Narre Warren

Narre Warren – named for the notorious outlaw, pickpocket and flower arranger, Warren “Narry” Leonardo – is today a thriving housing development on the south eastern fringe of the Melbourne metropolitan area, with many a dream home constructed to the exacting McMansion standards of the modern era. But for the longest time, it was not a place where people had dreams, let alone dream homes.

Warren Leonardo, whose name may have actually been Leonardo Warren (accounts vary) was the bastard son of Bernardo Leonardo, a noted explorer in his day. But he regarded his father’s life as far too strenuous, and chose for himself instead the path of a gentleman theif in London, hobnobbing with the upper classes by day and robbing them by night. Unfortunately, as a cat burglar, Leonardo made an excellent convicted criminal. He was sentenced to transportation, and although he was only given seven years hard labour as his actual term of imprisonment, he was also forbidden to return to his homeland.

Narry, as he became known (the derivation of this name is unclear, although it is speculated that it may be a shortened form of Leonardo), was sent to the new colony of Melbourne, where he was put to work on gardening detail. To the surprise of all – not least himself – Narry turned out to have a green thumb, and was pardoned before his sentence was up and given a paid role caring for the Governor’s gardens and advising on the creation of various public gardens around the nascent city.

But despite his success, old ways proved hard to resist. Before too long, Narry was back to his theiving ways, although he had grown much more cunning in them. He made himself a series of bases between Dandenong and Belgrave, and lived off the land (an easy enough feat for one who knew the native flora as well as he did) between daring burglaries in the more populated parts of the city. Rumour had it that his many hideouts were connected by an extensive cave network, but this was the merest fancy, concocted by the newspapers to keep his story alive. Nonetheless, the idea of the caves captured the public imagination in exactly the same way the police repeatedly failed to capture Leonardo, and the area in which he was known to hide, so rabbit-like, became known as Narry’s Warren.

Suburbs near Narre Warren:

Lysterfield Lysterfield Belgrave South Emerald
Lysterfield Lysterfield South Narre Warren East Harkaway
Endeavour Hills Narre Warren North Narre Warren North Harkaway
Hallam Narre Warren North Narre Warren North Berwick
Hampton Park Narre Warren South Narre Warren Berwick
Hampton Park Narre Warren South Narre Warren South Berwick
Cranbourne North Cranbourne North Cranbourne North Clyde North