Prior to European settlement the Cranbourne area is thought to have been occupied by the Boonwurrung Aboriginal people. The first white settlers, the Ruffy brothers, arrived in 1836. They later opened the Cranbourne Inn.
The area was greatly opened up by settlers from the 1860s. Cranbourne Post Office had opened on 1 August 1857.
Progress in developing the land around Cranbourne was hampered by the Koo Wee Rup swampland. However William Lyall (who bought land in the swamp area) assisted in coordinating the draining of the swamp to make it usable as farmland.
Cranbourne was, from 1860 until 1994, the administrative centre of the Shire of Cranbourne, (known for most of 1994 as the City of Cranbourne). The council building is still in existence, and is now used as a health care centre known as 'The Cranbourne Integrated Care Centre'. Prior to 1978, Council met at the Old Shire Offices, on the corner of Sladen Street and South Gippsland Highway.
At the 2006 census Cranbourne had a population of 14,750.
The Water Saving exhibition garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne
In the south of Cranbourne is the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, and the Cranbourne Racecourse & Recreation Reserve. Cranbourne also contains the Cranbourne Golf Club, the Amstel Golf Club, the Ranfurlie Golf Club and an indoor swimming pool.
- The Casey Complex was opened in December 1994 by the former City of Cranbourne. It is located off Berwick Cranbourne Road, and features a wide variety of community facilities, including The Shed (an indoor skating facility), the Cranbourne Indoor Sports Centre (basketball, netball, and indoor soccer), the Cranbourne Branch of the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation.
- The Factory – Rehearsal Centre for the Arts (Cranbourne, Caseyville (traffic school) and Bowland (a ten-pin bowling complex) 24 lanes.
- The new Cranbourne Multicultural Community Centre opened in 2007. It is located along Berwick-Cranbourne Road is the new Casey Fields Complex.
Schools in the Cranbourne area include
- St. Peter's College,
- St. Agatha's Catholic School,
- St. Therese's Catholic Primary School,
- Cranbourne Secondary College,
- Lyndhurst Secondary College] (Formally known as Cranbourne Meadows Technical School),
- Casey Grammar School (Formally known as Cranbourne Christian College),
- Cranbourne Primary School,
- Cranbourne North East Primary School (to open in 2010),
- Cranbourne East Primary School,
- Cranbourne East Secondary College,
- Devon Meadows Primary School,
- Lyndhurst Primary School,
- Alkira Secondary College (Formally known as Casey Central Secondary College),
- Marnebek School,
- Cranbourne South Primary School,
- Cranbourne Park Primary School,
- Cranbourne West Primary School,
- Rangebank Primary School,
- Courtenay Gardens Primary School,
- Cranbourne Specialist School.
- Chisholm Institute of TAFE also has a campus in Cranbourne, to the city's east. To cater for the growth in Cranbourne several primary schools have been proposed.
Cranbourne has two major shopping precincts. In the north on the corner of Thompson Road and the South Gippsland Highway is the Thompson Parkway Shopping Centre (anchored by Safeway) and Cranbourne Homemaker Centre complex with Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi, Good Guys, Officeworks, La Porchetta, Hungry Jacks, Betta Electrical and more major stores. This complex has largely developed around the Bunnings Warehouse. In the centre of town is High Street and Centro Cranbourne, anchored by a 21 aisle Coles Supermarket Coles and a 8 aisle Woolworths supermarkets. Woolworths supermarkets and Kmart Australia Kmart , Homeart, Harris Scarfe, Manchester and More, Best & Less, Reject Shop, Priceline and Dick Smith Electronics department stores. The centre previously included a 5-cinema complex. Smaller shopping centres include the Sandhurst Shopping Centre anchored by a 11 aisle Coles Supermarket in Cranbourne West, and the planned Hunt Club Shopping Centre development. Other supermarkets include an Aldi Supermarket in Bakewell St and Ritchies Supermarket in the High Street Retail area.
Cranbourne is home to several churches. These include the Cranbourne Salvation Army, Cranbourne Baptist Church, the Anglican Regional Church Cranbourne, Cranbourne Regional Uniting Church,Freedom Christian Church(Assemblies of God), Cranbourne Presbyterian Church, St Agathas Catholic Church, Life Community Church, Turning Point Family Church and the Cranbourne Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cranbourne North has Hope Christian Centre.
Sports facilities and clubs
Casey Fields is a $30 million 70 hectare multi-sports complex in the City of Casey at Cranbourne East a southeastern suburb of Melbourne.
The complex is home to Australian rules football, cricket, netball, tennis, cycling and golf. Rugby football and soccer fields are also planned as part of future development.
- There are 8 Australian football/cricket ovals available at J&P Camm Reserve (2 ovals), the Donnelly Recreation Reserve (2 ovals), the Clyde Recreation Reserve (1 oval), the Lawson Poole Reserve (1 oval), the Junction Village Reserve (1 oval) and the Glover Recreation Reserve (1 oval). Seven of the eight ovals each have a synthetic centre cricket wicket, whilst the E.G. Allen Oval at the Cranbourne Racecourse and Recreation Reserve has a turf centre wicket. The Cranbourne Cricket Club was established in 1881 with the Cranbourne Football Club established in 1889. There are 2 rugby fields at the Lawson Poole Reserve (1 field) and the Clyde Recreation Reserve (1 field). Sports reserves There are currently 3 football fields available on the Cranbourne Racecourse & Recreation Reserve. The town has an Australian Rules football team competing in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League.
- Casey Comets Football Club is a soccer team which plays on O'Tooles Road at Comets Stadium. In 2009 the club has senior teams in the FFV Victorian State League 2 South East & the FFV Victorian Women's Premier League.
Basketball and Netball
- There are 6 basketball courts available at the Terry Vickerman Centre at the Casey Indoor Leisure Complex (shared netball). There is a netball court the Glover Recreation Reserve (1 outdoor court).
There are 32 tennis courts available at Cranbourne Tennis Club, Cranbourne Racecourse & Recreation Reserve (6 porous)and Casey Fields(10 poly clay and 2 plexipave); the Clyde Tennis Club, Clyde Recreation Reserve (6 plexipave); the Devon Meadows Tennis Club, Glover Recreation Reserve (6 poly clay); and the Cranbourne South Tennis Club, Morning Mist Recreation Reserve (2 artificial grass; 2 plexipave). There are an additional 8 courts (sand-filled artificial grass) available inside the Terry Vickerman Centre at the Casey Indoor Leisure Complex.
- There are three golf courses privately owned and managed:
Horse Riding and Racing
- Amstel Golf Club (public course).
- Ranfurlie Golf Club (members course).
- Cranbourne Golf Club (public course).
- Club-based horse riding is available at the Morning Mist Recreation Reserve. There are other privately owned and managed facilities, such as the Briars Equestrian Centre in Clyde. Both Cranbourne greyhound and harness racing clubs are on Grant Street.
Cranbourne has a horse racing club, the Cranbourne Turf Club, which schedules around 22 race meetings a year including the Cranbourne Cup meeting in October.
Cranbourne Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the town, and the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club holds regular meetings.
- Two lawn bowls club facilities are available at the Cranbourne Bowls Club (Cranbourne Racecourse & Recreation Reserve) and the Cranbourne RSL Bowls Club.
- Shooting facilities are available at the Cranbourne Dandenong Pistol Club (Cranbourne Racecourse & Recreation Reserve). The Cranbourne RSL Gun Club (Thompsons Road, Cranbourne North) was demolished in late 2006, the Victorian Deer Association now meet at Akoonah Park in Berwick.
- There are skating and BMX facilities available at the following locations:
- Merinda Park (outdoor skate park).
- The Shed (indoor skate park)
The MRA Cranbourne GP Run is held each year on the Saturday of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The terminus of the Cranbourne railway line is at Cranbourne railway station. The Cranbourne line is part of the South Gippsland Railway, which is currently disused between Cranbourne and the start of the private South Gippsland Tourist Railway in Nyora. The Cranbourne Line is to be extended by 2 km to Cranbourne East by 2015, as stated in the Victorian Transport Plan.
The restoration and reopening of the disused line was proposed by the Victorian Government in 2001, at which time the government described the line as being in a state of significant disrepair. By 2008, a report had concluded that the rail service to Leongatha would not be restored due to the high cost in returning services. Instead, extra money will be spent on improving road coach services.
The above Information has been sourced from wikipedia