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With thanks to Trentham & District Historical Society.
Trentham’s police complex is thought to have had only a single cell until 1879, when a rod-and-slab portable double cell arrived from Kyneton.
Such cells were brought out on ships from England as ballast during the gold rush and assembled on site. Metal rods made up the whole frame, including the roof and the floor.
There are three single cells of this type in Victoria – at Mansfield, Moonambel and Chewton – but only one other double cell is known to exist in Australia (it is in WA).
The limitations of Trentham’s single cell were recorded in February 1879 by the Kyneton Guardian:
“On Monday afternoon a disturbance occurred at the hotel and store of Mr W. Dashwood, at Loddon crossing, on the Daylesford and Carlsruhe Railway works.
“The navvies rushed the shanty, rolling out casks of beer, drinking and helping themselves to the store goods.
“Constables Hogan and Gordon came on the scene from Trentham, and seventeen arrests were made.
“The Trentham lockup is only eight feet by ten, and as the men were all packed in there on Monday night they were rather warm and had not sufficient room to sit down.”
It was time, the newspaper suggested, for Trentham to have a second lock-up.
✍️ Sue Worthington, curator of Trentham & District Historical Society.
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