Penshurst. The Botanic Gardens in autumn with colourful Taxodium trees.
Penshurst was surveyed and laid out in 1851 but it was the late 1850s and early 1860s before the first schools, hotels and churches were constructed. The early settlers planted English Elms in the town streets and built in local bluestone basalt rocks from the volcanoes of Mt Rouse. The old Shire Offices (now the Volcanoes Discovery Centre), the Post Office and Courthouse were all built around 1864/65 as was the Presbyterian Church which was built in 1865 and the Catholic Church in 1867. The first church in the town was the original Wesleyan Methodist church erected in 1860. An historical walk brochure should be available from the Information Centre (the Volcanoes Centre) or the Post Office. From the roundabout on the corner of Bell and Martin streets you can see the Post Office (1878, clock tower 1888) and the old Courthouse (1864) and eastwards along Bell Street is the National Bank (1868).Further along Bell Street to the east is another former school (1858) and the former Wesleyan Methodist Church (1860). Walk west along Bell Street from Martin Street to see the Victoria Hotel (1863), the former Chinese grocery store (1890s) and Madigan’s Store (about 1860). Head south towards Warrnambool down Martin Street and here you will see the old Shire Office (Volcanoes Centre), the Hall, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church(1867 and transepts added 1897) the Catholic Presbytery (1925) and some fine houses. Turn right at Cobb Street and here you will find the Presbyterian Church, now Uniting (1865) and the adjacent manse (1867) and further along Cobb Street is the Anglican Church (1898). North from the central roundabout is the town park and wetlands. If you walk east along Watton Street you will see the old primary school (1858) and the Catholic Convent around the corner in French Street (1880s). It is a pretty town and easy to explore with charming buildings.