Tyrendarra is a small rural village in western Victoria, located where the Princes Highway is joined by the road from Heywood. It is 22 km north-east of Portland.
Tyrendarra is situated in country that proved inhospitable to European settlers. It is flanked on the west and the east by the Fitzroy River and Darlot Creek, and much of the land is stony rises intermingled with swamps. Apart from these physical difficulties, Aboriginal resistance to European settlement was strong.
The area was bypassed by a coastal road between Port Fairy and Portland until settlement further north at Tyrendarra was less risky than crossing the river mouth at the coast road. This occurred in 1873 when township lots were sold at Tyrendarra. There was already a hotel (1871), and an Anglican church and a school were opened in 1874 and 1875.
It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word which describes the meeting of the Darlot Creek with the Fitzroy River.
The stony rises supplied material for buildings and stone fences, but the land was not particularly productive until top dressing for pasture was introduced in 1906. Timber clearing was furthered by sawmills opened in 1911. Tyrendarra became more strongly identified by a general store (c1900), a public hall (1914) and the first annual agricultural show in 1916. There was also some dairying, which supplied a local cheese factory (1892). There were several schools in the district, and the Tyrendarra school closed in 1970.
Tyrendarra’s population grew steadily during 1921-61. A Methodist church, the village’s second denomination, was opened in 1961.
Tyrendarra has a general store, Anglican and Uniting churches, a public hall and recreation reserve with a pavilion for the annual show. Netball and tennis facilities were upgraded in 2014.
Its census populations have been:
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Gwen Bennett, Watering holes of the west [hotels etc Heywood Shire], the author, 1997
Erica Mather et al, Tyrendarra, Tyrendarra, 1988