Saturday, 10 April 2010
Adventures in Australia - Maldon, Castlemaine and surrounds
On this trip to Australia I finally got to get out to 'The Goldfields' - the cities and towns that sprung up in the wake of the goldrush of the 1850's in the East of Victoria. Initially the only reason for me wanting to go was the prospect of prospecting (not in any seriousness, just for fun), but as I read about the area there seemed to be much more to it.
We stayed in a lovely miner's cottage built in 1860 on the outskirts of Maldon, a small and spookily preserved mining town about 15 minutes from Castlemaine and an hour or so from Ballarat. It's like walking through a time warp, except the shops all stock high end foodie porn and patchworking material.
It turned out that on top of all the gold business there were three great reasons to visit; 1) the history (mines, architectural gems, lovely old streetscapes), 2) the secondhand bookshops (especially Book Heaven in Campbells Creek just outside Castlemaine and The Known World in Ballarat) and 3) the charity / 'op' shops and second hand stores, which if I lived in Australia would have found themselves pretty much cleaned out (an honourable mention to the Restorers Barn in Castlemaine).
Oh, and I did try my hand at gold panning. I found about 3 flecks of gold. Not even enough to decorate a high end cupcake.