Gembrook is encounted when traveling the Melbourne to the mountains road. Gembrook is a sort of an end of the road town. Gembrook is also on the Pakenham to Yarra Junction route. This is a nice town and if visiting Emerald or if passing through take a few minutes to delight in the quaintness of this small place.
Gembrook was settled in 1873 for farming and timber; the surrounding countryside was suitable for both dairy and orchards. Timber provided income while farms were established. The name Gembrook came from the small gems that were found in small creeks and watercourses in the surrounding area.
The Post Office opened on 5 October 1877.
The Gembrook railway line was opened from Upper Ferntree Gully on 18 December 1900. The narrow gauge line, these days known as Puffing Billy, brought tourists from Melbourne, as well as enabling timber and local produce, including fruit trees and potatoes, to be taken back to Melbourne. At its peak there were more than 20 timber mills operating in Gembrook and the surrounding area, with tramways operating between the mills and the railway station. The Ranges hotel, which still operates today, was built in 1901 to cater for the local population as well as day trippers from Melbourne. After the devastating fires in 1926 and 1939 which destroyed many of the timber mills, there was talk of closing the line.
Today Gembrook is seen as a suburb of Melbourne as it is within the Melbourne metropolitan area. Gembrook no longer relies on the income generated from farming and lumber but rather from tourism and other professional services.