Delightful Maldon Historic Area
Maldon exploded onto the map when gold was first discovered there in 1853. But within a year most of the 20,000 diggers who had flocked there for the shallow gold had moved on. Those who remained set up partnerships and companies to mine the quartz reefs. Mining in Maldon began to decline in the 1890s, until eventually the final mine, the North British, closed in 1926.
Located in and around the township of Maldon, the Maldon Historic Area protects many relics from this era. Much of Maldon’s heritage architecture has also been preserved - Main Street in particular is a snapshot of a time long-gone, with restored historic buildings housing cafes, produce, arts and crafts and accommodation.
The town and surrounding historic area is an ideal destination for families. There are three historic mining sites within the town, and another 10 or so within a five minute drive of the town centre. One of these, the North British Mine, is an impressive set of ruins with picnic tables and barbecue facilities for visitors. The Caledonian Quartz Kilns are so large they can be seen from the road. And there’s Carman’s Tunnel, a horizontal tunnel rather than a shaft, which has regular tours.
What remains of the North British Mine is the shaft and one of the most intact sites of gold recovery equipment in Victoria, including the foundations of boilers, winding gear, stamping batteries and the kilns used for roasting the crushed quartz to extract the 242,000 ounces of gold that the mine produced. Signs of more recent mining activity can be seen from the viewing platform at the huge Union Hill open-cut mine.
A novel way to reach the town is via the Victorian Goldfields Railway, bringing to you the experience of steam train travel, which runs from Castlemaine and passes through Smith’s Reef and the Muckleford Bushland Reserve.
There’s quite a lot to do and see in Maldon.