Trentham (including Blackwood, the Wombat
Forest and Lerderderg State Park)
Small historic town at the edge of the Wombat
Trentham is a small rural township attractively
situated amidst the Wombat Forest 97 km
north-west of Melbourne's CBD. It sits on a spur
of the Great Dividing Range at an elevation of
800 metres and can be approached via the Western
Freeway (the turnoff is 15 km west of Bacchus
Marsh) or by turning off the Calder Highway at
Woodend (which is 26 km east of Trentham) or
Kyneton (22 km north-east of Trentham).
The first pastoral run was taken up here in
1838. Trentham was first settled in 1855 after
the discovery of gold in the area the previous
year by two individuals who had wandered up the
Lerderderg River in search of lost bullocks. The
vast timber resources of the area were exploited
from that time with a number of mills emerging
in the Wombat Forest.
The railway arrived in 1880 and, in 1890,
over 20 000 tons of produce (mostly timber) left
the station. The prospect of disappearing
resources led to the controlled harvesting of
timber from the turn of the century.
Timbergetting and farming ensured that Blackwood
survived the end of the goldrush. It was here
that the once indispensable Trewhalla
jack-and-stump grubber was invented at the local
Eucalyptus distilling, charcoal burning,
sawmilling and firewood-cutting were all carried
out in the forest which is dotted with a number
of smaller settlements - East Trentham,
Blackwood, North Blackwood, Barrys Reef,
Newbury, Simmons Reef, Lyonville, Little Hampton
and Fern Hill.
Trentham has an hotel (in High St), a bowling
club (in Park St), a sports ground and popular
golf course (both located at the northern end of
town adjacent the road to Trentham Falls and
Daylesford), a swimming pool (cnr Camp and
Market Sts) and tennis courts (Market St).
Fishing can be rewarding along the banks of the
Things to see:
The Woodend Visitor Information Centre can be
contacted by ringing (03) 5427 2033.
Trentham possesses an attractive streetscape.
The old police station and slab lock-up in Camp
St (between Market St and Cosmo Rd) are now
occupied by the local historical society.
There are two old horse troughs in town. One
is located near the High St reserve - a pleasant
picnic area by the intersection of High St and
Cosmo Rd. The other is by the butcher's shop in
Market St (near the High St intersection).
At the northern end of Market St is the
Market St railway station (1880) which displays
vintage rolling stock. The Daylesford-Carlsruhe
line closed in 1978.
At the western end of Victoria St, just past
Stony Creek, is the Trewhalla Brothers foundry.
Billy and Ben Trewhalla were the sons of
successful Cornish goldminers from Barrys Reef.
They bought the Blue Mount timber mill in 1887
and Bill, who had served an apprenticeship at a
foundry in Ballarat, invented the Trewhalla jack
which facilitated the movement of large mill
logs. It was manufactured continuously from 1893
until the foundry closed in 1997.
Quarry St Reserve
The Quarry St Reserve and Lake is located on
Stony Creek, by the intersection of Quarry St
and Victoria St. The springs in the
south-western corner of the reserve (which was
created by means of voluntary labour) are
thought to have been Trentham's first water
supply. There are undercover gas barbecues,
picnic facilities and toilets.
At 24 High St is Trentham Old Wares where
secondhand books, old wares, furniture, plants
and collectables are on sale from 11.00 a.m. to
5.00 p.m., Wednesday to Monday, tel: (03) 5424
Jargon Crafts, at 34 High St, offer a
selection of textiles and handicrafts by Helen
McRae. They are open Wednesday to Sunday and
public holidays, tel: (03) 5424 1668.
Head north out of town past the sports ground,
heading towards Daylesford. At the intersection
turn right, heading east towards Kyneton and
Woodend. A very short distance along is a
turnoff on the left which leads to the car park
near the beautiful Trentham Falls. A short track
leads to the Northern Lookout offering views of
the Coliban River which falls some 32 metres
over basalt columns originally formed by ancient
lava flows. These are allegedly the largest
single-drop falls in Victoria. The reserve
protects an example of pre-colonial vegetation
(tall open forest of manna gum, messmate,
stringybark and narrow-leaved peppermint,
grading to woodland on the drier and more
exposed sites). It is an excellent spot for
picnics and bushwalks. Further north (by foot or
4WD) are the Trentham Cascades.
Enders Bridge and Lyonville Mineral Spring
Head north out of town past the sports ground.
At the intersection turn left, heading west
towards Daylesford. You will soon cross the
Coliban River. Nearby is Enders Bridge. Jeremiah
Enders was a Californian goldminer who
established one of the first mills in the area.
It operated from 1856 until Enders left for the
Klondyke in 1895. Enders bridge is no longer in
use but the fine stonework can be seen. Upon his
return to the area Enders settled on a farm to
the south-west of the bridge where he built two
distinctive smokehouses which are still visible.
About 6 km further west there is a turnoff on
the right into the Loddon River Road which leads
to the Lyonville Mineral Spring which flows all
year round by the Loddon River. There are
fireplaces, picnic tables and toilets.
