Cardinia Shire – Past, Present & Future?
A Guide to Cardinia acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Bunurong and Wurundjeri people.
Cardinia Shire is located on the traditional lands of the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. I would be delighted to recount their history – even a summary of it – pre-western-colonisation, but I am afraid I know little about it. Even the local history sites do not include much, if any, information in this regard. (If you or someone you know of would be interested in educating me, and perhaps all of us, please get in touch with me here)
The areas within the present-day boundaries of Cardinia Shire were originally parts of the Cranbourne and Berwick districts, which were incorporated in 1860 and 1862 respectively. The Shire of Fern Tree Gully, later Shire of Sherbrooke, split away in 1889 and included areas to the east of Melbourne. In 1973, the City of Berwick, including Berwick and areas closer to Dandenong, split away from the Shire of Berwick, with the remainder being renamed Shire of Pakenham.
The Shire came into being on 15 December 1994 as the result of statewide local government reform, by merging the Shire of Pakenham with rural sections of the Shire of Sherbrooke and City of Cranbourne.
The Shire of Cardinia contains the only area of Melbourne to use telephone numbers beginning with the exchange prefix 5 – this is a leftover from when it used the area code 059-xx xxxx.
Credit Source: Wikipedia
- 1860 – Cranbourne Road Board proclaimed
- 1861 – The town of Berwick and the town of Cranbourne proclaimed
- 1862 – Berwick Road Board proclaimed
- 1868 – Shire of Cranbourne proclaimed
- 1868 – Shire of Berwick proclaimed
- 1889 – The Scoresby Ward of the Shire of Berwick, including Scoresby, Fern Tree Gully, Clematis, parts of Emerald and Avonsleigh was severed from Berwick and became the Shire of Fern Tree Gully
- 1893 – Yannathan and Lang Lang East annexed from the Shire of Buln Buln to the Shire of Cranbourne
- 1963 – Shire of Fern Tree Gully split and the Shire of Knox formed(it became a City in 1969)
- 1963 – The remains of the Shire of Fern Tree Gully were renamed Shire of Sherbrooke
- 1973 – The City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham were formed when the Shire of Berwick split
- 1994 – City of Cranbourne created
- 1994 – The City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire officially came into being
Credit Source: Casey Cardinia – links to our past
In essence, the modern Shire has only existed for roughly a quarter of a century, and so it is a little tricky to properly show how it has grown in a short article. However, last year, the Shire of Cardinia reached 100,000 people. That’s pretty significant for what is still for the most part (geographically at least) a rural area. On average, we have less than one person per hectare (compare to Casey, with about 350,000 people and almost 9 per hectare). More than seventy-five percent of our land is still used for agriculture. To really emphasise this, the growth corridor through the centre of the Shire was estimated to have a population of about 74,000 in 2019 – meaning 75% of the population is through Officer, Beaconsfield and Pakenham with slightly more than 7 people per hectare.
Even with the recent redistribution of Wards within the Shire, it is not hard to see the possibility of another Shire redistribution in the future, with the northern and southern parts of Cardinia being peeled off to merge with surrounding shires. Possible, but not likely at this point.
Reflecting the growth and changing shape of the area, there are 8 locations listed on on the Victorian Heritage Register, from Kurth Kiln in the north, to the Bayles Bridge No. 1 and No. 2 in the south. We have far more places of interest than that, however, and in recent years we have seen almost an influx of larger developments – several based around election time investment promises, but not all.
Gumbuya Park was bought and grew into Gumbuya World. A $2 billion train yard is still under construction just outside of Pakenham. The replacement of level crossings has begun, with skyrail on the horizon and all of the development that will bring. Just south of Pakenham the new Motor Sport Complex is about to become a reality, and just beside the Cardinia Club, the first “real” hotel for the region is being built. All of this on top of the existing features – Puffing Billy, Emerald Lake Park, Mt Cannibal, Bayles Fauna and Flora Park, Emerald Museum & Nobelius Heritage Park, Pakenham Racing Club, The Light Horse & Field Artillery Museum (when it’s up and running again) and more.
Of course, the rumoured airport down Koo Wee Rup way is still coming… but K Mart probably isn’t 😉
With the Shire being one of the 10 fastest growing LGAs by population in the country, and the Pakenham East development with up to 7,200 new homes likely going ahead, there’s only one direction for Cardinia – and it doesn’t involve remaining a rural municipality.
So what does it mean? What else can we expect to see in the Shire? What are we going to lose to see these changes happen?
Let’s have a guesstimate (and please understand, this is speculation – don’t go quoting this as fact):
- In Pakenham, Officer and Beaconsfield more – much more – multi-story development. It’s already beginning with the revamping of the Pakenham Place. There are plans in place for the Main Street as well, although details vary, but combined with the coming Skyrail, it would not surprise me if the three areas of Pakenham plaza, Main Street and Pakenham Place gradually merged into a single large food and retail hub.
- The motorsport complex will become the replacement for Sandown, and as a consequence, the hotel going in beside the Cardinia Club and the one planned for the complex itself will just be the first of quite a few.
- The airport will happen. Eventually.
- Someone will invest in both the The Light Horse & Field Artillery Museum and the Bayles Fauna and Flora Reserve to turn them into what they need – and deserve – to be (and that is no reflection on the people currently running them, who have been hamstrung by red tape and lack of funding)
- There will be virtually continuous freeway roadworks over the next 20 years as the bureaucracy tries to keep up with the growth they have promoted.
- Similarly, there will be greater demand for more police and emergency services. Unemployment in the area will jump, and then drop slowly as business and industry catch up. If there is significant community support, the small, local business the shire currently relies on will not only grow, but boom, and provide the bulk of the employment on offer.
- The funding for the West Gippsland Hospital will happen and a new facility will be built just outside of the Shire to take the burden off both Casey Hospital and the community hospitals within the Shire.
- Eventually, there might even be a duplication of the railway line to increase the availability of public transport (ok, this might be pushing the envelope a bit, but hey, we can hope). Bus services will still be insufficient.
- Cardinia Life will expand, taking over the block of land between it and the highway, to provide more facilities and a wider range of sports.
- Pakenham Racing Club will expand.
- The Hills region and the Swamps will be mostly left alone, and the calls for more road funding and complaints about lack of attention will rightfully grow louder, even as the town populations grow with spilloff from the central growth area
A few possibilities there – mostly possible. Have I missed anything? Where do you think Cardinia is headed? What other businesses or attractions will come to the Shire with the continuing growth? Let us know in the comments!