MALDON

Gold rush town first in the nation to wear ‘notable’ crown

STORY: MARGARET LINLEY     PHOTOGRAPHY: VISIT VICTORIA

Maldon is steeped in history, its main street is a panorama of gold rush buildings.

Many of Maldon’s houses – some brick and grand, others quaint and appealing miners’ cottages – date back to the days when cries of gold rang through the region.

In 1966, the township’s historic, architectural and social significance as a gold-rush era town was recognised by the National Trust. It became the first town in Australia to earn the title of Notable Town.

As such, the town – surrounded by the Maldon Historic Reserve – remains undisturbed by new housing developments.

Although Maldon wears her age on her sleeve, this is not a place where time has stood still. Visitors, once drawn to the area for its historical streetscape, are increasingly attracted by the vibrancy and energy of its people.

While you can enjoy the past with a visit to an interactive machinery museum, head underground into a mining tunnel, or hop on the goldfields steam train operating between Maldon and Castlemaine, you might also choose to attend some of the regular events which pepper the local calendar.

There’s a popular monthly market, an annual town-wide garage sale, an Easter fair, a folk festival, an annual swap meet which draws interstate collectors, Ales on Rails steam train, and the popular twilight dinner where the main street is closed off to traffic and becomes a performance and dining space.

There are galleries including Edge Gallery which opened very recently, cafes focusing on local produce, antique and bric-a-brac shops, a couple of hotels, a pharmacy, supermarket and hospital.

As employers become more accepting of working from home arrangements, the train service can make a trip to the office a couple of times a week a breeze.

 The historic streetscape of Maldon, 140km northwest of Melbourne, delights locals and tourists alike. Photography: visitvictoria.com

For a town of only 1500, residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to community activities. There is a neighbourhood house and a men’s shed; and a wide range of interest groups including books, walking, bridge, croquet, football, netball, gardening, film, petanque, golf, horse-riding, land protection, pole walking and quilting clubs.

Like most country schools, Maldon Primary School has the advantage of size. With only 81 students, it has small class sizes and a sense of belonging that comes with everyone knowing each other. The school’s population is growing – last year it increased by 12 percent – as is its curriculum that includes specialist art, language and performing art classes.  It also provides a before and after school program.

The nearest secondary school is in Castlemaine which is an 18 km drive away.

This is also a town that accommodates commuters. Maldon’s train service to and from Melbourne is a busy one. The scenic journey takes around 90 minutes. As employers become more accepting of working from home arrangements, the train service can make a trip to the office a couple of times a week a breeze.

A browse of the local property market will hearten those seeking a home that reflects the charm of this historic town. From Victorian cottages to sprawling family homes surrounded by deep verandahs and pretty gardens, properties here offer great value.

The median sale price for houses is $515,000. Property values increased by 5.1 percent in the last year.

If you’re visiting, make sure you take the quick drive up Mount Tarrengower. The lookout offers spectacular 360-degree views of Maldon and central Victoria.

The Traditional Custodians of the land on which Maldon stands are the Djargurd Wurrung people.

SNAPSHOT

WATTLE ROAD 🖤 The flavour of its gold rush past and the vibrancy of its business and creative sectors makes this an irresistible destination,
DISTANCE FROM MELBOURNE: 136 km
POPULATION: 1500
WHO LIVES HERE?
According to the 2016 Census:
♦ The median age of people in Maldon was 58 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 10.3% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 33.3%.
♦ Of the families in Maldon, 24.0% were couple families with children, 60.9% were couple families without children and 14.3% were one parent families.
♦ 79.1% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were England 6.7%, New Zealand 1.1%, Scotland 1.1%, Netherlands 0.9% and United States of America 0.6%
♦ The most common occupations included professionals 21.2%, managers 16.2%, technicians and trades workers 15.5%, community and personal service work.
CLIMATE: Summer, average temperature min 10.3ºC, max 26.3ºC. Winter, average temperature min 3.8ºC, max 10.3ºC.
MAJOR EMPLOYERS: Health and tourism
SCHOOLS: A government primary school. The nearest secondary school is in Castlemaine, just 18 km away.
HEALTH CARE: Maldon Hospital provides medical and nursing care in the acute care wing, 24-hour nursing and medical services on call, residential aged care and a range of other health services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and counselling. Older residents have access to adult day community programs including strength training classes, walking groups and community visits.
NBN CONNECTION: Fibre To The Node (FTTN)
PROPERTY PRICES: The median sale price of houses is $512,500. The value of property has increased by 19.2% in the last three years.
SPORTS & RECREATION: Golf, petanque, bushwalking, horse-riding, walking, football, netball, a Men’s Shed and neighbourhood house.
ARTS & CULTURE: Museums and art galleries, annual folk festival, book club, film society.
COUNCIL: www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au

MY HOMETOWN

PAMELA JEWSON

When I was younger, work circumstances meant I moved around a lot. I found it unsettling. People were often a little bit suspicious of new people. There was this attitude when you went into a little town of, ‘You’re not fifth generation; who are you, where do you come from?’

It’s not like that at all in Maldon. The minute we walked down the street, people wanted to know who we were. There was a definite vibe of, ‘We love new people and we want to know about you and what you can do for the town’. We were really welcomed, invited to things, encouraged to go along. That’s the difference. You’re drawn into things. The encouragement of this town is very special.

We were living on the Bellarine Peninsula and had spent a year renting out a little cottage in Maldon because it was so central and it helped with my work with the Golden Plate Awards. It was only when we rented that little cottage for work reasons that we discovered Maldon and what it was all about. We got into that whole vibe, its people, its fabulous events, its charm, its welcoming vibe.

It’s very artistic here with lots of writers, artists, photographers. The Daylesford-Castlemaine-Maldon triangle seems to be all about artistic people.

 I hadn’t been here two minutes and the opportunity to run the twilight dinner came in. People come from everywhere for this. The town was very encouraging; there’s none of this, ‘You’re an outsider and you’re not going to take over one of our special events’. It was, ‘We will get behind you and help you’.

It’s not the council putting on events here; it’s the people who drive things. That’s important. The town is full of people who are real doers who say, ‘if it’s not happening let’s make it happen’. We all work together and just do it.

We’ve been here four years now.

MELBOURNE

Travel time is approximately 60 minutes.

TO MALDON

FIND A PROPERTY

592 Maldon-Newstead Road, Welshmans Reef

592 Maldon-Newstead Road, Welshmans Reef

$820,000 - $845,000

4 2 6

27 Franklin Street, Maldon

27 Franklin Street, Maldon

$450,000

2 1 2

11 Reef Street, Maldon

11 Reef Street, Maldon

$685,000

4 1 2

8 Ireland Street, Maldon

8 Ireland Street, Maldon

$595,000 - $615,000

4 2 -