6 km south of Trentham, en route to Blackwood,
is Newbury. In Beaches Lane you will find
Kattemingga Lodge which offers horse rides
through the Wombat State Forest, ranging in
length from one hour to a full day. There are
also special school holiday camps, tel: (03)
14 km south of Trentham is Blackwood which is
situated on the Lerderderg River, 570 m above
sea-level. Walking trails lead to Shaw's Lake
which is a good swimming spot in warmer weather.
Picnics, bushwalking and goldpanning are
possible on the river. The Blackwood Easter
Carnival is held in April.
There is a mineral springs reserve in Golden
Point Rd. The two canopied springs are connected
by a bridge over the Lerderderg River. This is
the site of a flora and fauna reserve. There are
barbecues, a picnic area, toilets, parking and a
kiosk. It is open in daylight hours and there is
an admission fee per car, tel: (03) 5368 6539.
Blackwood Mineral Springs are just east of
town, adjacent the Lerderderg River in the
Wombat Forest (off the Greendale to Trentham
Rd). There is a large play area with toilets,
barbecues and a kiosk.
Garden of St Erth
Signposts clearly point the way from Blackwood
to the Garden of St Erth in Simmons Reef Rd. It
features an attractive perennial garden and
nursery and a stone cottage which is one of the
few surviving buildings from the days when St
Erth was a goldmining town in the 1860s. Other
features of the early townscape are marked out
as you walk through the garden and the old coach
road runs across the property. It is located in
Simmons Reef Rd and is open Friday to Tuesday
from August to May. There is a cafe. The garden
hosts several annual festivals: the Summer
Festival (featuring perennial borders, cottage
annuals and harvest vegetables), the Autumn
Perennial Show, the Daffodil Festival (held in
September) and the Spring Festival, tel: (03)
The Wombat Forest
The Wombat Forest (69 200 hectares) was once
scoured for gold and has long served as a major
source of timber. A few remnants in more remote
parts of the forest indicate the nature of the
flora here in pre-colonial days - tall open
eucalyptus forest, woodland in the drier areas,
strips of mixed wet sclerophyll/temperate
rainforest with ferns along the watercourses.
About 100 species of wildflowers and orchids can
still be found in bushland areas.
The Wombat Forest Drive is a 50-km route that
starts in Blackwood and takes in lookout points,
mineral springs and gardens. The Department of
Natural Resources and Environment in Daylesford
have a map and brochure relating to the drive,
tel: (03) 5348 2211. There are also numerous
walks in the Wombat Forest, some of which follow
old water races associated with the old
At 830 metres above sea-level McLaughlin
Lookout, to the west of Blackwood, offers
excellent views of Mt Macedon, the You-Yangs and
the Dandenongs. It is located near the junction
of the Blackwood Ridge Rd and Wheelers Track.
The former heads west off the main road to the
south of Blackwood.
Nolans Creek forest site has a fireplace and
picnic tables for those who wish to explore the
forest further. A mill was established at the
junction of Nolans Creek and the Lerderderg
Rover in 1887 with a tramway connecting it to
another mill further east. A pile of sawdust
attests to the fact that another mill was
established on the site by Edward Firth in 1934
with houses for millworkers and a network of
tramways which provided the basis of some of the
present roads and tracks. To get there from
McLaughlin Lookout continue west along Blackwood
Ridge Rd for about 2 or 3 km beyond Wheelers
Track, and turn right into Nolan Creek Rd. After
about 4 km the driver will reach a
T-intersection with Lerderderg Road. Turn right
and the forest site is to the immediate left.
Lerderderg State Park
The main formations associated with this 14
000-ha park, to the south-east of Blackwood, are
the rugged gorges and escarpments of the
There are numerous walking trails of varying
length which follow the river and the water
races cut by goldminers from the days when the
area was scoured for gold. There are good sandy
riverside beaches, swimming areas (particularly
at Shaw's Lake) and bushcamping is permitted
away from main roads, rendering the area popular
with summertime bushwalkers.
Access roads are often crude and may be
unmanageable in wet weather. The main point of
ingress to the northern section is O'Brien Rd
which is signposted off the main road 3.8 km
south of Blackwood. It leads to a picnic spot at
O'Briens Crossing, on the Lerderderg River,
which is a popular picnicking, bushwalking and
goldpanning spot. The crossing is the start of
East Walk (14 km one way), which follows the
Lerderderg River south, Byers Back Track which
is a 3-km walk that follows the river to Tunnel
Point, and the longer Lerderderg Gorge Walk. For
further information ring 131 963.
5 km east of Trentham, via Pearsons Rd, is East
Trentham. A little over a kilometre further east
along Pearsons Road is a turnoff on the right
into Firth Road which leads south for about 5 km
to Firth Park (100 ha) where there are
fireplaces, toilets and picnic tables. It is
near several former sawmills, one of which is
accessed via a walking track.
This block was selected by Joseph Firth in
1881. It was used for eucalyptus distilling and
planted with the exotic trees which still grow
here. All are labelled for identification. At
the park is a lake and an old horse-drawn timber
tram. The wheels were used on Edward Firth's
Nolan Creek tramway.