A paint­ing dubbed “Farmer Bob the po­tato grower”, per­haps a nod to the re­gion’s own po­tato fes­ti­val, in the café; dogs have their own ‘wait­ing sta­tion’ out­side; the pri­vate din­ing space is fur­nished with pieces from Lynda’s col­lec­tion; the li­brary of­fers a quiet spot to re­lax; gra­nola with poached pears is an all-day treat; an old wooden car­ryall holds nap­kins; barista El­liott Wil­son at the cof­fee ma­chine. FAC­ING PAGE Mark runs the café side of the busi­ness. The pen­dant lights are from HK Liv­ing.

I’d fainted and got up off the floor, I said: ‘Let’s run with this, this is such a beau­ti­ful build­ing and I can put an­other store in it!’” Lynda re­calls. “l knew I could pull the shop to­gether and knew it would be beau­ti­ful.” Af­ter two solid months of the cou­ple work­ing night and day to re­con­fig­ure and ren­o­vate the in­te­rior, Tren­tham Gen­eral café and store opened in late May this year. Walk inside and you’ll find the fit-out is sim­ple and invit­ing, a mix of earthy and con­tem­po­rary, but also cel­e­brates the age and char­ac­ter of the build­ing. Lynda has cre­ated a colour pal­ette in col­lab­o­ra­tion with nat­u­ral paint com­pany Bauw­erk. And so, the walls at Tren­tham Gen­eral fea­ture a high painted dado of a colour she named in the build­ing’s hon­our, a “dirty army green” fit­tingly called Gen­eral, and above, a clean white called Bleached White. The two front rooms de­voted to the café are filled with light, with open fire­places and gi­ant hang­ing bas­kets of ferns sus­pended from the ceil­ing. Old oil por­traits hang in each room, pick­ing up on the olive green tones of the paint. One is of a dis­tin­guished gent Lynda has named Gen­eral Smith, the other of a ru­ral worker she calls “Farmer Bob the po­tato grower”, and both, she adds, res­onate with the story of the place, and the vi­sion and in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Tren­tham Gen­eral. “I’ve al­ways loved cute lit­tle sto­ries that bring an idea to­gether,” says Lynda. The menu is de­lib­er­ately sim­ple, with a fo­cus on qual­ity — and fea­tures break­fast all day. “We have muffins and gluten-free of­fer­ings, beau­ti­ful dough­nuts that are hav­ing a bit of a mo­ment, we do a lot of teas, cof­fee and chai, and a beau­ti­ful drink­ing cho­co­late from Grounded Plea­sures in Bal­larat,” says Mark. “A lo­cal guy makes crum­pets and we have a chef nearby who makes the gra­nola. We have two chefs who ro­tate and you can have soup here at eight o’clock in the morn­ing, and eggs and por­ridge at 3pm.” Fur­ther back is Lynda’s store, a beau­ti­fully cu­rated space and an ever-chang­ing trea­sure chest of old and new: special vin­tage art­works and pieces from her pri­vate col­lec­tion, con­tem­po­rary rugs, lo­cally made pre­serves from Natasha Mor­gan and The Cot­tage Her­bal­ist teas. “It’s a mix of old and new, in­dus­trial and con­tem­po­rary, the way I like to dec­o­rate now,” she says. “Peo­ple are go­ing to get good things here, it’s stock I’ve never wanted to part with be­fore.” A read­ing nook over­looks the rear gar­den and holds a grow­ing li­brary of gar­den books and cook­books to pore over, and ad­ja­cent, a room for group din­ing or meet­ings. “We had a party of 10 in there yes­ter­day, and we have a group of men in their 70s who play bocce ev­ery Thurs­day and come here af­ter­wards,” says Mark, who runs the café five days a week, while Lynda is in the shop four days. For Lynda and Mark, giv­ing back to the town that has of­fered them cre­ative op­por­tu­ni­ties was a pri­or­ity. “It was re­ally im­por­tant for us to build some­thing for Tren­tham to call its own and that the lo­cals would be proud to show to visi­tors,” says Mark. “It’s for the town as much as it is for us, be­cause we feel strongly about the town pros­per­ing and if we can play a part in that, all the bet­ter.” Tren­tham Gen­eral is open Thurs­day to Mon­day from 7am –4pm week­days and 8am–4pm week­ends, 37a High Street, Tren­tham. For more in­for­ma­tion, tele­phone 0416 032 111 or fol­low @tren­tham.gen­eral on In­sta­gram.

TREN­THAM VIC­TO­RIA Lynda and Mark have com­bined their cre­ative tal­ents in Tren­tham Gen­eral. The stoneware was col­lected by Lynda. RIGHT Horses graz­ing in Tren­tham.

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