Doongalla Homestead – Local History and Walks

Located on the Western side of Mt Dandenong, Doongalla Homestead was a magnificent mansion home, consisting of 32 rooms, built in 1892.

Owned at the time by a member of parliament,  Sir Mathew Davies, it was sold In 1908 to Miss Helen Simson. The stables were built, gardens developed and the property renamed as ‘Doongalla’, which means place of peace. Doongalla was sold in 1922 and was purchased by a local estate agent, T. M. Burke.

The 279ha Doongalla Forest Reserve is comprised of several properties originally established between 1885 and 1993. The reserve extends to the top of Mt Corhanwarrabul, the second-highest peak in the Dandenongs, also known as Burke’s Lookout

In 1927, Burke donated the lookout area to the Government, requesting a name change from Barnes’ Lookout (the name of an original early property owner) to Burke’s Lookout. Read more about local properties and the Doongalla Homestead.

Sadly, little remains of the Doongalla Homestead mansion. Fires of 1932 destroyed the home, leaving only the stables and servants quarters. Parks Victoria Rangers now occupy the original servants quarters building and the stables have long since gone. The front steps, leading up to where the grand home once stood, are still there.

Walk from the 1000 Steps or Mt Dandenong Summit

A walk from the 1000 Steps in the Ferntree Gully section of the park can be lengthened to follow tracks across to Doongalla Homestead as the 20km walk from Mt Dandenong Summit to Upper Ferntree Gully passes through here.

The walk from Doongalla Homestead up to Burkes Lookout and Mt Dandenong is about 2.5 km and well worth the effort. Following Channel 10 Track, Zig Zag Track and joining Kyeema Track. The views from Burkes Lookout are stunning. Sections of the walk pass through some of the loveliest tracks lined with tall tree ferns. Watch out for Superb Lyrebirds, we saw some on our last walk here, singing and scratching, seemingly oblivious to us watching on.

Doongalla Homestead Walks -Tree ferns on the Channel 10 Track
Tree ferns on the Channel 10 Track

Doongalla Homestead Walking Tracks


  • Walks vary in distance, all tracks have some steep sections and can become slippery when wet.
  • Mountain Bike Riders and Horse Riders may be present on some tracks, take care.
  • Toilets are available at the Stables picnic area.
  • Open fireplaces (B.Y.O. wood)
  • Picnic tables | Water taps available
  • Parking at Stables Picnic area or Homestead area.


Stables Loop Track

  • 45 mins – 1 hour 2.3km
  • Easy > Moderate > Hard
  • The relatively short stretch of this walk when it joins Bill’s Track is steep, though not impossible. Stop and breathe…

From the Stables parking area, walk across the picnic ground to find the beginning of Stables Track. Follow this track until it joins Bill’s Track and then turn right. Trudge uphill on Bill’s for less than 10 minutes until it joins Camelia Track. Turn right and continue along Camelia track until it reaches the unsealed road where you then walk back down to the car park and picnic area.


Turn left on the unsealed road and walk up to the top picnic area and the old steps. From here you can join Channel 10 track and go all the way to the top by Burke’s Lookout or do a circuit walk that joins into Camelia Track again (3.6km)

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Entry to Doongalla Homestead is from the base of the Dandenongs, along Doongalla Forest Road. Ridge Track leads off at the entry, heading up towards the top of Mt Dandenong. Other tracks lead off to vary walks in all directions.

Doongalla homestead, The Basin

Doongalla Forest Road, approximately 2 km’s of unsealed road leads to the site of the Doongalla Homestead and picnic grounds.

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Top picnic area on the site of the old homestead. A building that housed servants to the homestead is nearby, nowadays being used by Parks Victoria.

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Autumn colour in the Doongalla Homestead gardens. Dandenong Ranges National Park
Autumn colour in the gardens

Looking down the terraced lawns of Doongalla Homestead in the One Tree Hill direction
Looking down the terraced lawns in the One Tree Hill direction

Stables Picnic area with BBQ spots and tables. Wood is required, b.y.o. The Stables Track leads off from the far side of the picnic ground.

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Stables Track, a pleasant amble through the forest. joining up with Bill’s track after about 10 minutes.

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Stables Track, passing beneath tree ferns.

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Bill’s Track. Who says the camera never lies. Poppycock. This section is rather steep, not a long walk, though. Take your time… Mountain bikers use this track too, so be on the lookout for cyclists.

Doongalla Homestead History - Walking Tracks

Bill’s Track joins Camelia Track and is an easy section of the walk. Just before re-joining the unsealed road, Gerraty Walk leads off to the left. This is an optional spot to extend the walk. Use the Parks Victoria map app or whichever map app you may use, to decide on a route.

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14 thoughts on “Doongalla Homestead”

  1. Hi
    Do you have any information on Miss Helen Simpson? I have just found out that I am a distant relation and don’t know much about her.

    Thank you

  2. my pop (Jack geymasters) was the warden there for the old forestry commission and later our uncle Bill ( Bill Anderson ) took over and ran the place and my Brother , sister and my self grew up there as little tackers in the 60’s if your looking for the pool it is off to the right, if you are facing the servants quarters the toilet block. And yes it fills off the creek and is really really cold i have about 50 photos of how it looked back in the sixties will one day i will get put onto a disk to share with you all

    • Thanks for sharing the information, Eddy. What a wonderful family history to have. It would be great to see some photos one day.

      • the driveway used to be like a big round about once you got up near the servants quarters, big coach buses used to bring large groups up for picnics, and the Coaches used to stop outside the front door for the people to get off , then in later years when Bill took over the driveway was blocked off half way and they had to park up the top of the hill behind the servants quarters, my Brother and I used to slide down the dirt embankment from the top car park down to the servants quarters when it was wet an slippery ( yes we got in strife for it )
        Not sure if its still there but Uncle bill had a duck enclosure off to the left of the servants quaters

    • Hi there

      We were great friends of your uncle Bill Anderson, such a truly great friend and we still miss him a lot. He was a wonder “uncle” to our children.
      Are you Joan’s relative or if not how are you related to Bill, just interested

    • We grew up here my Uncle Bill Anderson is my mums brother. Uncle Bill often filled the pool with trout.

  3. Does anyone know if the Doongalla swimming pool still exists? I was told a few years back that it is hidden and fenced off but still exists and could be used by the CFA. Does anyone have knowledge about this?

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