Kyneton (including Carlsruhe and Tylden)
Medium-sized rural centre on the Campaspe
Kyneton is a progressive rural centre of some
4500 people located 85 km north-west of
Melbourne on the Campaspe River and just off the
Calder Highway. It is 509 metres above sea-level
on a fertile basalt plain which supports a
diversity of rural enterprises, to which Kyneton
acts as a service centre. It also has a small
Kyneton has one of the state's strongest
collection of historic bluestone buildings. In
the early spring the main approaches to Kyneton
are lined with blooming daffodils as part of the
Daffodil and Arts Festival.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area
was occupied by the Thagungwurung Aborigines.
The party of explorer Thomas Mitchell crossed
the river at or near the future townsite in
1836. He named it the 'Campaspe' after one of
Alexander the Great's courtesans.
The first squatter, C.H. Ebden arrived in
1837, establishing the 'Karlsruhe' station
(hence the town of Carlsruhe just to the south
of Kyneton). Other squatters followed. Some took
the unusual step of adding corn-growing to the
usual pastoralist's repertoire of sheep and
cattle and a corn mill was in operation by 1841.
Although there weren't many Kooris in the
district, two shepherds were killed during a
confrontation in 1842. The mounted police
pursued the party in question, killing six of
The future Kyneton was surveyed in 1846 as a
camping place for teamsters headed to Bendigo.
It was chosen as a townsite in 1848 and surveyed
the following year to serve as a centre of law
and administration in place of the earlier
Carlsruhe settlement to the immediate south. At
that time there were a few slab buildings and a
couple of huts. It was named after the English
village of Kineton (now Kington).
In the early 1850s Kyneton developed rapidly
as a gateway to and supply centre of the
goldfields of Clunes, Castlemaine and Bendigo.
It was a major coach stop and the bellies of the
goldminers (and those of Melburnians) caused a
rapid expansion of local agricultural
production. Kyneton became the state's major
agricultural town and the general prosperity and
development resulted in a building boom which
saw bluestone quarrying become a substantial
industry. The regular through-traffic also
allowed a diversity of businesses and services
to develop. Kyneton was proclaimed a
municipality as early as 1857.
Gold was discovered in its own right at
Laurieston and A HREF="VICMalmsbury.shtml">Malmsbury
in the late 1850s and furnished reasonable
returns into the 1870s. The rail link from
Melbourne arrived in 1862, further boosting the
fortunes of the town. In the 1890s the state's
first pasteurizing plant was introduced at
In 1858 Caroline Chisholm lived at Kyneton
where her family owned a store and her husband
was a magistrate. While she lived here she began
to establish a series of inexpensive overnight
shelters for travellers on the Mt Alexander Rd
(now the Calder Highway), a road which was
commonly used by prospectors heading to the
central goldfields. A reminder of this scheme
can still be seen at Carlsruhe
In 1860 the ill-fated Burke and Wills
expedition camped just to the north of the
township and the only survivor, John King was
regaled at a local hotel on his return trip. On
the literary front, early Australian novelist,
Joseph Furphy, lived at Kyneton as a teenager.
The town's celebrations include a Country
Music Festival in February, the Kyneton
Horticultural Show in March, a Literature
Festival in April and, in September, the Spring
Flower Show and the Daffodil and Arts Festival,
during which many of the area's beautiful
gardens are open for inspection. The Kyneton Cup
is held on the first Wednesday of November and
the Jebba Yacki Fireworks Display is held at
Lauriston in November or December.
Things to see:
Kyneton Visitor Information Centre is located in
Jean Haynes Reserve near the intersection of
High St and Edgecombe St, tel: (03) 5422 6110.
They can supply self-guided walks of the town's
historic buildings and an abundance of
information on the attractions of the town and
HISTORIC WALK 1
Kyneton Historical Museum
On the corner of Piper and Powlett Streets is
the Kyneton Historical Museum. It is located in
the beautiful bluestone Bank of NSW building
(1856) which is reputedly the oldest surviving
bank building in the state. It features a wide
range of Victoriana and vintage farm machinery
from the town and shire's past. The residential
section and outbuildings have been decked out in
period style and there is a stable, a buggy
house, a printer's workshop, a farm kitchen and
an old water pump. Also on the grounds is
Theaden Homestead (c.1840). It is open Friday to
Sunday and public holidays (except Christmas Day
and Good Friday) from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
The museum also opens every Thursday during
school holidays , tel: (03) 5422 1228 or (1300)
St Paul's Anglican Church
On the other side of Powlett St, at the Yaldwyn
St corner, is the striking Gothic bluestone
figure of St Paul's Anglican Church (1856), one
of the state's oldest surviving churches.
