In the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, 48 km east of central Melbourne, lies the township of Cockatoo. In the 1850s prospectors searching for gold bestowed the name Cockatoo Creek, supposedly because of large numbers of cockatoos there. When land was selected in the 1870s the name was retained. The country was hilly and heavily timbered, making clearing difficult. A store was opened in 1895 to serve the scattered community.