I live in Narre Warren, have done for over 20 years, it has changed a lot in that time from a sleepy little hamlet on the outskirts of Melbourne, to a thriving outer suburb. The introduction of the Freeway about 10 years ago certainly did it bit to bring a lot of people into the area. As well as Westfield Fountain Gate Shopping Center. For many years the Shire of Casey (Narre, Narre Nth, Cranbourne and surrounding areas) was the largest and quickest growing area in Victoria and in some cases Australia. I now live on the North Side (Or Old Original side, now usually referred to as Narre North) and used to live in the (New) Old Part of Narre Warren along the train tracks. Confusing isn’t it? Old Narre is now Narre North and New Narre is just Old Narre Warren. This I am just discovering after I decided that enough is enough and it was time to research this old joint a bit.
There are three interpretations of the origin of Narre Warren. One definition is that it is a corruption of the Aboriginal words for “little hills”. Another definition is that it is a corruption of the Aboriginal words for “no good” from the belief that the creek water was brackish and “no good” for drinking. The VACL website suggests that it comes from the word meaning “red ochre”. Narre Warren originally referred to the township of Narre Warren North, which was surveyed around 1860. This was later known as Old Narre Warren to distinguish it from New Narre Warren which developed around the Railway Station.The name was used in the area as early as 1837 when the Native Police Force was established at Nerre Nerre Warren, this area later became an Aboriginal Protectorate to protect the Aborigines from the white settlers. It is now the Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve.
The township of Narre Warren North grew along the track to the Emerald goldfields. With hundreds of miners marching to Emerald, Avonsleigh, Gembrook and beyond, Narre North became one of the last settlements before the diggings. The “North” was not added until much later as the settlement along the Gippsland road (Princes Highway) and the railway became more populated.
Mr. Sidney Webb, of Holly Green (Where Westfield now stands), Narre Warren pushed for the establishment of a railway station near his property and his shops, which were on the corner of the Princes Highway and what is now Webb street. I guess that is how they got the name. The railway station in Narre Warren,was opened on March 10, 1882, Once the Station was opened Sidney Webb pushed again, this time for a a road to be put through to connect ‘the township’ with the Station. In reality the ‘township’ did pretty much consist of shops that Webb had an interest in; a blacksmith, a baker, a butcher and a storekeeper. They all leased their premises from Sidney Webb.
I guess that is the start of the very familiar Webb Street Shops, still very much in existence today. The above photo is actually now where Chemist Warehouse stands…………I think It had a major face lift at some stage (I seem to remember work being done back in the very early 1990’s).
Don’t get me wrong I am not about the drop the camera and become an Historian, but I think at some point it is interesting to find out about WHERE you live and it’s history. I think Australian History, as young as it is, is not really taught much in schools, and maybe some find it a very boring and dusty old subject, I am sure everyone could learn from a small sampling of it. Maybe I am just getting OLD? I found my first foray quite interesting and I have book marked a few pages to got an look at some other interesting facts and stories about the region. Casey Cardinia – Links to our past & Casey Cardinia Library Corporation. That is where I got the historic images and info from. There seems to be a lot of old stories floating about, and some surnames that still live in the area seem to have been around a very long time. Maybe I’ll share my findings in another blog entry.