On the other side of Yaldwyn St is the Arts
Centre, built in 1898 as the Congregational
Sunday School. It has been described as 'one of
the finest buildings constructed in Victoria
during the 1890s'.
Kyneton Fine China
Walk west along Yaldwyn St to the Wedge St
corner where you will find Kyneton Fine China
and Wattle Ceramics on the site of the town's
first substantial commercial building - the
Robert Burns Hotel. You can watch the artists
producing award-winning figurines and other
works in fine bone china, porcelain and
resin-ceramics. There are displays of figurines
and antique chinaware. It is open weekdays, tel:
(03) 5422 3337.
Walk along Wedge St back to Piper St where, at
no.96, is Meskills Woolstore - a genuinely
interesting wool-spinning mill and factory shop
that utilises antique machinery and sells pure
wool, knitting yarn and knitwear. It is located
behind the Georgian facade of a
brick-and-bluestone building erected c.1867 as a
butter factory and is open daily, tel: (03) 5422
Walk east along Piper St, the town's commercial
centre in the 1850s. It has been restored in
period fashion with original gas lamps (once
powered by gas from gum leaves), flagstone
paving and plenty of specialty shops. Kyneton
has one of the state's strongest collection of
historic bluestone buildings.
At no.74, is the former Dawson's Emporium
building (1852). At Piper and Ebden are two
buildings of interest. The former Anglican
rectory (1850), Kyneton's oldest surviving
building, is the single-storey bluestone
structure on the south-western corner. The
western bluestone half of the Royal George Hotel
was erected prior to 1860, the brick half in
1891 and the verandah in 1915.
Steam Mill Museum
On the corner of Piper and Ebden Streets is the
old four-storey Willis brothers'
bluestone-and-timber steam flour mill (1862). It
is said to be the only working 19th-century
steam mill in Australia and it still produces
fresh bread for the adjacent bakery. There are
guided tours of the mill on weekends and public
holidays from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
HISTORIC WALK 2
Mollison St became the commercial centre after
the arrival of the railway in 1861. At Mollison
and Mair is 'Eli Meek' (1890), a striking
red-brick residence with towers and griffins.
Heading south, at Bowen and Mollison, is the
former State Bank building (1883-84), now a
On the other side of the road, at Mollison
and Hutton, are the shire hall and offices. The
earliest part of the attractive facade dates
Duck down Hutton St to the bluestone
courthouse (1856) where a young Ned Kelly was
At Mollison and Jennings are the post office
(1871) and the decorative brick-and-stucco
National Bank building (1877).
On the other side of the road, Lauriston St
projects eastwards. 'Attic House' at 26
Lauriston St is a lovely single-storey bluestone
cottage (1857-58) with attic dormer windows.
At 142 Mollison St is North-West Country
Credit, originally the Bank of Victoria
(1875-76). Opposite the intersection of High and
Mollison is the former mechanics institute,
built in 1858 but largely rebuilt after
subsequent fires in the 19th century.
Duck down Welsh St to the High St corner
where you will find the old Colonial Bank
At Mollison and Donnithorne is the Club Hotel
(1861) where the Riot Act was read in 1861 to
railway workers striking over lowered pay (a
hundred police were in attendance). It has been
much altered although it retains some fine
cast-iron lacework and beautiful windows.
At Mollison and Clowes are the Botanic Gardens.
The first planting, in 1863, was the magnificent
Algerian oak adjacent Clowes St. However, things
really got under way with a gift of flowers in
1866 from Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, director
of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. There are some
fine oaks, firs, cypress and cedars, giant
redwoods (40 metres high), a number of rare
trees and picnic-barbecue areas.
Just south of the gardens Mollison St crosses
the Campaspe on an historic bluestone bridge,
built in 1861 to facilitate passenger travel to
the commercial centre. A little further south is
the beautiful bluestone masonry of the station
itself (also 1861).
HISTORIC WALK 3
At the south-eastern corner of Ebden and Baynton
Sts is the primary school. The oldest section
dates from 1855. On the north-eastern corner is
'Inverugie', a bluestone home dating from 1858
and at the north-western corner is 'Carn Brae'.
