Originally erected in 1923, the Mount Tarrengower Lookout Tower sits high above the surrounding area, offering panoramic views in all directions. The lookout site is of importance when it comes to protecting the landscape.
The tower was opened on January 26, 1924. Though it was originally used as a general lookout tower, in the 1950s the tower started being used for the express purpose of monitoring fires. It remains in use as a fire lookout to this day. On top of the tower sits a fire lookout box and this is manned for around 125 days during the summer months. Fires are common in the Australian bush, so there is great responsibility in this job as fire spotter to monitor for any signs of early smoke. They would then report this to the authorities who send firefighters to the area. It is quite remarkable that due to the specialist skills required for this job, there have been only six spotters since it was first used for this purpose in the 1950s.
Interestingly, the tower was originally taken from part of the structure which made up the Comet Mine in Bendigo and it was transported by train to the nearby town of Maldon. It took great effort from a timber jinker (a name given to a traditional wooden transport cart) and a team of horses to carry the structure to the top of Mount Tarrengower at a height of 556 meters (1,824 feet).
The tower is a rare part of the remaining history of the gold mining times and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. This area held great significance in Australia’s gold rush with many mines in the area, and it was around the time that the gold mining had almost ceased that the tower was constructed. The tower has been developed and modernized over time and is now open to the public. Visitors can now climb to the top for fantastic 360 degree views.
Every year, locals gather during the annual Maldon Easter Fair to observe the illumination of the tower. Traditionally this was done with 100 makeshift lanterns using ginger beer bottles, kerosene, and hemp wicks. In recent years, however, this has been replaced with a string of modern lights which can be seen from over 50 kilometers away. Young children in the area are told that the illuminated tower is the home of the Easter Bunny.
Know Before You Go
There is an area for parking at the top of the hill where Mount Tarrengower Lookout Tower lies. There is a small camping area nearby at the bottom of the hill. Climbing the tower is free.