek school was opened, but by 1900 when the railway was opened there was no general store or post office. These came the following year. An Anglican church was built in 1903. Unlike some other townships in the area, Menzies Creek did not attract weekenders because subdivision was stopped by owners who held land in large parcels. A recreation reserve was established in 1929 and a public hall was built in 1953.

Near the ‘Puffing Billy’ station there are a railway museum, the Menzies Creek store and tea room, the fire station and the Dandenong Ranges Steiner school. The State primary school had 165 pupils in 2014.There are several plant nurseries near the township and St Cuthbert’s Anglican church came into private ownership for use as a wedding chapel.

Census populations have been:

Area Census date Population
Menzies Creek 1911 81
  1954 198
  2001 503

Menzies Creek and environs

2006 1845
  2011 911*

* census area in 2011 smaller than in 2006

Further Reading

Helen Coulson, Story of the Dandenongs, 1838-1958, Melbourne, 1968

Menzies Creek, a history, Menzies Creek Primary School, 1982