Maldon achieved world-wide fame due to its fabulously rich gold mines, and the gold production was worth over 3 billion dollars at today's prices; actual figures would have been much higher-how much was unreported is unknown. Some of the prominent mines around Maldon include;
The Beehive Mine-a prominent landmark with a towering chimney dominating the skyline. It is located immediately north of town, and signifies the reef mining movement that followed the smaller groups of men chasing easily won gold.
Carman's Tunnel has a great underground tour and gives good insight into how mining was actually conducted. The mine site has plenty of relics for added interest, and the guide will tell you stories that will grab your interest.
The North British Mine with its iconic quartz kilns' remnants, and being a major mining concern, it covered quite a large area. Take a free self-guided walking tour. The North British Mine and Carman's Tunnel are situated a few kilometres south of the town, see following articles for in-depth information, or the attractions website.
The Maldon Vintage Machinery Museum and Governement Gold Crushing Battery is a double attraction not to be missed. The shear number of pieces on display are quite amazing, and for the poultry sum of $5 dollars for adults and $1 for children, you will be amazed at the stories and information on a guided tour of this inconspicuous museum. For more information see the attractions website, and following articles.
The Government Gold Crushing Battery was established in 1914, and allowed small groups of miners and individuals to have gold extracted from their pay-dirt if they had no means to wash it, or during periods of water shortage. It was last used in 1990. The battery is one of 7 that were running in the Victoria. Guided tours can be organised through the Vintage Machinery Museum and a separate fee applies. The battery can still be operated. The noise could be heard all around town.
The Victorian Goldfields Railway (VGR), at Maldon is an exciting and fun filled place to experience the Age of Steam-the sounds, sights, and rich oily and smokey aromas of these colourful relics will captivate you. Take your family and friends on a grand adventure, and be sure not to miss the next Steam Train for Kids event; commencing July 11th & 12th 2015. These events are run sporadically throughout the year, so see their website, and a previous VGR article for details of your unforgettable trip. If booked online, you receive a 10% discount, which equates to; family tickets at $67.50, $22.50 for adults, and $13.50 for children, 2 to 15 years of age.
If you take a self guided walking tour around town, you can marvel at the well preserved buildings found on every street. The map supplied from the information centre will take you for a good leg stretch, and don't forget your camera.
When gold was first discovered at Tarrangower by Captain John Mechosk in 1842, it was a preclude to a madness the world had never seen before. Tarrangower was renamed Maldon in 1854 after being surveyed. It was about this time, the alluvial mining shifted to reef mining, hence the name of Mount Tarrangower. The lookout hosts a surprising view, and will test your nerve a little, unless you are fearless at heights. It does have good hand rails for safety and reassurance. It is used as a fire observation tower in summer, and was brought to the area in 1933 in sections by train and horse-drawn 'jinker up the mountain. Originally it was the 'poppet-head' or winching frame over the Comet Mine in Bendigo.
Maldon and surrounds have a year-long calender of events and attractions, and they are too numerous to mention here. Here is a sample of some of the forth coming events, and follow the links for comprehensive information: The Maldon in Winter Festival commences June 27th and includes a market, fireworks and bonfire, art show, a hotel Christmas dinner, live music, kids day, machinery meet, crushing battery open day, and much, much more. The Castlemaine Jazz Festival and Maldon Swap Meet may have just passed, but usually run every year in June. See the website for more information.
Winter in Maldon Festival, part of a calender of events.
Amongst the many buildings in Maldon, the Athenaeum is one of great interest. It formed part of the Mechanics Institute Movement, which originated in 1799, and spread across Britain and its colonies. Being the result of a series of free lectures by Dr George Birkbeck, for the workingmen of Glasgow. The term 'mechanic' at that time meant artisan or workingman. The movement spread to South Africa, India, America, Australia, the United States and Canada. Commencing in 1839 in Victoria, with the Melbourne Athaneum, the Mechanic Institutes spread across the state, and can be seen in most old towns. They served the communities of the day with library services, reading rooms, lectures, meetings, museums, concerts, and opportunities for self-learning and various games. Click here and discover more.
Walk one of the many bushland tracks, or find accommodation or camp close to the town. There are many miles of forest with gold diggings evident around the district. In spring and summer, the wild flower put on a show too, and wildlife may appear at any time. Check with the information center about the self-guided walking and cycling tours that run close to town, and in outlying areas.
Mechanics Institutes dot the Gold Fields, they were in fact libraries.
Don't forget the great cafes and eateries around town, some gourmet surprises await, including local gourmet produce for sale in speciality shops and cafes. The town also abounds with great accommodation. For all the information you need, see the information centre website. Make a visit to Maldon and be surprised.
Everlasting Daisies seen in the Goldfields, Victoria.