Barry's Reef, a former mining town in the Wombat State Forest, is in the gold bearing country which runs northwards from Blackwood to Trentham and ending at Castlemaine. It is 4 km north of Blackwood and 10 km south of Trentham.
Gold was discovered at Barry's Reef in 1858, and it is thought that it was named after a miner. The gold workings were most active during the late 1870s, with both alluvial and quartz mining. A Wesleyan chapel was the town's first school (1867), which is recorded as having had 400 pupils in 1879. At about that time there were 2000 people, nine hotels, three churches, a mechanics' institute with a library of 1000 volumes and a sawmill.
Gold mining declined during subsequent decades, as the description in the 1903 edition of the Australian handbook (especially the reference to hotels) indicates:
In 1926 the school, with three pupils, was closed. The landscape contains many disused mines, three 'Sultan' mines, a 'Pioneer' and a 'British Lion' being notable examples.
Barry's Reef had census populations of: