Dereel is a rural village south of Ballarat and about 10 km north of Rokewood. There are forested hills in the vicinity, and Dereel’s early settlement was supported by timber cutting, gold mining and grazing. A grass and scrub fire tore through the town in March 2013, destroying 16 houses, livestock and 40 outbuildings - the fire covered 1,300 hectares (3,212 acres). After the fire, residents lobbied and won for improved mobile phone reception. Dereel is located approx 33km from Ballarat, 70km from Colac, an hour to Geelong and approx. 80 minutes to Melbourne via the Western Freeway. The Dereel Soldiers' Memorial Hall, located on Swamp Road, is considered the town centre. Dereel is a scenic place for families to grow and explore, with a large wetland area, known as the 'Swamp' or 'Lagoon'.