Recently we had the pleasure of visiting Doongalla Homestead Picnic Grounds and Burkes Lookout.
Doongalla Homestead Picnic Grounds is located in a ridge on Mount Dandenong near The Basin, Victoria and has quite a history. In 1892, a grand house consisting of 32 rooms was built on the 279 hectare property, then owned by a member of parliament named Sir Mathew Davies. In 1908 ‘Invermay’ was bought by Miss Helen Simson who built the stables, developed the garden and and renamed the Homestead ‘Doongalla’, which means place of peace. Doongalla was sold in 1922 and was purchased by a local estate agent, T. M. Burke.
During Burke’s ownership, a caretaker was installed and the property used for both family visits and as a rest home for Catholic Priests.
In 1927, Burke donated the lookout area to the Government, requesting that the name be changed to Burke’s Lookout.
Doongalla Homestead burnt down in a bushfire in 1932. The servants quarters and the stables remained untouched. While the property remained in Mr. Burke’s name, the house was never rebuilt.
In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s there was an extensive campaign to “Save the Dandenongs” and as a response to a local campaign, the State Government bought the property for 8,000 pounds. Since then it has been administered as a Forest Park. The stables were subsequently demolished in the late 1950’s as they had become unsafe.
It still remains a place of peace and beauty today. The site is features picnic tables and a metal barbeque in the upper picnic area.
Today only the front steps of the original homestead remain.
Many attractive walks lead from the two picnic areas following the tracks constructed by Miss Simson. Most tracks bear a name which has an historical association.
The Stables Track Loop is a 1.9km Medium Difficulty track.
It starts and finishes at Doongalla Homestead Picnic Ground.
At the top of the Channel 10 track is …… the old Channel 10 transmission tower. 🙂
The Channel 10 track passes through Burkes Lookout. This Track is very steep, and climbs from 290m to 442m in about 1 km! It is well worth the hike though as the views are extensive.
There are many great walking tracks leaving from the Homestead site with varying distances and degrees of difficulty. Further information can be found on the Parks Victoria page, here.