Narre Warren North
Narre Warren North is about 40 km south-east of central Melbourne and 5 km north of Narre Warren.
A form of the name Narre Warren was first used for the area west of Narre Warren North, now known as the Dandenong Police Paddocks. A camp for native police was set up there in 1837. It was later an Aboriginal Protectorate Station and then a breeding depot for police horses. By the 1870s the land to the east of the government reserve had been selected for smaller farms and when a town was surveyed there it became known as Narre Warren. It is a name of Aboriginal origin. There were several forms and spellings and various meanings have been attributed, one being small hills. The first buildings in the township were an Anglican church and a Methodist chapel (1876) which was used as a school. A post office and store soon followed. A government school was built in 1877 and a mechanics' institute hall in 1888.
In the late 1870s the railway line from Melbourne to Gippsland was constructed, passing several kilometres south of the Narre Warren township. In 1883 a railway station was established and was known as New Narre Warren. A settlement developed at the station and gradually claimed the name Narre Warren. Old Narre Warren became Narre Warren North.
After the land was cleared there was some wheat and barley grown, but mixed farming and dairying soon became more important. Many orchards, particularly apples, were planted. In 1926, Brundretts established their rose nurseries, now remembered by Brundrett Road.
By the early 1990s urban subdivisions in Narre Warren went over the border into Narre Warren North, and the border was shifted from Anaconda Road northwards to Ernst Wanke Road (the German-Lutheran Wanke family settled at Harkaway in the 1850s). Rural/residential subdivision followed in Narre Warren North, and by 2010 flanked the village on two sides. The village was not much altered, keeping its avenue of honour in Memorial Drive, hall, general store, Uniting church and school (313 pupils, 2014).
Away to the east runs A'Beckett Road, named after Sir William a'Beckett (1806-69), solicitor-general and supreme court judge. He built the Grange homestead there in 1862, which became the Boyd family's property where Arthur Boyd painted wall frescoes in 1949. The house and most of the frescoes fell to the wrecker's ball, but the hilltop site is a local landmark. It looks out on mostly undomesticated landscape.
Narre Warren North's census populations have been:
Tourist attractions in the area are a tank museum and a miniature railway. Lysterfield Lake, a reservoir from 1936 until 1975, is now part of a park containing remnant native vegetation and abundant wildlife.
Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society, In the wake of the pack tracks: a history of the Shire of Berwick, now the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham, 1982
From bullock tracks to bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick, 1962
Max Thomson, Little hills 1839-1977, Narre Warren North, 1977
N.E. Beaumont, Early days of Berwick and its surrounding districts of Beaconsfield, Upper Beaconsfield, Harkaway, Narre Warren and Narre Warren North, 3rd ed, 1979