In 1837, Joseph Hawdon established a pastoral run on the Dandenong Creek, overlanding cattle from Sydney. Timber cutters followed and milling of the native timber became an important industry.
Other early industries were charcoal burning, tanning, the distilling of eucalyptus oil, quarrying and brick making.
By 1850, graziers had extensively settled the area and in 1852 the township of Dandenong was laid out. It soon became a trading centre for farmers and graziers.
The Dandenong livestock, produce and goods markets were formally established in 1866 and became a focal point of the developing township which eventually became known as the 'Gateway to Gippsland'.
The livestock market remained a feature of Dandenong until late 1998, when, after several moves within the City, it was relocated in Gippsland, ending a history of 132 years.
The goods and produce market, established at its present site in the city centre by 1927, brought hundreds of farmers and their families into the town each Tuesday, on market day. It remains an important feature of the City as does the impressive Town Hall which was built in 1890.
Dandenong was proclaimed a Shire in 1873 and the opening of the railway in 1879 increased the importance of the town as a commercial centre
Dandenong retained its rural character as a close-knit country town until World War II when the post-war industrial boom and migration from Europe resulted in enormous growth and development in the region.
During the 1950s and 1960s, factories, shops, houses and schools rose up, rapidly covering former paddocks. Heinz, International Harvester and General Motors Holden established factories on the flat land south-east of Dandenong. Many other firms, large and small, followed.
The abundant new jobs attracted many workers, especially European migrants. The Housing Commission established the new suburb of Doveton, north of the Princes Highway, to house the rapidly increasing population.
Dandenong still retains its regional status, attracting shoppers from the country to its large retail complex. Regional police headquarters, Magistrates' Court, large hospital and associated services and a TAFE college are located there.
It is still at the centre of an extensive transport network, with a busy railway station and bus interchange.
Local history sheet - 'Early Years of Dandenong'
Local history sheet - 'Dandenong - From Market Town to Industrial Hub'
Dandenong Stock Market