Park Orchards

Park Orchards was once a much larger place than it was now. It had to be, to properly serve its function. The Park Orchards of early Melbourne covered much of the territory now known as Warrandyte and Wonga Park, as well as parts of Ringwood, Croydon and Donvale. It was unique, a veritable wonder of the world, and it was treated with the reverence and respect due to such a thing.

For the place was well-named: it literally was an orchard where parks were grown. Indeed, before the Gold Rush era, and even for the first couple of years into it, the parks of Park Orchards were the colony’s primary export commodity, and the money they brought in saved the precarious finances of Melbourne town on more than one occasion.

But things change: the vogue for eucalypti proved to be relatively brief, lasting a mere decade or so, and attempts to coax the park orchards into growing parks with more traditionally European flora were unsuccessful. The discovery of gold in Warrandyte saw the huge tracts of land taken up by the park orchards faced with another, more urgent demand, as a shanty town quickly grew, damaging the orchards and starving them of water. In 1866, the last of the great Park Orchards closed for good, although lines of regularly planted trees still dot the area here and three.

Suburbs near Park Orchards: