Castlemaine - Cities, Towns and Localities
Over 150 years ago, the soil around the Mount Alexander region yielded the
richest deposits of alluvial gold the world has ever known. Today, you can view
those times in the historic reminders and enjoy what the region offers.
Castlemaine Trail is one way of enjoying not only the history but the food and
wine trails, as well as the many small cafes and food providores found in this
With Bendigo just to
the north, Castlemaine is only 90 minutes from
Check out our listing of
In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local
tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local
maps and other information.
Avenue of Honour
For those coming into the town from
the east, The Avenue of Honour is the main entry. Since in the advent of Dutch
Elm disease in Europe, it is now regarded as the finest elm avenue in the world.
There are approximately 281 North American elms, with the remaining elms, oaks
and plane trees planted in 1884.
The trees were planted to honour all those men and women from the district who
had fought and died in World War I.
Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings
Located in the
Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, situated midway between Castlemaine
and Chewton is this historic mining site. There is a number of things to do,
with most being free of charge.
- Gold Panning A 400 metre walk commencing at a small shed (below it is
the dam), allows you to discover how miners won gold from Forest Creek. The
dam has a clean beach and is a great place to learn to pan for gold. You can
purchase gold pans with instruction from the Castlemaine Visitor Centre.
- Interpretive Trail This walk around Forest Creek site takes about half
an hour. It takes you through the various phases of mining on this site from
the early 150s, through to the mid 1950s. Signboards along the trail
explain why gold was found in such abundance.
Initially the gold was retrieved by manual labour and basic tools such as a
bucket and rope or a windlass. Later, the miners dug horizontal tunnels into
the hills following the old creek beds and pushed the gravel out in small
trucks on rails, to be washed.
With the coming of machines in the early 20th century miners were able to
use high pressure water jets to sluice the gold bearing gravels into
a small area and pick out the gold from there. Two hills that once existed,
White hill and Red Hill, were washed away in this manner.
- Whatever Happened to Big Dundee Jock? Big Dundee Jock was a
miner who struck it rich around here. The word soon got around and one
night, as he lay in his hammock, a blackguard named Pete attempted to steal
his gold. Jock saved his gold but lost most of his teeth. As he did not
trust banks, he went to Melbourne and had his gold made into teeth, to
replace those knocked out and to keep his riches safe. But Big Dundee Jock
disappeared mysteriously hereabouts, not long after his return to Forest
Creek. Was there foul play?
- Indigenous Garden Despite the tumult of the
gold rushes and the changes wrought by intervening years, the connection to
the land of the local Aboriginal community, the Jaara people, remains
strong, and their welcome is acknowledged and respected. With the help of
the Jaara people, an indigenous garden is being established at Forest Creek
to help visitors understand and respect the ongoing nature of their culture.
Jaara Elder, Brien Nelson, hopes that the garden will help people imagine
the nature of the country before gold was found, when it was walked by men,
women and children who carried with them everything they needed for survival
- tools, ceremonial implements and possum skin cloaks.
- Castlemaine Diggings National Park Forest
Creek Historic Gold Diggings is part of the Castlemaine Diggings National
Heritage Park. When you travel the into the Park away from the main roads
you enter Box-Iron forest, which is a great place to discover things. The
forest's natural attributes - bush life, topography and geology - coexists
with historic gold rush mining relics and evidence of Aboriginal occupation
to for an extraordinary, layered landscape.
There are many tracks, most built by the gold miners. The forest floor
contains a remarkable range of things to observe you you can see the traces
of gold mining, as well as tracks of small animals, with Golden Orb spiders
hanging in their webs between the branches. In spring the forest is full of
tiny lilies and orchids.
Please keep to the tracks and care should be taken to avoid mine workings
such as shafts and tunnels. Be prepared for changeable weather as it can be
cold and wet in winter and very hot and dry in summer.
- The Geo Maze Constructed from eight
concentric circles of rocks, representative of the main periods of
geological activity in the goldfields region. The oldest rocks are placed
around the outer circle and the youngest rocks are in the centre.
The outer circles are made from the sandstone and shales. that were
laid down on the floor of the ocean when this part of Australia was still
below sea level (about 480 million year ago).
The next circle consists of slate which was formed when the whole region was
heated to 300บC about 440 million years ago. This converted and hardened
shale into slate.
Large white quartz rocks from the next circle. Quartz formed just aft the
slate about 440 million years ago. This was the reef of rock that
contained gold and was mined deep underground by miners in hundreds of
shafts throughout the district.
The next circle is the black and white speckled Harcourt granodiorite, which
is a type of granite. It formed 368 million years ago when hot molten
granodiorite was pushed upwards from deep in the crust then eventually
cooled to form the hard rock that we now call Mount Alexander.
The next circle is made from basalt. Over the past 7 million years, basalt
lava has flowed from many volcanoes in central and western Victoria.
The inner circles are made from conglomerate, which is a mixture of all
sorts of older rocks and gold bonded together with cement-like clay and
sand. These were formed in ancient riverbeds over a long period from about
40 million to 3 million years ago.
A guide book to the Castlemaine Diggings is available at both Castlemaine and
Maldon Visitor Information Centres.
Source: Forest Creek Historic Gold Diggings by Mount Alexander Diggings and Parks
Victoria available from visitor centre