The suburb of Dandenong, 29km southeast of the CBD, is a major retail, commercial and residential hub that’s home to one of Melbourne’s most culturally diverse communities.
Millions of dollars have been poured into the area in recent years as part of a huge revitalisation project, which has seen the centre stunningly transformed with attractive buildings, public spaces and footpaths.
More funds are to be tipped into the suburb in coming years, with the area next to the Dandenong train station set for a new development featuring hundreds of dwellings, plus offices and a contemporary Indian retail and dining area that will replace the current “Little India”.
The median sale price for houses in Dandenong in the March 2021 quarter was $683,000, a quarterly price change of 1.2 per cent. For units, the median sale price was $366,000, a quarterly price rise of 7.3 per cent, according to Real Estate Institute of Victoria data.
Local Barry Plant agents said the ‘future looks promising for Dandenong’ as the market continues to show a rise in performance year after year.
“The market is on the move in Dandenong, whether it be for an investor or owner occupier, there’s money to be made,” one agent said.
“There is something for everyone and it ticks a lot of boxes, in terms of affordability, public transport, an array of different cultural restaurants and lots of great reserves with walking and bike tracks.”
The most recent Census figures reveal 74,906 people were living in Dandenong in 2016. Of these, 36.3 per cent of residents were born in Australia, followed by 7.6 per cent in India, 7.3 per cent in Afghanistan, 5.9 per cent in Sri Lanka, 2.2 per cent in China and 2.2 per cent in Pakistan. The median age for residents was 34.
“There is a great array of multiculturalism in Dandenong with the market and plaza being the biggest highlights,” a local agent said.
The jewel in Dandenong’s crown is the vibrant Dandenong Market, which offers some of Melbourne’s best-priced fruit, veg, meat, fish and continental goods in a buzzing, global atmosphere.
Shoppers also flock to Dandenong Plaza, a multi-level shopping centre featuring favourites such as Kmart, Target and TK Maxx.
In the heart of the suburb is Palm Plaza pedestrian mall, a scenic meeting and strolling spot. Adjacent arcades are made for exploring, filled with barbers, tailors and souk-like shops with wares such as Persian rugs, Pakistani clothing and African hair products.
Thomas Street is a hub for the local Afghan community. Dubbed the “Afghan Bazaar” by the City of Greater Dandenong, it entices with its shops and cafes reminiscent of the Silk Road.
Other features of the suburb are Dandenong Hospital, one of the city’s major acute hospitals; Dandenong Library, in the striking civic centre; and the Drum Theatre, which attracts fans of the arts.
Schools include Dandenong High, one of the state’s oldest, largest and most culturally diverse secondary schools, Chisholm Institute of TAFE and Deakin University, which has a learning centre.
Dandenong station is on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line and also has V/Line country services, while buses crisscross the area.
Sport and recreation facilities include Dandenong Oasis leisure centre, Gloria Pyke Netball & Sports Complex and Dandenong Stadium, Australia’s largest basketball and volleyball indoor facility.
There are plenty of parks, either in Dandenong or close by – among them, Hemmings Park (with its BMX tracks and skate ramps) and expansive Tirhatuan Park and the Dandenong Wetlands.