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Barnadown Streamside Reserve

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Barnadown-Knowsley Road, Muskerry VIC

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Spend a weekend or afternoon relaxing at the Barnadown Streamside Reserve, a fantastic free campground along the gorgeous Campaspe River. 

Great for fishing, swimming, and kayaking/canoeing, this spot makes a quiet place for self-sufficient campers to set up for a weekend by the water.

Free camping at Barnadown Streamside Reserve

Barnadown Streamside Reserve is a peaceful free camping area along the bank of the Campaspe River. This is a basic bush campsite with no visitor facilities, so campers must be self sufficient. Large clear areas provide plenty of room along the river to set up camp.


The Campaspe River at Rocky Crossing, not far from Barnadown. 

The gorgeous Campaspe River runs from the Great Dividing Range in the south to the Murray River in the north, travelling for approximately 150 kilometres. There are many fantastic spots along the Campaspe River for visitors to enjoy, including here at the Barndown Streamside Reserve!

This section of the river at the Barnadown Streamside Reserve has fairly low banks but with a steep drop, there is no gradual beach-style entry to the water.

Some other great places to check out along the Campaspe River include:

History of Barnadown

A short way along Barnadown-Knowsley Road, on the other side of the bridge to the camping area, there is a large information sign displaying Barnadown's interesting history. The sign includes the following text regarding the punt which used to cross the Campaspe River here before the bridge was constructed:

Barnadown Punt

The Barnadown punt was a very significant means of crossing the Campaspe until the bilding of the first Barnadown Bridge in 1868. In 1856, Francis Graham complained in a letter to the Bendigo Advertiser of the exorbitant charge  made at Kennedy's punt across the Campaspe River at Barnadown. Edward Kennedy, the owner of the punt, appears to have taken little notice in advising in a public notice that the punt is in working order and the usual charges will be made. The charge for a cart and horse, loaded or empty, was ten shillings as compared to the punt at Echuca the charge being two shillings and six pence.

The remnants of the punt were visible on the north west side of the current Barnadown Bridge until the floods of January, 2011. The old bridge was replaced by the current bridge in 1969. The sawn off wooden uprights of the old bridge are sometimes visible on the northern side of the new bridge. 

Francis Graham's 1856 letter of complaint to the Bendigo Advertiser is as follows (Source: Trove):

(To the Editor of the Bendigo Advertiser.)

Sir,- I beg, through the medium of your journal, to inform the diggers and others proceeding to Goulbourn or Maiden's Punt, of the exorbitant charges made at Kennedy's punt (at the Clare Inn), across the Campaspe River. The charge for a cart and horse, loaded or empty, is 10s. This is what I call a "downright robbery," as the charge for crossing the large stream, the Murray River, os only 2s. 6d. by the Government punt at Echuca. The Campaspe is but a small ditch compared to it; there are very few fordings but what are hemmed in by the squatters, so as to compel persons to go across the punt. 

Hoping you will insert this in your valuable paper, to inform all persons going on that road, as they had neither notice or list posted up when I crossed on Friday, 31st October, 

And oblige, &c., 
Charcoal Gully.

Sandhurst, November 1st, 1856. 


  • Camping is a great way to explore the Victorian Goldfields. Many campgrounds are located close to interesting attractions and historic sites, and the Goldfields region is certainly not lacking in fascinating things to discover. 
  • There are heaps of fantastic swimming spots throughout the Victorian Goldfields, including the Loddon River, Cairn Curran Reservoir, Laanecoorie, Turpins Falls, and many more!


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