As a result of its elevation snow typically falls one or two times a year at higher elevations, mostly between the months of June and October (a rare summer snow even occurred on Christmas Day in 2006).
Prior to settlement, the Wurundjeri people used areas included in the region for hunting and gathering food. The Wurundjeri are a people of the Indigenous Australian nation, in the Kulin alliance, who occupy the Birrarung Valley (or Yarra Valley), its tributaries and the present location of Melbourne.
Two names have been used to refer to the ranges; Corhanwarrabul and Dandenong, both derived from the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people.
It is believed that the name Dandenong was adopted for the ranges as the Dandenong Creek originates here, although, the original name for Dandenong Creek was Narra Narrawong. It is not known where the name Dandenong came from nor exactly what it means. What is clear is that, both names relate to waterways in general, and not to mountains or ranges, as indicated by the “ong” ending.
After European settlement in the region in the 1850’s, the area was used as a main source of timber for Melbourne and hunting for game, with the townships of Mt. Dandenong, Sassafras and Olinda originally settled for this purpose.
Over the years, the Dandenong Ranges have been home to many famous artists including Arthur Streeton, C.J. Dennis, William Ricketts (visit his work at the William Ricketts Sanctuary), Tom Roberts and Lin Onus (whose collection can be seen today at Burrinja).
For the modern day historic experience, visitors from all over the world continue their love for the region with a ride on the much-loved Puffing Billy Railway. A heritage steam railway that runs from Belgrave to Gembrook it was one of four low-cost narrow gauge lines constructed in Victoria in the early 1900’s. The line closed in 1953 due to operating losses and landslide that blocked the tracks. Thanks to the dedication and work of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society the line was reopened in 1962 to Menzies Creek, then to Emerald in 1975 and finally to Gembrook again in 1998.