I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published October 9th 2013
The Heart of Wombat Country
For a lot of people Trentham is a sea change without the sea. For others it's just a signpost on the way to Daylesford or Hepburn Springs and that's their loss because they're missing out on a tight-knit country community and a town with a good deal of history plus a couple of notable attractions.
Trentham's main street is home to a variety of interesting stores
Sited in the Great Dividing Range, 92 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, Trentham is a former logging town better known these days for potato and organic vegetable farming.
Located roughly mid-way between the Macedon Ranges and 'Spa Country' and on the edge of the Wombat State Forest Trentham provides an ideal base camp for a range of outdoor activities, exploring the region's history or sampling the modern day gastronomic delights and wines for which the surrounding region is becoming increasingly well known.
Many people are attracted to Trentham by its golf course which is in far better shape than the sign
The first pastoralists in the district arrived to take up selections in 1838 but the actual settlement and township of Trentham, like so many others in Central Victoria, owes its existence to the discovery of gold and the subsequent rush. When the alluvial gold deposits petered out the townsfolk turned their hand to timber cutting and the supply of timber products to local industry.
The gold rush also brought with it two Cornish brothers, Ben and Billy Trewhella. They eventually took up a parcel of land and set about clearing it. Along the way they invented the 'Trewhella Jack', a valuable implement for farmers, saw-millers and others needing to lift and move large logs. The brothers established the Sunnyside Foundry to produce the original jack and other forged implements they developed.
The foundry was Trentham's main industry for many years and exported Trewhella products around the world.
The railway arrived in 1880 and helped Trentham export thousands of tonnes of timber annually until the arrival of better roads in the 1950's led to cheaper road transport and a decline in rail services. The railway closed in the 1970's but Trentham's station has been restored and, along with some rolling stock and several buildings, forms the basis of the Trentham agricultural and Railway Museum.
The old Trentham Railway Station has been given a new lease of life and is the starting point for a popular walking trail
Today one of Trentham's great attractions is the old Cosmopolitan Hotel. This is one of Central Victoria's best known country pubs, earthy and weather-beaten but still going strong 147 years after it was built in 1866.
Still attracting a crowd 147 years on - Trentham's popular Cosmopolitan Hotel
Sadly the 'Cosmo' was ravaged by fire in 2005 and almost lost to the community but, with new owners armed with an ambitious and long-term restoration program, the hotel is slowly being returned to its former glory. Well on the road to recovery this iconic country pub offers a range of local beer and wine to compliment a great value for money regional based menu.
Another local attraction is the picturesque golf course and a round here followed by lunch or dinner at the 'Cosmo' is a great introduction to Trentham.
And don't miss the opportunity to see Trentham Falls just north of the town. Tumbling 32 metres over a basalt shelf to the valley below these are Victoria's longest single-drop waterfall and well worth the visit.
Trentham Falls - at 32 meters the longest single-drop waterfall in Victoria
Trentham is a fabulous little township with some interesting shops, local attractions and some excellent wining & dining experiences. It deserves to be far more than a signpost on the road to somewhere else.