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Ferntree Gully is a suburb in Melbournemarker, Victoriamarker, Australia, in the Dandenong Rangesmarker, 29 km east from Melbourne's central business district. It is in the Local Government Area of the City of Knox. At the 2006 Census, Ferntree Gully had a population of 24,724.

Ferntree Gully and Upper Ferntree Gully are the only City of Knox suburbs in the Dandenong Ranges, every other is within the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Ferntree Gully was originally called Fern Tree Gully or Fern-Tree Gully.

Ferntree Gully and Belgravemarker are sister suburbs and are very closely linked in many ways. There has been some request to have them in the same local council, as Ferntree Gully is in the City of Knox and Belgrave is in the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Environment

Natural features include a large part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park which forms a picturesque backdrop to Ferntree Gully, especially the Ferntree Gully village part of the suburb. Important features of that national park include One Tree Hill (formerly a fire-lookout, but now covered with trees, the lookout is in disrepair) and the Kokoda Trail, a memorial walk dedicated to the Kokoda Trail of WW2 (includes interpretive signage)—this part of the National Park is located in the neighbouring suburb of Upper Ferntree Gully—and accessed via the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road. It is also a place for picnics and exercise, where many community groups meet.

History

Ferntree Gully, initially known as Fern Tree Gully (and also formerly referred to as Lower Gully by locals decades ago), home to the Wurundjeri Aboriginal tribe prior to European settlement, is named after the gully which runs from One Tree Hill to the Upper Ferntree Gullymarker township. The picturesque scenery and lush flora started attracting recreational visitors from the 1870s. In 1882 the gully was set aside for public use. Throughout the 1880s the township began to grow, shops were established, as well as hotels, churches, and a primary school. With the arrival of the railway line (extended from Ringwoodmarker) in 1889, the area became more accessible to visitors. Initially the line terminated at Upper Ferntree Gully, with a narrow-gauge line extending to Gembrookmarker in 1900. The Shire of Fern Tree Gully also was proclaimed in 1889. The old shire offices, in Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully, have been restored and now house a community health service (entry via Selman Avenue). They were also used as the local library for many years. The Ferntree Gully cemetery is the resting place of a number of historically significant local people.

Ambleside Homestead, in Olivebank Road, Ferntree Gully, is the base for the Knox Historical Society. It was built in the 1890s and is the local history museum. It holds extensive collections of historic documents and photographs dating back to the 1800s. Period furnishings and artefacts and vintage farm equipment reflect the pioneer life and development of the area. Ambleside is open each Sunday from 1p.m. to 4p.m. and on other days by appointment. Access the Knox History database through www.khs.relics.com

W. Kennedy-Ross, a Scot, secured the title to the triangular section bounded by Ferntree Gully Road, Scoresby Road and Burwood Highway, in 1872. About 1886, Ross erected the Hunting Tower Hotel, which was replaced a few years later by the Club Hotel. The owner of this hotel, one W. Town, gave the name Kent Park to the area west of Dobson Street.

In the early 1900s, the of Kent Park were used for general grazing, farming, growing oats and keeping a variety of livestock.

A John Aitken bought Kent Park in 1913, selling most of the original purchase to a Mr Powell in 1921. The latter then sold to a Brigadier Knox, who in turn sold all except to Alex Creswick. In 1968/69, Hooker-Rex Estates purchased from the Creswick family, some for the current housing estate. The Education Department bought the land on which Kent Park primary school now stands, the school opened in February 1975.

Ferntree Gully Post Office opened on 1 January 1873. It was renamed Ferntree Gully South in 1967 when Ferntree Gully Lower office (open since 1948) was renamed Ferntree Gully. This latter office closed in 1997. The present Mountain Gate office opened in 1972 but was known as Ferntree Gully West for some months. Upper Ferntree Gully office opened in 1890.

Community

There is the Ferntree Gully library and community centre, where the Knox Festival is held in March of every second year (the alternaitve venue being in Rowville). Each December, the Knox Christmas Carols are held on the grounds of the Ferntree Gully football/Cricket club in Brenock Park Drive.

Notable community and retail sites in Ferntree Gully include the Cool Store (Dorset Road), the Knox Environment Society (based at the rear of Ferntree Gully Secondary College, which closed at the end of 2006) and the Knox Historical Society (based at Ambleside Historical homestead). There are two pubs in Ferntree Gully - both are on Burwood Highway (The Ferntree Gully Hotel and the Club Hotel), and a retirement village (Amaroo).

Mountain Gate Shopping centre lies on the corner of Ferntree Gully Rd and Burwood Highway. Its retail outlets include Safeway, Coles, bookstore, newsagency, butchers, bakeries and a variety of other stores.

Places of Worship

There are a number of groups providing for the local community. These include St Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Hills Christian Life Church, Ferntree Gully Baptist Church, Ferntree Gully Independent Baptist Church, Armenian Catholic Church, Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church, Foothills Community Church, Knoxfield Church of Christ, Olive Branch Fellowship, Salvation Army and Ferntree Gully Uniting Church.

Sport

There are a number of sports represented in Ferntree Gully including cricket, netball (the Mountain Districts Netball Association courts are based in Ferntree Gully), basketball (Ferntree Gully Falcons Basketball Club), Australian rules football (Ferntree Gully Eagles and Eastern Lions compete in the Eastern Football League), tennis, swimming (Knox-Sherbrooke Swimming Centre), table tennis, lawn bowls and gymnastics (Knox Gymnastics Centre). A baseball complex is located in nearby Upper Ferntree Gully (Kings Park, Willow Road, Upper Ferntree Gully)

Community Groups

Community groups include Scouts Girl Guides and Rotary

Education

There are several Primary schools — Wattleview Primary School, Ferntree Gully North Primary School, Kent Park Primary School, Mountain Gate Primary School,St John the baptist, and Fairhills Primary School. The site of the former Ferntree Gully Primary school (Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully) houses a number of buildings of historical significance for the area. The school itself closed at the end of the 2005 school year.

There is one secondary school in Ferntree Gully — St Joseph's College (A Catholic boys college in the care of the Salesians of Don Bosco for students in Years 7 – 12). The other secondary school — Ferntree Gully Secondary College ( for students in Years 7 – 12) closed at the end of the 2006 school year. The U3A (University of the Third Age) for retired persons is a co-operative education setting located in Ferntree Gully.

There are a number of kindergartens in Ferntree Gully (including Bena Angliss Pre-school) — it is recommended that interested parties contact Knox City Council for more information regarding kindergartens in Ferntree Gully.

Transport

Ferntree Gully has a railway stationmarker located on Station Street, near the shopping district, but its official name is Fern Tree Gully, having been changed to that in February 1972. Bus routes also service the suburb.

Former Famous Residents

Retired Cricketer Shane Warne was born in Upper Ferntree Gully on 13 September 1969 at the Angliss Hospital (Talaskia Road, Upper Ferntree Gully), as well as Brisbane Lions triple premiership player Shaun Hart.

Noel John McNamara (born 12 January 1938) is an Australian campaigner for victims of crime and outspoken critic of the Australian justice system. In 1993 Noel established the Crime Victims Support Association (CVSA) with his wife Bev McNamara. The association is politically involved and lobbies the government on criminal law reform and greater support for victims of crime.

Dean Weston, founder of the Weston cider company and patriach of the Weston dynasty, grew up and spent his trouble making days on the streets of Fern Tree Gully.

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