The rear dates from 1854 and the facade from
1866. Slightly west along Baynton, to the right,
is 'Catherineville', a mansion with very
delicate lacework on the verandah. It was built
in 1872 for Martin McKenna who became,
successively, mayor of Kyneton, Adelaide and
At Ebden and Jennings is the Baptist church,
built for the Methodists in 1870.
Proceed to Hutton St and turn left. The
bluestone Arts Centre was built in 1859-60 as
the Congregational Church to a Gothic design
with Classical detailing. Note the iron palisade
fence, carved stonework, the rose window, window
tracery, bellcote, porch, finials, the internal
roof trusses and 1880 organ. Adjacent is the old
Sunday school. Both are now occupied by the Arts
Centre where arts and drama events are held.
Virtually opposite, at 31 Hutton St, in a
lovely garden setting, is 'Carrack'. The
bluestone section was built by Italian
architect, sculptor and stonemason Andrea
Stombuco in 1859. The porch, verandah and rear
brick section were added later. It was once
owned by the great- grandfather of media baron
On Ebden, between Hutton and Yaldwyn, are St
Andrew's Uniting Church (1857) and the
associated manse (1860). Opposite is St Mary's
Catholic Church (1857) which has a striking
interior of contrasting white and blue and fine
stained-glass windows. The 14 station of the
cross was carved in Germany in 1867.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS 4
The two-storey central bluestone wing of the
hospital was built in 1854-56 and features a
central gable and fine lacework verandah (added
in 1910). It is at the western end of Simpson
St, just past Wedge St.
At 70 Wedge St is 'Campaspa Villa, a
single-storey bluestone villa which was built in
1855-56. 'The Lawns', at no.69, is a
single-storey Classical weatherboard house
(c.1871) with an unusual verandah and elaborate
woodwork and detailing.
Rock House is a very attractive historic
building erected c.1853-54 for Edward Argyle.
However, it was recently burned out, leaving
only the facade. The remainder has been rebuilt
sympathetically. It is located to the west of
town along the old Calder Highway (an extension
of Piper St).
Adjacent is St Agnes homestead, a large and
notable Classical red-brick structure erected
c.1872. It incorporates the original bluestone
homestead (c.1850) built by Argyle's partner
Abraham Booth. The distinctive stables date from
It is very enjoyable to wander along the banks
of the Campaspe River from an area south of
Piper St to the very pretty racecourse (1867),
north of Piper St. There are a few picnic areas
en route, including one adjacent Piper St.
Kyneton Mineral Spring Reserve
The Kyneton Mineral Spring and Reserve has
trees, picnic facilities, a period rotunda and a
pump with which to sample the water. It is
signposted off Cobb & Co Road 2 km west of town.
On the roadside to the south-west of town, where
the Cobb & Co Road rejoins the freeway bypass,
are Skelsmergh Hall (built in the 1850s and once
a summer residence for the governor) and an old
three-storey steam mill, Wards Mill (1859),
which is currently a private home.
Lauriston is 9 km west of town along the
Lauriston Reservoir Rd. The structure was built
between 1938 and 1941. The spillway measures 77
metres and the reservoir has a capacity of 19
800 megalitres. There is a popular picnicking
area amidst formal gardens and an arbour of pine
trees beside the Coliban River. Fishing and
water sports can also be enjoyed. It is open
About 3 km north of town along the
Kyneton-Heathcote Rd (Edgecombe St), Ennis Rd
heads off to the right to Blackhill Reserve, a
60-ha passive recreation area which is a
pleasant space for those who enjoy natural
bushland. There are no facilities. Contact the
visitors' centre for a bushwalking guide.
Further north along the Kyneton-Heathcote Rd,
turn left into Langley Rd, right into East
Metcalfe Rd then take the turnoff on the right
to Turpins Falls. Contact the visitors' centre
for more detailed directions and a map. They
only run after rain.
The remains of the state's only surviving stone
windmill (1855) are located on Green Hill,
beside the Metcalfe Rd.
Carlsruhe, 6 km south-east on the Calder
Highway, was the first township to develop in
the area. It emerged from the district's first
sheep station - 'Karlsruhe', which was
established by C.H. Ebden in 1837 and named
after Karlsruhe in Germany where Ebden completed
his education. In the 1840s it was a small
hamlet with an inn. A depot for the gold escort
(consisting of barracks, stables and a lock-up)
was established here in 1851. The settlement was
later diminished by the development of Kyneton.
