Belgrave, the gateway to the Dandenong Ranges, offers a dynamic mix of mainstream and alternate options for its visitors. Attracting tourists from far and wide as well as providing for a thriving local community, Belgrave's shopping precinct is a vibrant hub for shopping and cafe lifestyle with all the major services anyone could need, all nestled in the beautiful surroundings of the Sherbrooke forest. Belgrave is a suburb of Melbourne, located 35 km east from Melbourne s central business district in the southern Dandenong Ranges.
Belgrave's diversity allows it to also offer the alternatives of holistic services such as organic and locally grown produce, health foods, organic cafes and take away. Such alternatives cater for those with food intolerances, natural healing, fair trade goods, free range and chemical free meats.
Puffing Billy Railway: Belgrave's most notable attraction is the heritage narrow gauge, steam-operated Puffing Billy Railway, which was reopened in 1962 - after four years of restoration by volunteers. It travels through 24 kilometres of cool temperate rainforest, semi-urban development and rural farmland between Belgrave and Gembrook. The Belgrave township is only a short walk away from the railway station.
This century-old steam train continues to run on its original mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook. Puffing Billy was built to serve at the turn of the century and is a genuine relic of our more leisurely days. The Railway is the major survivor of four experimental lines used to develop rural areas in the early 1900s.
Belgrave Station is the headquarters of the Railway, with both operating and administrative facilities. Most Puffing Billy trains commence their journeys here. The Locomotive Running Shed and Workshop is where storage, maintenance and restorations take place on the Puffing Billy family of locomotives.
Other nearby attractions include The 1000 Steps, Sherbrooke Forest and Sherbrooke Falls in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
How to get there: Belgrave is the terminus of the Belgrave Suburban Electric Railway Line, with the steam train Puffing Billy just beyond its station. Bus services are located throughout the suburb, and go to Oakleigh, Ringwood, Lilydale, Box Hill, Emerald, Glen Waverley, Olinda, Monbulk andWestfield Knox. There are also many extremely local buses that go to very nearby places like Belgrave South, Upwey and Ferntree Gully.
Brief history: Belgrave was first settled in 1851, making it only 16 years younger than Melbourne. Belgrave was named after an 1840s chapel in Leeds, Yorkshire, England; the name carried by Mr and Mrs R.G. Benson when they came to Melbourne in 1856. Their sons, the Benson Brothers, settled in the Belgrave district in the 1870s. A Post Office opened in the area around 1904. Many men from Belgrave went to war, and there is a war memorial in Belgrave.