(3806, 42 km SE, Casey City)
Berwick was once a large, mainly pastoral shire extending nearly to Dandenong on the west and Bunyip in the east. In 1973 the western and more industrial part of the shire became the City of Berwick with the town of Berwick at its centre, and the eastern more rural part became the Shire of Pakenham.
An early European settler in the area was Terence O'Connor on the Cardinia Creek run. The Berwick Township Reserve was established on part of Captain Gardiner's original run, which he is thought to have named Berwick after his home town of Berwick-upon-Tweed in northern England. The Aboriginal name for the area, Kardinia, is interpreted as 'looking at the rising sun'.
Most of the area was covered with thick forest, and a timber-getting industry quickly developed. Sawpits were established and bullocks took the timber back to Melbourne. The cleared land was taken over for pastoral industries or dairying but timber-cutting continued in the forested hills north of what became the Princes Highway.
The discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s gave an impetus to the development of farming in the area. At first wheat and potatoes were produced and transported to Melbourne and the diggings, but as more profitable wheat-growing areas opened further out, local farmers changed to dairying and cheese-making and increased their sheep numbers. Many early farms had cheese rooms on their properties or associated cheese factories. The Berwick Agricultural Society, set up in 1848 as the Mornington Farmers' Society, was one of the earliest in the State.
Berwick's development was stimulated by its position on the route to Gippsland, which then roughly followed what is now the Princes Highway. Considerable government money was spent on the road in the late 1850s, and in 1865 the first coach service came through. Passengers changed coaches at the Border Hotel in Berwick, which had been granted its licence in 1857. Parts of the original building are still standing, and now known as the Berwick Inn, it contributes to the pseudo-English village feel of the area.
Between 1873 and 1879 the railway was built between Oakleigh and Sale, with stations at Berwick and other settlements along the line. Local stone was used in its construction from William Wilson's Berwick quarry (opened 1859). In the 1970s this became a recreation area known as Wilson Botanic Park.
Large manufacturers began to move into the west of the area in the 1950s, attracted by the relatively cheap land and good transport links, and the Housing Commission bought land there for housing. In 1956 the Shire of Dandenong sought to annex this rapidly developing area but its attempt was rejected after a public inquiry. Eventually, in 1973, the Shire of Berwick, which had superseded the Berwick Road Board (1862) in 1868, was divided along the Cardinia Creek into the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham. Its shire offices had moved years before in 1901 from Berwick to Pakenham; now new municipal offices for the City of Berwick were built at Narre Warren. After reorganisation these are now the offices of the City of Casey, which includes most of Berwick and parts of the Cities of Knox and Cranbourne. The new city was named after the former Governor-General of Australia, Lord Richard Casey, who with his wife the painter and writer Lady Maie Casey spent considerable time at their property, Edrington, east of Berwick.
The Mechanics Institute was established in 1864, the current building moving from another location in the 1870s. St Margaret's Girls' School, originally a boarding school, opened in 1920. The old Casey Airfield (established 1938) became the site of a Monash University campus and TAFE college.