March 20th, 2023The real stories of Trentham’s history
THE site of the old Trentham Police Station on Camp Street is getting a makeover.
Built in 1866 it is one of the town’s oldest buildings and now the home of the Trentham and District Historical Society. And, along with its museum, lockup and stables, it will soon feature a new installation, the Trentham District Story project, commemorating the district’s history and people up to the
“It is a project we have wanted to do for a long time,” society vice president
Susie Spence said. “We have a very active committee and have decided to use the
large outdoor space at the old police station to make a walk-in display.”
The society has realised the project through support from Hepburn Shire
Council, Bendigo Bank, Cool Country Classic Car Club, Trentham Masonic
Centre, private contributions and fundraising. Work is almost complete and the
official opening with Mayor Cr Brian Hood will take place on Friday, March 24.
There will be 12 panels featuring detailed history of the region including
the lives of the original indigenous inhabitants, flora and fauna, the arrival of
European settlers seeking timber and gold and the town’s ups and downs through
disease, wars and economics.
The new exhibit will also include, with the support of Gardens For Wildlife
Victoria, a native garden featuring many of the plants the first inhabitants used for
food and medicine.
And to mark the contribution of agriculture and timber harvesting to the
timeline of local history there will be a single furrow plough and Trewhella tree
An important part of the display will be the often overlooked role of women
contributing to the wellbeing, prosperity and character of the area; from the wives
of early settlers and bush nurses to teachers and the Grasshoppers women’s football
team of the 1950s.
“The women’s stories start with Louisa Tubbs adapting to the loneliness of
station life at Tylden,” Susie says. “Then there was Betsey Trewhella who made
the arduous journey from England with her children to join husband Ben on the
Blackwood goldfields and Charlotte Robson who nursed the sick and delivered
babies in the fledgling Newbury community.”
The mining, timber and agriculture industries of the area posed inherent
dangers for the early European settlers. Furthermore, outbreaks of measles,
typhoid, whooping cough, diphtheria and the perils of childbirth made life in the
Trentham district one of isolation and hardship until well into the 1930s.
And during World War II when many of the men enlisted to serve overseas,
agricultural survival depended on the mothers and daughters left behind.
“Many people today would have no idea about that sort of thing and the
impacts it had on the community. But the Trentham District Story project paints
a very good picture of what life has been like here. I’m not sure that everyone will
take the time to read the lot but locals particularly can come back and take in
some more every time and reflect on the changes that have taken place over the
The official opening of the Trentham District Story will start at 11am on
Friday, March 24 at the old Trentham Police Station at 3-5 Camp Street.
For information and to RSVP contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Words: Tony Sawrey | Images: Contributed