Already in the 1860s Melbournians were trekking to Ferntree Gully to view the exotic fern gullies. Indeed the place takes its name from the famous 1857 painting by German artist Eugene von Guerard of ‘The Fern Tree Gully’. The painting is now in the National Gallery in Canberra.
The earliest Gully buildings straggled along the winding track known as Main Street – now Burwood Highway. In 1889 the long-awaited railway came, extending from Ringwood to Upper Ferntree Gully. However instead of following the road, the railway circled around the foothill slopes with a station near the cemetery at Lower Fern Tree and the terminus at Upper Ferntree Gully. The Lower Gully station (now called Ferntree Gully) attracted the cluster of shops and houses that make up the present Ferntree Gully Village.
In 1963 the Ferntree Gully Shire became the Shire, then the City, of Knox. Although now one of many Activity Centres in Knox, Ferntree Gully Village has retained much of its natural beauty. This is not a little due to the Foothills Planning Overlay that limits building heights and protects the tree canopy and views to the National Park. Historical roots around here are strong and community ties persist, giving the place a distinctive character that residents and businesses alike hold dear.