Our properties are located in Castlemaine and Maldon, in the historic Goldfields area of central Victoria (about 1 to 2 hours from Melbourne). The Victorian Goldfields region is witness to the legacy of the vast gold discoveries in the area about 150 years ago. The area still has some imposing Victorian architecture and a cultural heritage stemming from the wealth derived from the gold and the diversity of people living and working in this region at the time of the gold rush. Many grand old buildings still grace the streets of Ballarat and Bendigo and the smaller townships like Maldon, Castlemaine, Clunes and Stawell still have many well preserved Victorian era shopfronts and miners' cottages. We have described some suggested activities for visitors to the area on the activities page but there are many more things to be explored and discovered.
Impressive Victorian buildings and grand monuments line Bendigo's wide streets; a reminder of the history and wealth derived from one of the world’s most exciting gold rushes. More gold was found in Bendigo between 1850 and 1900 than anywhere else in the world. As a result, people came from across the world to seek their fortune and the city was literally built on gold. Some of the fine gold rush era public buildings (eg the Bendigo Town Hall (1885), the School of Mines (1887), the Bendigo Art Gallery (1887) and the Law Courts (1896)) define the architectural style of this city. Vahland and Getzschmann, both German architects, along with Bendigo born William Beebe, were responsible for many of the city’s finest buildings. However, some of the most distinctive contributions to early Bendigo were made by Chinese people; and to this day, Bendigo’s Chinese heritage is well represented by the Joss House, the Golden Dragon Museum and Classical Chinese Gardens. Today there are new discoveries to be made. Bendigo today is a place to experience art, culture, food, wine and heritage attractions. Bendigo is in the geographic centre of Victoria and is about a 90 minute drive from Melbourne.
Bendigo Courthouse from Rosalind Park
The City of Bendigo has a web site designed to help you discover Bendigo. It describes many experiences for visitors to enjoy; such as art galleries, visiting the local wineries, riding the old trams, exploring the old mines or searching for your own discoveries in an antique store.....Bendigo.
Gold discoveries sparked an influx of people and led to widespread mining activity that would come to define Castlemaine. The immediate area became the richest alluvial goldfield in the world and from 1851 attracted tens of thousands of gold prospectors all hoping strike it rich! The wealth derived from the gold saw the construction of many stately homes, grand community buildings and some large formal gardens. Many of these fine period examples remain and are still very well preserved; they beautifully reflect the wealth and optimism of the mid- and late-1800s. More recently, Castlemaine has developed into a vibrant, culturally-rich township with a sophisticated energy. It's now renowned for the arts and is abuzz with quality cafes, eclectic shops, art galleries and festivals; and some of the historic homes and gardens are open to visitors. Castlemaine is about 120 km north west of Melbourne.
The local Council for Mount Alexander Shire, home to Castlemaine, has a web site to help you discover Castlemaine. It describes many experiences for visitors to enjoy; such as chatting with a winemaker about the latest vintage, retracing the steps of the gold prospectors of searching for your own discoveries in an antique store.....Castlemaine.
The Maldon township streetscape is an authentic reminder of the nineteenth century. The old shopfronts along the main streets, the period weatherboard, brick or stone homes; together represent the best preserved example of an Australian gold mining town. So it's not surprising that Maldon was the first town to be declared 'notable' by the National Trust of Australia in 1966 and that in 2006, it was awarded the 'most intact heritage streetscape' by the National Trust. The Maldon township was established after gold was found at the foot of Mount Tarrengower in 1853. From that time on, the gold extracted from the local quartz reef mines rivalled the world's richest gold mining areas. Today in Maldon, visitors enjoy cosy cafes and eateries, galleries, craft and antique shops along the main streets. Vintage stream trains operated by the Goldfields railway provide a nostalgic tourist trip between Maldon, Muckleford and Castlemaine. Castlemaine is about 120 km north west of Melbourne and Maldon is just less than 20 km past Castlemaine.
The local Council for Mount Alexander Shire, home to Maldon, has a web site to help you discover Maldon. It describes many experiences for visitors to enjoy; such as visiting the local wineries, riding the old steam trains, walking through the bush tracing the steps of the gold prospectors, browsing the antique stores or exploring some of the mines.....Maldon.