Moorooduc is a rural district in the centre of the Mornington Peninsula, with Mornington to its west and Somerville to its east. It is 50 km south-east of Melbourne.

Much of Moorooduc comprises well-grassed grazing and stud properties, edged with cypress windbreaks. Its relatively cleared condition is a product of human influence, as early accounts mention timber harvesting and Stumpy Gully Road is further evidence of the original tree cover. The soil, however, is good for agriculture.

The name Moorooduc was derived from a word recorded by a Government surveyor in 1854, thought to be an Aboriginal expression describing a swamp or flat area. In contrast, Moorooduc is mostly an elevated plain or slightly undulating. Settlement by farm selection began during the early 1860s and in 1865 the Moorooduc primary school was opened. There was cereal growing, orcharding and dairying. A butter factory operated during 1897-1908.

In 1889 a railway line running in an arc from Frankston to Mornington, around the physical obstruction of Mount Eliza, had a station at Moorooduc North. A cool store was built a short way east of the railway station for the storing of apples, pears, and stone fruit. Orcharding extended east to Somerville where there were also large fruit tree nurseries.

A hall was built in 1915, a general store was opened in the 1920s and an Anglican church functioned during 1932-93.The general store and the cool store no longer perform their original purposes and both are antique/craft centres.

In Moorooduc South there was a steep, divided piece of land known as the Devil’s Den. In the 1960s it, along with adjacent farmland, was acquired for a water storage for the increasing population of the Mornington Peninsula. A short way west of the Devil Bend reservoir there is a public reserve of remnant woodland. The reserve was decommissioned as a water supply facility in 2006 and became part of the Devilbend Natural Features Reserve. The Devilbend golf club is north of the reservoir.

Moorooduc has a primary school (245 pupils, 2014), Penbank community school (1974), a recreation reserve, a public hall and several wineries. The railway line closed in 1981 for ordinary services and has been taken over by the Mornington Tourist Railway. A reservation for a freeway runs north-south through Moorooduc, taking space formerly occupied by the Moorooduc Airfield.

Moorooduc’s census populations have been:

census date population
1911 215
1921 298
1947 220
1954 306
1961 322
2006 915
2011 1028

Further Reading

Valda Cole, Western Port pioneers and preachers, Hawthorn Press, 1973

Leslie Moorhead, Mornington in the wake of Flinders, Shire of Mornington, 1971

Leslie Moorhead, History of Moorooduc State School No. 2327, School Council, c1980