The township of Narre Warren North grew along the track to the Emerald goldfields. With hundreds of miners marching to Emerald, Avonsleigh, Gembrook and beyond, Narre North became one of the last settlements before the diggings. The “North” was not added until much later as the settlement along the Gippsland road (Princes Highway) and the railway became more populated.
One of the websites that I love is that of the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation. The information is always well researched and informative. On their website they explain that there are three interpretations of the name Narre Warren. The first is “little Hills”, the second is “no good” (as the water was brackish and not good for drinking) and the third is “Red Ochre”. The name also had many spellings and some that I have come across include Narre Worren, Narree Worran, Narrenarre Worren, Nerre Nerre Waren and Narreworren. I recall that only a few years ago the sign on the corner of Wellington and Harkaway roads still read Narre Worren. The numerous spellings also makes it all the more interesting to research the odd history of the area.
Today, Fountain Gate shopping Centre dominates the landscape of Narre Warren. The shopping center was originally built in 1980 on the beautiful green hills of the Brechin Farm (previously Holly Green). The original Fountain Gate housing estate was off Tinks Road and you can still see the pipes which formed the fountain at the entrance to the estate. The designer of the estate was Robin Boyd, the renowned architect who’s artistic family had owned land in the Harkaway/ Narre Warren area. It was Robin’s uncle who tragically died in a riding accident at Narre Warren in 1896.
The population of Narre Warren in 2006 was 25,667. It’s a far cry from the days when these rolling hills were home to farms and bushland and your neighbors lived kilometers away.