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Castlemaine

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Castlemaine
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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.

The 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 historic town.

With Bendigo just to the north, Castlemaine is only 90 minutes from Melbourne.

Check out our listing of Castlemaine accommodation. 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.

Information Centre

Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre
44 Mostyn Street
CASTLEMAINE VIC 3450
Ph: 03 5471 1795
Freecall: 1800 171 888
Email
Web: www.maldoncastlemaine.com
Open
7 days a week 9 am - 5 pm
Closed Christmas Day
Hours may vary, contact visitor centre

Castlemaine Attractions

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


 

Castlemaine Distance

Distance to Castlemaine
• Following are some approximate distances by road to Castlemaine:
  Km
• Ararat 136.4
• Avoca 74.1
• Bacchus Marsh 92.2
• Ballarat 78.9
• Bendigo 38.1
• Clunes 53.7
• Creswick 63.7
• Daylesford 36.9
• Geelong 137.2
• Heathcote 84.3
  Km
• Kilmore 94.1
• Kyneton 35.8
• Mansfield 238.2
• Maryborough 47.5
• Melbourne 120.4
• Nagambie 136.5
• Seymour 133.7
• St Arnaud 123.5
• Wangaratta 274.5
• Woodend 50.6
Distances given are only approximation, they should be verified with the appropriate maps.
The Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners.

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