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(3783, 54 km SE, Cardinia Shire)

Gold prospectors, including many Chinese, came to Gembrook in the 1850s, and a mining company gave Gembrook its name. John and Jane Ure established the first store and post office at north Gembrook. In 1873 the Acclimatisation Society attempted to breed imported game on a site south of the present township. The experiment was unsuccessful and the land was later subdivided. The narrow-gauge railway from Ferntree Gully to Gembrook in 1900 encouraged timber-milling and brought tourists and holidaymakers into the area. In the 1920s Gilwell Park, the first of several Boy Scout camps, was established. In the early 1940s the Forests Commission built the Gembrook Kurth Kiln to produce charcoal as a substitute fuel. A landslide closed the railway in 1954 and the first section reopened as the Puffing Billy scenic railway in 1962. Gembrook is now a mainly residential area but market gardening, begun by Italian settlers in the 1930s, continues.

Jenny Keating