Berwick Shire, Victoria

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Berwick District Road Board was created in 1862 and was proclaimed a Shire in 1868. The Shire stretched east of Dandenong, about 35 kilometres east of Melbourne, as far as Bunyip, about 75 kilometres east of Melbourne. To the north, it extended into the Great Dividing Range and to the south encompassed part of the Kooweerup Swamp. It was bisected from east to west by the railway line and highway to Gippsland. Berwick was the main town. Pakenham became the prominent town of the small townships which grew up along the railway line.

In 1889, the north-western part of the Shire was severed to form Ferntree Gully Shire. In 1902, the Shire headquarters were moved to Pakenham.

The Shire generally had a rural aspect with dairying, sheep and cattle grazing, and fruit growing being the main pursuits. However, its character changed greatly from the 1950s. In the western part, there was major industrial and housing development. At Doveton, close to Dandenong, there was a large Housing Commission settlement. Many large and small factories were established in the same area. Berwick and nearby Narre Warren were engulfed by new housing subdivisions.

In 1973, the Shire was subdivided, forming the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham. In 1978, new Shire Offices were opened at Narre Warren, adjoining Fountain Gate regional shopping centre. The new City was one of the most rapidly growing areas in the state, with a population of nearly 50,000 in 1986 rising to 88,000 in 1994.

In 1994, most of the City of Berwick was united with most of Cranbourne Shire to form the City of Casey.


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Berwick


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