Aerial view from south west
|Population||32,911 (2011 census)|
|Elevation||101 m (331 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Cardinia|
Pakenham is a satellite suburb of Melbourne on the edge of the West Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, 56 km (35 mi) south-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is Cardinia Shire. At the 2011 Census, Pakenham had a population of 32,911.
Pakenham has become a major growth area in south-eastern Melbourne as new housing developments have boosted its population and infrastructure, as exemplified in the development of the Lakeside (developed by Lend Lease Group) and Heritage Springs estates.
Pakenham was named after Sir Edward Pakenham, a British general who fought in the Peninsular War. The Neville and Bourke families arrived in Sydney on the Alquis in 1837, sponsored by the Governor Gipps to migrate and settle in Melbourne. They arrived in Melbourne on the John Barry in 1839 and selected 5 miles by 5 miles of land now known as the area of Upper Pakenham.
The original Pakenham Post Office opened on 1 February 1859, was renamed Pakenham West on 1 October 1971, and was closed on 15 January 1974. The existing Pakenham Post Office was opened on 11 June 1888 as Pakenham Railway Station Post Office, was renamed Pakenham East in 1908, and further renamed Pakenham on 1 October 1971. The railway station was opened on 8 October 1877 and was a part of the east link connecting Melbourne to Pakenham and other eastern towns.
In Pakenham 76.2% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth outside of Australia were England 4.8%, New Zealand 2.3%, India 1.2%, Scotland 0.8%, Sri Lanka 0.8% and Ireland 0.1%
Pakenham is on the main railway line between Melbourne and Gippsland, and its railway station marks the end of the suburban electrified service. Pakenham Station is the termination point of all services operated by Metro Trains Melbourne heading out of the city, but V/Line trains to and from Gippsland also serve Pakenham.
Cardinia Road Railway Station has been constructed in Pakenham, adjacent to the Lakeside estate. It carried its first train services on Sunday 22 April 2012, although it will only have off-peak services stopping there until an electrical upgrade, due for completion by the end of 2012.
Pakenham is also on the Princes Highway. The Pakenham bypass allows road traffic between Melbourne and Gippsland to bypass Pakenham, both shortening travel times and alleviating traffic congestion within Pakenham. The main north-south roads through Pakenham take one north to Healesville and south to Koo Wee Rup.
Pakenham is serviced by four local newspapers: Star News Group's The Pakenham Gazette, available every Wednesday for $1, and Star's widely distributed Pakenham News, which is dropped into mailboxes free every Thursday around the town, the Pakenham-Cardinia Leader, which also serves the nearby township of Cardinia, dropped into mailboxes every Thursday, and the Pakenham Journal, a weekly paper, delivered weekly to houses around the town.
The 102-year-old Star News Group houses its main headquarters on the Princes Highway, Pakenham East.
Pakenham is in the coverage range of all the commercial radio stations in Melbourne, yet are also locally serviced by 94.3 Star FM, whose studios are situated in Warragul, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) away from the town.
Television services in the town are exactly the same as Melbourne's, yet being in the Gippsland area, regional television can also be accessed. Services such as WIN Gippsland and Southern Cross Ten are available to viewers, yet the signal strength tends to become stronger in the east of the town.
Pakenham's public facilities include a sports and aquatic centre and Council Offices.
The aquatic centre includes a 25m indoor pool, with a gym, group fitness, creche, eight multipurpose sports courts and food facilities all incorporated in the one building. The centre, named Cardinia LiFE, is owned by the Cardinia Shire and managed by YMCA Victoria. Pakenham also has an outdoor pool open during the warmer weather. This was originally opened in 1957, and was reopened on 17 November 2007 after undergoing a $1.1 million redevelopment. The outdoor pool centre, also managed by YMCA Victoria, consists of a 50m pool, toddlers' pool with splash features, updated change rooms, kiosk, and water treatment plant. Pakenham currently has one tennis club but proposals for a second are under consideration, with planned expenses for the clubhouse alone around $20 million.
Public schools include Pakenham Consolidated Primary School, Pakenham Hills Primary School, Pakenham Springs Primary School, Pakenham Lakeside Primary School and Pakenham Secondary College. Pakenham has one Catholic school, St Patrick's Catholic Primary, St Francis Xavier College.
Private schools include Beaconhills College (Valley Campus), Chairo Christian School (Pakenham Campus) and Lakeside Lutheran College.
Pakenham also has a community centre which is run by the Salvation Army and a vocational education provider LLINC (Living and Learning Incorporated).
Pakenham serves as a major retail centre in the Cardinia Shire, with outlets including an Aldi supermarket, four Woolworths supermarkets, four Coles supermarkets, and one of Target, Masters, Bunnings and Mitre 10 MEGA. In August 2009 it was announced by Cardinia Shire Council that a $80 million retail development would be built at current vacant Council land behind the Pakenham Library at the corner of John and Henty street. The centre is the largest in Pakenham, containing anchor stores such as a Woolworths supermarket, Dick Smith electronics and Big W, as well as 40 smaller specialty stores and 1,150 car parking spaces both above ground and underground. The Pakenham Central Marketplace opened on 1 December 2011.
Sporting activities in Pakenham include horse racing, lawn bowls, golf, baseball, cricket, little athletics, tennis, netball, Floorball, Basketball, Rugby League and football.
The Pakenham Racing Club which schedules around eleven race meetings a year including the Pakenham Cup meeting in March. The Pakenham Picnic Racing Club also holds a meeting at the racecourse on New Years Day.
Pakenham's Australian Rules football team, the Pakenham Lions competes in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League. Hawthorn premiership ruckrover Peter Russo was raised in Pakenham as was current Collingwood speedster Tyson Goldsack.
The Pakenham basketball team, the Pakenham Warriors.
Recently the tennis club in Pakenham has had a major make over and now has six brand new courts, this is all part of the local councils "Whip into shape" plan that consists of the remodeling and updating of the local sports and recreation locations.
Golfers play at the Pakenham and District Golf Club on Oaktree Drive.
Since 2007, locals have been concerned by a re-occurring smell which has been regularly engulfing the town, impacting upon the amenity and health of local residents and visitors. It had been described by some as resembling a burning chemical gas smell, the stench of dead bodies or as a putrid smell that was able to infiltrate homes. The smell was found to originate from the Drovers Place area where Transpacific Industries, a leading organic waste recycler, was based. The business has since closed. Concerns over the rapid pace of urban expansion in the Pakenham area have also been raised, as traditional farmland surrounding the town has been rezoned to allow for the development of housing estates, causing protests by some residents who have sought to have these undeveloped or 'green wedge' lands protected.
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