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Ths author is a Chartered Professional Engineer, providing specialized consultancy services in International Broadcasting Engineering. He is graduate of the Royal Melbourne Instiutute of Technology.and holds the rank of Member, Institution of Engineers Australia . he is a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for Services to Shortwave Radio, and was employed by the PMG's Dept/ATC/Telecom Australia from 1956 until 1997...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Exploring Menzies Creek, Victoria

Menzies Creek is a rural township in the Dandenong Ranges, 42 km south-east of Melbourne, and 5 km east of Belgrave.

It was the second station from Belgrave on the narrow gauge railway to Gembrook, now the "Puffing Billy" scenic railway. The station, however, was named Aura after a nearby property, and the two names co-existed until the 1940s. Aura is now part of the name of a lake linked to the Cardinia reservoir.

The name Menzies Creek came from James Menzies, an early miner on the Emerald diggings.

Extensive gold workings occurred in the Menzies Creek area in the 1860s, followed by timber splitters and, later, selectors in 1873. The slopes above Menzies Creek were noted for giant mountain ash trees and tree ferns.

In 1882 the Menzies Creek school was opened, but by 1900 when the railway was opened there was no general store or post office. These came the following year. An Anglican church was built in 1903. Unlike some other townships in the area, Menzies Creek did not attract weekenders because subdivision was stopped by owners who held land in large parcels.

A recreation reserve was established in 1929 and a public hall was built in 1953.

Near the "Puffing Billy" station there is a railway museum, the Menzies Creek store and tea room, the fire station and a kindergarten which operates in the public hall. There are several plant nurseries near the township.Menzies Creek's census populations have been 81 (1911) and 198 (1954).

I explored the region on March 25, 2008, for short hikes in Bob's Park adjacent to the Aura Vale Lake, and in the Black Hill Bushland Reserve.

There are superb views from Black Hill across open country and farmland to the Cardinia Reservoir and beyond.

Access to Bob's Park is now limited to walkers - the public access road has now been closed for an indefinite period.

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