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History of Laurel Lodge

Laurel Lodge is one of the few physical reminders of Dandenong in the nineteenth century. Built around 1869, it is one of the region's oldest buildings.

Laurel Lodge displays a degree of elegance and sophistication that was not evident in contemporary structures of the town.

Its design appears to have been inspired by Italianate provincial ornamental villas and the 'Chinoiserie' style popular in England and America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Laurel Lodge derives considerable local and regional significance from its association with its past owners, who were prominent citizens of the district, and have made important public contributions. These include:

  • Early Dandenong pioneer Mrs Janet Bowman
  • Colonial architect Robert Huckson
  • District doctor Henry Ogle Moore
  • Flamboyant stock and station agent, and auctioneer, Joseph Clarke
  • Robert Woodcock, Secretary and Engineer of Dandenong Shire

Laurel Lodge was also the site of an elite ladies private school between 1869 and 1884. Headed by Miss Matilda Shaw it was "one of the leading boarding schools in the colony".

Laurel Lodge was a focal point of community life in the district and provides us with a link to the upper class social network of the past.