Pioneer Settlers of Olinda

Pioneer Settlers of Olinda

The Dandenong Ranges,

Victoria, Australia

This is a story of our early pioneers who first came to The Dandenong Ranges to fell and split huge Mountain Ash trees; timber that was in great demand for the expanding city of Melbourne.

Then in 1893 settlers moved in to take up 10 acre allotments granted by the government in an attempt to alleviate the poverty of the terrible depression. On these blocks, thick with forest trees and with few farming skills, our pioneers struggled to make a living from the land.

This is a story of survival and it is told by the children of those pioneers who grew up as the first generation along the mountain ridge. It is a unique story now lost to living memory because all those people you will hear on the videos have long since passed away.

Learn about the timber getters and their bullock teams of the last quarter of the nineteenth century when the mountain was criss-crossed with a maze of bullock tracks.

Hear about the very first settlers, George Dodd and John Ebbels and their families. How did they wrest a living from their land?

What sort of people were the first settlers?

What skills did they need to survive on the mountain?

What social life was found on the mountain?

Listen to Iris Woolrich talk about establishing Quamby Tea House in 1914. It is now the Cuckoo Restaurant

The consecration of the Church of England during a snow storm in 1903.

Learn about Bunker's Hill, once an Aboriginal corroboree ground, it became the first footy oval .

Hear about the colourful Dulce Domum Hotel which was often frequented by Squizzy Taylor who had installed his lady friend as the licensee.

Hear about the famous guest houses

For information about this research project please contact Mac Craig

A transcription of the six hours of the interviews may be available on request.

Thanks to Graham Shepherd and Malcolm Johnson for their invaluable help with the technicalities of creating this web site.