I have procrastinated about writing this post for a bit because, well, I like a bit of mystery. I really didn’t know anything about the Kurth Kiln, historically speaking. And it is such an awesome name! The Kurth Kiln. So what is it, and what’s so special about it?
Kurth Kiln under construction via Wikipedia
Well, other than it’s fabulous location in Gembrook, the Kurth Kiln was built in about 1941 by the Victorian Forests Commission to produce charcoal as a substitute fuel, during petrol shortages in World War II. While it was the only commercial-size kiln able to operate continuously, and did so by mid 1942, numerous other circumstances meant that by the end of 1942 it was only used occasionally, and was shut down early in 1944. It is the only kiln of its kind ever built in Victoria, based on a prototype in Tasmania from the same designer, Professor Ernest Kurth. (As far as I’m aware, the charcoal was used in gas-producing units fitted to cars, where the gas was used instead of petrol).
Caretaker’s House – via Parks Victoria
It’s significance comes from the inventiveness of the design, and purpose – creating a cheap and continuous supply of charcoal as a stop-gap measure to replace fuel for motor vehicles – as well as its uniqueness.
Shop Now at the Cake Stop Beaconsfield – delicious treats and cakes and and all you need to make your own
Aside from the history and the science, there is the surrounding Kurth Kiln Regional Park, which covers about 34 square kilometres. While not the largest, there are an abundance of trails to walk and ride (and dogs are allowed ON LEASH), as well as a picnic and camping ground, and horse corral area.
Kurth Kiln Walk – Parks Victoria
The shortest of the walking tracks is Ship Rock Falls (300 metres return) while the Tomahawk Creek Circuit and Thornton Walking Track are both 2 kilometres return. All three tracks should prove pleasant strolls. Numerous trails suitable for bikes and horses are available, and are designated “Horses, Walker and Bicycle Only”. There are no designated single trails within the park.
You can get to Kurth Kiln via either Launching Place Road or Beenak Road, Gembrook. The camping ground is about 7 kilometres north of the township. Parks Victoria provide a number of maps and useful information on facilities and looking after the park. I’ve included links to a couple below: