Melbourne’s Southern Metropolitan Region is the traditional home of the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation.
Through the early colonial period, the region developed as a centre of pastureland and forestry. Post-war industrial development and the growth in shipping into the Western Port (now the Port of Hastings) steadily drove growth in the region from the 1950s onwards. As the region grew, so too did its links to the rest of Melbourne. From the development of the South Eastern freeway in the 1960s and 70s, to the opening of EastLink in 2008, the Southern Region has become an increasingly integral component of the Metropolitan Melbourne economy.
Today, the Southern Region is a diverse and vibrant area that spans six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Melbourne’s south east. The region includes the coastal LGAs of Kingston, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula, the inland regional economic centre of Greater Dandenong, and the outer suburban growth LGAs of Cardinia and Casey.
The Southern Region has a rich natural environment that is influenced by its proximity to the coast. Its natural assets include the environmentally and historically significant Point Nepean National Park at the mouth of Port Phillip Bay, and the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands. Further inland, the Southern Metropolitan Region is home to Cranbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Emerald Lake Park and Bunyip State Park.
With over 1 million people, around 23 percent of Melbourne’s population, The Southern Region has the largest population of the six Metropolitan Melbourne regions. By 2012, the population is expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Metropolitan Melbourne, at 10.5 percent compared to 9.8 percent for all Melbourne regions.