Castlemaine

Castlemaine is situated at the heart of regional Victoria, 120 km from Melbourne and 40km from the growing provincial city of Bendigo. Castlemaine is a township of Mount Alexander Shire with a total population of 12,000 and growing.

Castlemaine was founded on the discovery of gold in the 1850’s with Mount Alexander (The Mount) proving to be the finest alluvial goldfield in the world.  During the heady years of the goldrush, Castlemaine briefly boasted a population greater than Melbourne.  The grand public buildings, nineteenth century churches and hotels, intact heritage buildings, streetscapes and wide streets remain today as a legacy of this prosperous period in Castlemaine’s history and its important role in shaping the development of Victoria and the nation.

Today Castlemaine is renowned not only for its well-preserved built heritage.  The town has established a reputation as a regional arts centre.  The local art scene is energetic and vibrant, with one of the highest participation rates in the state. The biennial Castlemaine State Festival is Victoria’s premier regional arts festival. An expansive program of visual arts, music, theatre, dance and literature spanning 10 days and attracting 50,000 visitors.

Castlemaine has a beautiful townscape settled in the valley at the junction of three creeks; Barkers, Forest and Campbells Creek. Encircled by low hills, bushland landscapes and the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, Australia’s first national heritage park. The township is alive with abundant bird life, flora and fauna throughout the seasons.

Castlemaine station is on the Bendigo (+Echuca / Swan Hill) train line and is serviced by 20 trains daily, making a Melbourne commute for work or pleasure extremely convenient. Castlemaine station is also home to the Victorian Goldfields Railway steam train which runs between Castlemaine and Maldon. The beautiful historic railway station is an easy and pleasant 5-minute stroll from Bull Street Terraces. Cycling is a popular mode of transport around town for adults and children. Main road access to Castlemaine is via the Calder Fwy, Midland Hwy & Pyrenees Hwy.

Castlemaine is home to an interesting and diverse population, a smooth eclectic blend of established local families, tree changers, new Australians and everyone in between. It is a desirable town for every age and stage of life, with an abundance of services, supports, resources, facilities and a plethora of interest groups to satisfy every taste. Castlemaine is a hive of industrious, pleasurable and celebratory activity all year round. The biennial Castlemaine State Festival, the famous Swap Meet, hot rod capital of Australia, sheep dog trials, the Artist, Farmers Markets, the festival of gardens to name but a few…

View across Castlemaine

More recently Castlemaine has developed a reputation as a fine food and wine destination. Residents and visitors can choose from a selection of 15 cafes and restaurants offering a range of cuisines including Local Organic, Italian, French provincial, Asian and modern Australian cuisines. Castlemaine has an outstanding array of facilities with 5 primary schools, a Steiner school, a secondary school, Mount Alexander Hospital, regional botanical gardens, recreation facilities and the iconic Theatre Royal, the oldest continually operating theatre on the Australian mainland. There is a vibrant and strong local music scene.

Castlemaine is ideally positioned both in the present and historically to be able to lead the way to a new paradigm. In 1851 the Monster Meeting of Diggers in Castlemaine predated and informed the uprising at Eureka Stockade in Ballarat three years later. The towns heritage is rich in instigating change. Sustainability and community involvement have long been major strengths of Castlemaine with many grassroots organisations flourishing in the community.

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