Sherbrooke is a picturesque settlement in the Dandenong Ranges, 35 km east of Melbourne and 6 km from Belgrave. The combination of rainfall and rich volcanic soils renders the soil fertile and the ranges are cloaked in vast tracts of forests and fern gullies, as well as some distinguished and renowned gardens. Potatoes, flowers, bulbs and berry fruits are produced for commercial purposes in the area.
There are three picnic grounds around sherbrooke. Sherbrooke Picnic Ground is adjacent Sherbrooke Rd at Sherbrooke and, just to its east, Sherbrooke Lodge Rd veers off to the south. Along here is a turnoff to O Donohue Picnic Ground which is temporarily closed to the public. Both have barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and information boards. Walking tracks lead from both grounds south through mountain ash forest and tree ferns to Sherbrooke Falls (2.4 km return) which are best seen after rain. Another track to the falls (3 km) departs from the junction of Sherbrooke Rd and Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, near Ferny Creek township, following Sherbrooke Creek.
Dandenong Ranges National Park (3215 ha) is a very attractive and popular attraction which beckons Melburnians who can gaze upon its western slopes. It offers opportunities for walking, sightseeing, picnicking, nature observation and car touring. More than 350 plant species have been recorded in the park, including the rare cinnamon wattle and smooth tea-tree, 130 bird species, 31 species of mammals (most are nocturnal), 21 reptile species and nine amphibians.
The Park is divided into five sections. The southern section is known as Sherbrooke (over 800 ha) which extends from Selby in the south to Sherbrooke in the north and the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd in the north-west. It is bisected in the middle by Monbulk Rd.
George Tindale Memorial Gardens: A popular attraction located on hillside terrain in Sherbrooke Rd (about halfway between Kallista and Sherbrooke). Covering 2.4 hectares, the Gardens have an impressive range of exotic flowering plants and shrubs under a canopy of mountain ash. In springtime, the garden boasts magnolias, azaleas, camellias, cornus and spring bulbs. Summer sees liliums, fuchsias, hydrangeas and perennials in bloom. There are cyclamen, nerines, lapageria and autumn foliage in autumn and camellias, luculia, rhododendrons and hellebores in winter.
The gardens are open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. daily. Ph: 131 963.
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens: Known for its extensive aquatic features including waterfalls. The main walkway leads down a terraced slope to an ornamental lake with islets lined by timber bridges. There is also a quaint boathouse which is a popular spot for picnics, wedding photos and ceremonies. There are many interconnecting paths which weave through the garden, passing beneath a canopy of mountain ash trees which are the largest flowering plants in the world. The gardens feature both native and exotic plants including maples, ginkgoes, liquid ambers, and flowering exotic shrubs. The birdlife includes king parrots, rosellas, ducks and kookaburras.
Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches
Burnham Beeches: An outstanding 20-room art deco house which still overlooks the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden. It was built in 1933 by Alfred Nicholas who, with his brother George, had developed the Aspro company. The Garden is located on hillside terrain in Sherbrooke Rd, on the western side of the settlement. Location: Piggery Cafe and Burnham Bakery, Burnham Beeches, 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke Forest: At an altitude of 300 m, the forest is famous for its population of Superb Lyrebirds and was an early, and still important, site for the study and conservation of this species. There are a number of excellent picnic spots within the forest. Walks around Sherbrooke Forest range from easy to somewhat steep. Sherbrooke is well known for its Superb Lyrebird population, which has increased recently with efforts to reduce the feral cat and fox population. Although early in the morning is the best time to see and hear lyrebirds, they can be seen and heard throughout the day. The males calls are particularly prominent in June.
Sherbrooke Forest, a cool temperate rainforest, is listed as endangered and is protected by the state s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. It is a habitat of the tallest flowering plant in the world, Mountain Ash, which can exceed 100 metres in height. Sherbrooke Forest has populations of swamp wallabies, wombats, platypus, echidnas and several species of possums and gliders.
Brief history: Permanent European settlement began with the building by a retired sea-captain, Robert W. Graham, of a log hut, Merrimu, hand-cut from the forest, using horizontal-slab wall construction, an adobe floor, weatherboards and a sapling/shingle roof. Now styled as the father of Sherbrooke , Graham named the area after his Canadian birthplace. He is also credited with discovering Sherbrooke Falls. A rough hut at the back of the house, with a delivery slot cut in the door, served as a post office from 1894 to 1920. Both the house and the post office building still stand.