Known as Nerre Nerre Warren to its original inhabitants, from October 1840 to December 1844 the land now called Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve became the headquarters for the Melbourne or Western Port District of The Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate Station, established to ‘protect’ Aboriginal people from the frontier violence by encouraging them to move to government stations. At this location, school classes and religious services were held for Aboriginal people and rations provided in exchange for manual labour.
From 1842 to the early 1850s the Native Police Corps was stationed here. The Corps, consisting of Aboriginal men under the leadership of Captain Dana, were involved in dealing with disputes between Aboriginal and European people across Victoria, were also the first police stationed on the goldfields, and they acted as guards at Pentridge Prison at Coburg. Until 1931, many of the Aboriginal trackers who worked with the Victorian Police were based with the Victorian Police Horse Stud Depot at the Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve.
Today, Dandenong Police Paddocks Reserve is one of Melbourne’s best training locations for middle and long distance athletes, with many squads, coaches, and athletes – from beginners to Olympians – coming together each Saturday morning at 08:30 to help each other get fitter, faster, and closer to their goals.