On the left-hand side of the highway, as you
head towards Melbourne, is the four-storey
Degraves Mill (1856-57) which was, at the time,
one of the state's largest flour mills. It is
currently being used as a private studio and
workshop. On the same side of the road, past the
second bridge, is a large building on a corner
block which was built in the 1850s as part of
Caroline Chisholm's overnight shelter project
(see introduction).Opposite is a memorial to
Chisholm on a vacant piece of land.
Caroline's Restaurant is located in an 1853
general store and the bluestone railway station
dates from 1862.
Upper Coliban Reservoir
2 km south of Kyneton along the Trentham Rd,
there is a turnoff to the right which leads to
the bluestone floodway of the Upper Coliban
Reservoir which was built in 1903 and enlarged
in 1917. It has a capacity of 30 000 megalitres.
This is a good spot for trout and redfin fishing
and there are several picnic areas.
Bringalbit and Other Gardens
About 14 km north-east of town is Bringalbit
Park & Gardens. There are ten acres of huge old
trees, an ornamental lake, sweeping lawns, stone
walls, roses and perennials and a
bed-and-breakfast facility associated with the
1870s stone homestead, woolshed, stables and
outbuildings. It is open daily but it is best to
ring first, tel: (03) 5423 7223. To get there
head north along Edgecombe Rd (the
Kyneton-Heathcote Rd), turn right into Pipers
Creek Rd, cross the bridge over Office Creek and
take the first left into Baynton Rd. After 7 km
turn left into Sidonia Rd.
If, instead of turning into Sidonia Rd, you
proceed along Baynton Rd for another 6 km there
is a three-way intersection. Turn right into
Goochs Lane (surfaced but unsealed) and it is
about 2 km to 'Bindara', a 100-acre farm and
nursery surrounded by the granite hills of the
Cobaw Ranges. It is open by appointment. A
self-contained studio residence, overlooking the
garden, is available with breakfast included,
tel: (03) 5423 5237.
'The Oaks' and 'Woorabinda' are two other
local gardens which are both accessible during
the Open Garden Scheme.
Cobaw Ridge Winery
13 km from Kyneton along the Baynton Rd is a
three-way intersection. As Baynton Rd veers to
the left, avoid the right turn into Goochs Lane
and take the dirt road in the middle which
continues more-or-less straight ahead. It is
signposted for Cobaw Ridge which produces
chardonnay, shiraz and lagrein. It is open
weekends and most other days from 10.00 a.m. to
5.00 p.m. It is best to ring first, tel: (03)
5423 5227 or (0427) 805 699.
Knight Granite Hills Winery
Knight Granite Hills Vineyard is one of the most
elevated vineyards in the country. This family
winery, which commenced operations in 1970,
produces a distinguished riesling, along with
chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and
shiraz with sparkling wines a recent addition.
It is open every day from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00
p.m. but Sunday when it opens at 1.00 p.m. To
get there follow the Baynton Rd north-east of
Kyneton for 21 km then turn right onto the Burke
and Wills Track and it is a short distance along
this road which heads south-east to Lancefield,
tel: (03) 5423 7264.
Trio Station Winery - Virgin Hills
At 17-21 Piper St in Kyneton is Trio Station
Winery. It is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00
p.m., tel: (03) 5422 3034.
On the western side of the freeway, in Fordes
Lane, is Candlebark Hill which offers fine views
of the area. This family-owned boutique winery
produces limited-release table wines -
cabernets, merlot, malbec, shiraz, pinot noir
and chardonnay. They are open Sundays or by
appointment, tel: (03) 9836 2712 or (0412) 068
3 km south of Kyneton, along Trentham Rd, is a
turnoff on the right into Spring Hill Rd which
heads south-west for 14 km to Spring Hill. At 'Tallara',
on Spring Hill Rd, is Hill's Pony Playgroup
which offers children aged two to seven a chance
to interact with ponies and experience riding
(for groups of 3 to 6 children). There are also
Lead Trail Rides for those aged two to twelve
(for groups of 2 or more) and private lessons
for beginners to advanced. Bookings are
essential, tel: (03) 5424 8570.
Burrinjuck Trail Rides are located at
Burrinjuck Park, Spring Hill. They are open
weekends and public holidays only and offer
two-day trail rides in the Wombat State Forest
with all meals, horses and equipment provided.
Half-day rides are also available with barbecue
and fresh salad, tel: (03) 5424 8328 or (0408)