Newlyn is a rural township on the Midland Highway where it is intersected by the Ballarat-Daylesford Road and the former railway line (1887-1976) between Creswick and Daylesford. Newlyn is a short way west of the Wombat State Forest, and Creswick is 8 km to its east. Newlyn North is 2 km away and Newlyn Reservoir (1880) is in the foothills of the State Forest. The reservoir was built for the water trust at Clunes.
Newlyn was a suitable farming area for Creswick miners as easily-won alluvial gold lessened during the mid-1850s. Numerous miners were of Methodist persuasion, some from Cornwall, England. Newlyn, Cornwall, probably inspired the name; an early Methodist couple, the Yellands, had been married in the Parish of St Newlyn East.
A Wesleyan church and school were opened in 1858, and the Belle Vue House hotel was licensed. Bailliere's Victorian gazetteer (1865) recorded two sawmills about 3 km distant in the Bullarook Forest, two hotels and a mainly agricultural district population of about 500 persons. A new Wesleyan church was built in 1870 and a mechanics' institute was opened in 1886. A chaff cutting mill was built in 1889, gaining a reputation for good produce from locally grown material. The building continues to be used for stock feed purposes.
In 1903 Newlyn was described in the Australian handbook:
After World War I soldier-settlement farms were subdivided from the Sutton Park estate, near the reservoir. Sutton Park was part of the Birch Brothers' Bullarook pastoral run (hence Birchs Creek, which feeds the reservoir). The Sutton Park homestead is an elaborately verandahed building, constructed on what was recorded as the largest cultivated estate in Victoria. Its soil made it particularly suitable for smaller soldier settler farms.
Newlyn had several sporting clubs, a dramatic society and the wherewithal to raise money for a new clinker brick Anglican church at Newlyn North in 1932.
Newlyn has a general store, hotel, a hall, a small primary school (8 pupils, 2014) and a garage/service station. Its football team plays in the Central Highlands football league. Conical volcanic hills are readily visible, testifying to the soil's suitability for potatoes, oats and mixed farming. The former Wesleyan church (a private residence) and railway station provide evidence of Newlyn's past.
Newlyn's census populations have been:
Newlyn North and environs' census population has been:
E.T. Lynes, A history of Newlyn, Loftset Press, 1987
Lester Tropman and Associates et al, Creswick Shire heritage study, Creswick Shire, 1990
N.A. Connell, The Church of St Matthew, Newlyn, 1882-1982, 1982