About Emerald Lake Park and precinct

The precinct has a rich history, from the First Nations who lived and connected with the land, through post European settlement, development and creation of public recreational parklands of state significance.  

Today you can investigate the local history at the Emerald Museum, Nobelius Heritage Park, ride the Puffy Billy steam railway and see heritage trees.  

For thousands of years the land has been 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. 

The traditional custodians care for country and water, practice culture, share lore, stories, ritual and pass 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.  

For more info go to the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment 

European settlers arrived in the area about 1835 with the discovery of gold. Visit the Emerald Museum (within the Nobelius Heritage Park) to find out more about the story of post European settlement history in the region. 

For more park history read Emerald Lake Park Conservation Management Plan 2020 and Nobelius Heritage Park Conservation Management Plan 2020

Emerald Lake Park and Nobelius Heritage Park were both a portion of a significant site that was once Gembrook Nurseries.  

Established by Swedish immigrant Carl Axel Nobelius in 1886, the nursery became one of Australia's foremost plant nurseries. Prior to World War I, it was the largest nursery in the southern hemisphere. It covered more than 1,625 acres (650 hectares), employed over 80 staff, and advertised over 3 million trees for sale. Its fruit and ornamental trees were supplied to other prominent nurseries and influenced garden and orchard plantings throughout Australia and exported to many countries overseas. 

Today you can see remnants of old nursery stock on the bush walking tracks through the western forest and Nobelius Heritage Park. Nobelius Heritage Park features Victoria's first plantings of Chinese Gooseberry (Kiwi fruit), rare and significant trees and other plantings from the Nobelius era. The nearby historic Packing Shed was built by Nobelius to prepare his trees for transport on what is now known as the Puffing Billy Railway.