PARK WATCH Article December 2023 |

Jordan Crook, Parks and Nature Campaigner, reports on Dandenong Police Paddocks/Nerre Nerre Warrene master planning

The Dandenong Police Paddocks/Nerre Nerre Warrene reserve is an important greenspace and bushland in an increasingly urbanised landscape. It forms part of a critical corridor of continuous habitat from the suburbs of Dandenong up into the Dandenong Ranges. Wildlife, like Powerful Owls and Eastern Kangaroos, rely on it to move between the flat lands and mountains.

The park is an important cultural site for the Bunurong people, who called the place Nerre Nerre Warrene. The beautiful stands of Yellow Box trees and open green space of this natural corridor provides much needed respite from the surrounding acres of asphalt and cement.

A funding boost at the last state election promised to deliver a master plan and revitalise the reserve. Parks Victoria has now started re-working the management plan for the first time in 24 years.

Nerre Nerre Warrene is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register due to its Indigenous cultural heritage values, and past use as the base of the Mounted Division of the Victoria Police in the 1900s, from where it gets its English name.

The land was designated as a reserve for public use in 1930 under its own Act of Parliament due to the reverence the public had for the area. Today, the reserve and surrounding parks face increasing pressure from encroaching suburbia, visitor pressure, rubbish dumping, illegal trail bike use and pest plant invasion, to name a few.

How the new management plan finds solutions and ways of dealing with these pressures is going to be vital to its survival. The vision from the existing Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve Future Directions Plan, which must guide future care and management of the reserve, states:

Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve: a spiritual and historic place in which people can experience cultural and natural environments and undertake recreational pursuits in a quality rural setting.

VNPA will keep you updated on future chances for public input on the management plan.