Clarendon is a rural village on the Midland Highway, 20 km south-east of Ballarat.
The place was originally known as Corduroy Bridge, after the planked crossing over Williamsons Creek immediately to the west of the village. The name Clarendon was adopted in 1857 when village lots were first sold, and ‘Corduroy Bridge’ was finally dispensed with the following year when the post office’s name was changed. Clarendon was named after the British Foreign Minister, the Earl of Clarendon. There were two hotels, the Carrier’s Arms and the Corduroy Bridge. A Presbyterian school was opened in 1859.
Clarendon was several kilometres distant from the goldfields, and its undulating country was interspersed with fertile valleys which were well suited to farming. A railway (Geelong to Ballarat) was opened in 1862, with the nearest station, Lal Lal, about 5 km north-east of Clarendon. In 1903 Clarendon was described in the Australian handbook:
By the 1930s the hotel had closed and by the 1960s the number of stores had fallen to one. The school was closed in 1933, reopened in 1946 and finally closed in 1993. Clarendon has a reserve, a cemetery, a hall and a church.
Its census populations have been:
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Peter M. Griffiths, Three times blest: a history of Buninyong and district 1837-1901, Buninyong, 1988