Maldon is a charming historic town which looks almost as though time has stood still since the end of the 19th century.
Maldon is Victoria’s best preserved gold rush town with its carefully maintained colonial buildings and historic precinct. In 2006, the National Trust awarded the "Most Intact Historic Streetscape" title to Maldon. The town has 21 sites listed on the Australian Register of the National Estate. Its 19th century streets showcase an eclectic mix of galleries, collectables, handcrafts, old pubs, cafes, provedores, restaurants and more.
In 1966 Maldon became the first Victorian town to be classified as a "Notable Town" by the National Trust. In fact, only 2 towns have ever received this classification. This honour reflects an appreciation of its remarkably well-preserved historic streetscape with its European trees, wide verandahs, flagstone paving, old-fashioned shop fronts, quaint cottages with attractive gardens, and its many stone buildings erected in the heyday of the goldmining era. More information can be obtained here.
The town's genuinely historic feel is quite overwhelming, arising out of its architectural harmony, an extensive restoration program that has avoided tackiness and frippery, strict controls on building alterations, an absence of grandiosity and the tendency of the shops to reinforce the antiquity of their exteriors with interiors that also speak of a lost time.
For these reasons Maldon has become a very popular tourist destination, particularly during the Easter Fair. Hence, many of the buildings have been converted into specialist stores designed to appeal to the visitor. Maldon is located 138 km north-west of Melbourne via Castlemaine, which is 19 km to the south-east, and 359 metres above sea-level.
Prior to the arrival of the first squatters in 1840 the area was occupied by the Dja Dja Wrung aboriginal people. An Aboriginal Station operated near Mt Tarrangower from 1841-1849. The area was known as Bryant's Ranges. However, the town really began when John Mechosk, a German prospector who had already struck gold at Dunolly, Maryborough and Kingower, discovered gold at the foot of Mt Tarrangower in 1853, thereby initiating a rush of some 20,000 diggers who initially devoted themselves to alluvial mining. The best site that we know of for information about Maldon is www.maldoninformation.com, the alternative Maldon information website. By the end of 1854 the tide had receded to some 2000 prospectors and a township of sorts had developed around a narrow road.
The settlement was initially known as Tarrangower. A townsite was surveyed in 1854 but the location was rejected and ignored by locals. Consequently the de facto township established by the diggers was surveyed in 1856 (which explains the irregular street patterns which evolved organically as routes between the diggings). It was renamed after Maldon in Essex, England.
In 1856 Nuggetty Reef was uncovered to the north of town and companies entered the picture, supplying the capital to unearth the gold-bearing quartz reefs which proved to be among the richest in the country. In the 1860s Maldon rivalled Bendigo for returns but, by 1870, the gold had begun to dwindle. More information on gold mines at Maldon can be obtained from the www.maldongold.com website. In the subsequent years mines began to close and the population declined. The last operating mine was the North British which closed in 1926.
It is this absence of growth after the late 19th century which has facilitated the preservation of the town's historic features.
Noted novelist Henry Handel Richardson (nee Ethel Richardson) spent a portion of her childhood at Maldon. Her recollections of Maldon in those days are contained in her book "Myself When Young".
The Maldon Camp Draft is held in February and the Maldon Easter Fair in April. In late October and early November, the Maldon Folk Festival is held at Butts Reserve (along the road to Mt Tarrangower), and at various venues in the town. The Mt Tarrangower Hillclimb (a motor sport event) is held in late October. The Maldon in Winter festival occurs in July each year.
This site is owned and maintained by Agatha Panthers Cottages. Please visit our website if you are looking for accommodation in Maldon.