About Emerald Lake Park and precinct
Important information: Changes to services and facilities at Emerald Lake Park
- Due to the construction of the new Puffing Billy Lakeside Visitor Centre, there have been some temporary changes to park access.
About Emerald Lake Precinct
Emerald Lake Park and Nobelius Heritage Park form the Emerald Lake Precinct.
Both parks are owned and managed by Council with the help of the Friends of Emerald Lake Park and the Nobelius Heritage Park Committee of Management.
About Emerald Lake Park
- Emerald Lake Park covers an area of roughly 52 hectares and features Lake Treganowan and Lake Nobelius, ornamental exotic trees and natural bushland.
- The park is home to both native and exotic plants, with fern gullies and open eucalypt forests. The ornamental trees are spectacular, and some significant trees are listed with the National Trust of Australia.
- Many animals that live in the park are nocturnal and can be harder to spot during the day. However, you might see lyrebirds, purple swamp hens, Eurasian coots, ducks, dusky moorhens, kookaburras, rosellas, echidnas and black wallabies.
- They park is one of Puffing Billy Railway’s key destinations. The park is a popular events and wedding destination.
- The park features:
- about 10 kilometres of walking trails (including the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail)
- picnic tables
- a wading pool open during summer
- 2 playgrounds
- a miniature model railway
- amphitheatres that can be booked
- shelters that can be booked.
About Nobelius Heritage Park
- Nobelius Heritage Park is a heritage site of state cultural significance, covering an area of four and a half hectares.
- The park has beautiful gardens, exotic ornamental trees and is perfect for quiet reflection and a picnic with family and friends.
- The garden has remnants of old nursery stock from the historic Gembrook Nursery, including Victoria's first plantings of Chinese Gooseberry (Kiwi fruit). There is a Salvia garden and significant trees and other plantings from the Nobelius era.
- The Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail takes you through the park and there are other walking trails that connect to Emerald Lake Park.
- Nobelius Heritage Park is perfect for small weddings and events.
- The historic Packing Shed is near the park. It was built by Nobelius to prepare his trees for transport on what is now known as the Puffing Billy Railway.
Emerald Museum is based at Nobelius Heritage Park. It tells the story of post European settlement history in the Emerald region.
History of Emerald Lake Precinct
The precinct has a rich history, from the First Nations who lived and connected with the land, through post European settlement development and economic drive to public recreational parklands of state significance.
For thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, the land was home to members of the greater Kulin nations. Across the wider Cardinia Shire, the Bunurong, Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri are the Traditional Owner groups. We respectfully acknowledge all Traditional Owners.
For millennia, the traditional custodians have cared for country and water, practicing culture, sharing lore, stories, ritual and passing on crucial knowledge to other generations so they might also care and manage the diverse ecology around them. With European settlement many traditional systems were disrupted, and people forcibly and often violently displaced from their lands.
European settlement in the area commenced about 1835. Emerald Lake Park and Nobelius Heritage Park are remnants of the former Gembrook Nurseries established by Swedish immigrant Carl Axel Nobelius from 1886.
The Gembrook Nursery became one of Australia's foremost plant nurseries in the early 20th century, selling exotic plants and fruit trees locally, all over Australia and overseas.
At its peak prior to World War I, the nursery covered more than 1,625 acres (650 hectares), employed over 80 staff, and advertised over 3 million trees for sale. It was the largest nursery in the southern hemisphere. The nursery has historical significance as its fruit trees and ornamental trees were supplied to other prominent nurseries and influenced garden and orchard plantings throughout Australia and exported to many countries overseas.