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Patterson River is a man made waterway, created in 1876 to provide direct drainage from the entire Dandenong Valley catchment area. This runoff flowed into the Carrum Swamp which spread behind the sand dunes between Mordialloc and Frankston with the only outlets to the bay being the Mordialloc Creek and the Kananook Creek at Frankston.

In 1934, 960 houses and farms were inundated by floodwaters. It was then decided to raise the levels of the artificial banks between the bay and Pillars Bridge, south of Dandenong. The river mouth is regularly inspected by Parks Victoria and contractors are employed to dredge the outlet to a safe depth when needed.

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