Ferny Creek in the Dandenong
A home among the gum trees with Koala bears. Lyre-birds and a Kangaroo--or two.
Ferny Creek, an outer suburb in
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, is 33 km south-east of Melbourne's CBD. It is part of the Local Government Shire of
Yarra Ranges. At the 2006 Census, Ferny Creek had a population of 1536.
The suburb is built around but mainly to the south of Dunns Hill (height 561m)
with most of Ferny Creek lying between 400 and 550 metres above sea level. It is named for the stream running
through it, Ferny Creek. The suburb is largely surrounded by conservation zones and national parks, with the
Dandenong Ranges national park on its northern and west sides, the Upwey habitat corridor to the south and
Sherbrooke Forest to the east.
From early in its European history the area was used by Melburnians as a place to
get away from the maddening crowd. People came for weekend and summer camps and to gain some relief from the
oppressive heat. As a result, gradually over the years, simple "weekender" cottages developed. As the city grew,
all of the original forest was felled to build the many timber-framed, weatherboard clad structures that still make
up much of Melbourne's suburbia. All of the forest now to be seen is "regrowth" that has happened since that early
Today the area still attracts many visitors and tourists who come to enjoy,
amongst other things, the beautiful scenic drives and many walking tracks that are an integral part of the local
parks. One well known and very popular track quite close to Ferny Creek is called "The Thousand Steps". This
particular track has also become a local memorial to Papua New Guinea's infamous "Kokoda Track", and the bloody
battles fought there by Australians during WWII.
Dandenong Ranges in Autumn
Preston Capes, Northamptonshire; the
village they left behind.
I wonder what Thomas Chamberlain and Susannah Catherine Bull together with their four
children, William (9), Sarah Ann (7), Giles (3) and 11 month old Edwin were thinking about as they celebrated their
last Christmas in the village of Preston Capes, December 1841? I wonder what their hopes were that made them take
such a momentous step, and what their fears were as they prepared to step out into the great unknown? They boarded
their ship just a week later, so pretty much everything would have been packed, and may have even travelled ahead
of them to their boarding dock at Gravesend, so that their home probably seemed like a stranger - cold and empty.
This picture of Preston Capes was taken about 150 years after the family left for their far side of the world in
I live in Ferny Creek, I am a fifth generation part of this pioneering family of six who left their home
in Preston Capes, Northamptonshire and sailed from Gravesend, England with 297 other immigrants on Sunday
2nd January 1842. Enduring four months of very cramped conditions, aboard
the "London", and losing Edwin to bronchitis, they were like so many other families, who lost
the youngest members of their families to the cruel conditions of that early migration (And
when considering the plight of boat people migrating to our shores in the twenty-first century, one is
forced to ask, "What has changed?"). On their arrival at Port Nicholson, an early name for Wellington, New
Zealand, they were quite literally dumped on the beach, and left to fend for themselves as
they started a complete new life. The New Zealand Company was very good at promoting the scheme
under which so many migrants came, but was very poor in the support they provided once these travellers had
This site is dedicated to the pioneering members of my
family, in all of their many branches. Their strength of character, fortitude and their vision has left a
magnificent legacy, a foundation on which we in subsequent generations can only hope to continue the building
process, and thereby pass the baton on to future generations. Today this family number in their thousands
across New Zealand and beyond. This is why I have used the word "Destiny" as the title for this
To get started, follow this
link to the - Foreword
& Table of Contents
If you wish to search for a particular family, try typing the name into the
search-field in the top right corner and click "GO".