Heritage Listing for Federation Square then we visit Maldon in Central Victoria.

Completed in 2002, Federation Square is the latest addition to the State’s Heritage Register.

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“Federation Square is significant as a notable example of a public square. It is highly intact and its size and design illustrate the principal characteristics of a public square.” – Victorian Heritage Council statement on its decision to list the precinct.

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So ends the ‘Apple Store’ debate and some sections of the Victorian Government’s efforts to demolish part of the square. Whilst you ponder the result – congratulations to the Heritage supporters, the National Trust and the City of Melbourne on the outcome – let us now take a wide diversion. We are heading to Central Victoria, to Maldon.

First visited by white colonialists in 1836 as part of Major Thomas Mitchell’s famous Victorian expedition, it was settled soon after by pastoralists who established two sheep runs at the foot of Mt Tarrangower. On one of these sheep runs, Cairn Curran, gold was discovered in 1853. This changed the area forever. The Goldfield was named ‘Tarrangower Fields’ after Mt Tarrangower now simply referred to as Tarrangower.

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Maldon Courthouse

Maldon the town was officially gazetted by the Victorian Government in 1856. The town’s population fluctuated with the number of miners. In a census taken in 1861 there were 3341 permanent residents and over 5000-6000 miners in the area. Over the years this reduced by half by 1891 with only 1600 permanent inhabitants. Large quantities of quartz reef gold was retrieved in and around Maldon well into the 20th century.

Today, with a stable population of 1000 people, it is an interesting place to visit. In all there are probably 1500 people resident in Maldon and its surrounding district. Maldon was named as Australia’s first notable town in 1966 by the National Trust of Victoria.

“The township displays overall historical and architectural importance, particularly in its gold town buildings. The significance lies in the variety of building styles, and the area of mining is of interest with one mine still open to the public. Maldon boasts that it is largely unchanged since the 1850s and has attracted considerable interest from Tourists for its 19th century atmosphere.”

Maldon has its own newspaper, the Tarrangower Times, first published in 1858 and is the oldest continually published newspaper in Victoria.

Maldon_Cemetery-uprightIt was gold that displaced the original indigenous people of the area, the Wemba Wemba people from their station near Mt Tarrangower in 1849. The immigrant miners were multicultural and included thousands of Chinese miners. Over 200 Chinese graves are still visible in the Maldon Cemetery and there is a special ‘Chinese oven’ where incense was burned in their honour.

 

 

Principal Architect for Balance Architecture, Andrew Fedorowicz, has a Maldon residence, Palm House. Andrew is very familiar with the buildings and architecture of the area. Please do not hesitate to contact him to seek assistance in renovation, restoration and heritage listing of your home or property. Andrew is passionate about Heritage architecture and has been engaged on many such projects both in Melbourne and throughout the Victorian Central Highlands – Ballarat, Daylesford, Kyneton, Castlemaine and Bendigo as well as many other smaller centres. Have no hesitation in calling Andrew on 0418 341 443 or leave your details here for a prompt reply [LINK].

There are many historic buildings still functioning and intact in Maldon. The Shire offices were built from the converted bluestone market building (1859) and opened in 1866.

The courthouse was constructed in 1861 and the post office in 1870.

You can pick up a brochure on the town’s historic buildings at the Information centre, located opposite the Shire’s offices in High St at the Maldon Visitor’s Centre. But! – don’t do it for the two weeks from today – the building is closed for renovations!

For a more contemporary view of Maldon and the attractions of living there, here is a recent article from Domain.

Escape to Maldon, Victoria: ‘There is absolutely not a traffic light’

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It’s Australia’s first notable town and a delightfully preserved piece of Gold Rush history. Close to Castlemaine and Bendigo, the scenic town of Maldon is flourishing and attracting artists, the semi-retired, foodies and families.

Population: 1513, as at the 2016 Census.

Who lives here?

Kareen Anchen, the gallery director of Cascade Art, first made the move to the area with her husband around 20 years ago.

“We loved it,” she said. “We’ve always just loved Maldon village.

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“Maldon attracts … that sort of foodie,” she said, with residents keen on quality food, quality wine and quality experiences – just a good quality of life, generally.

She has noticed plenty of tree-changers and new families, as well as retirees and the people with small businesses, who could “pick and choose how to run their lives”, who found the town a good place to get away from the rat race.

Rebecca Haack, from Portia & Co on the main street, bought a property two years ago which she now runs as a short-stay accommodation business.

She also opened her store about nine months ago, splitting her time between Melbourne and Maldon, and has met several people in town who have moved there in the past five to 10 years.

“I feel like there’s an established community, as well as new people moving in,” she said. “It feels like a nice balance.”

Ms Haack said Maldon was also drawing “pre-retirees” – people still working part-time and commuting to Melbourne, or working from home.

“Whatever it is, they’re still working,” she said. “But changing lifestyles, maybe downsizing.”

Valentina Tansley, from Tansley and Co, is also a part-timer, settling on Maldon when looking for a weekender with the plan “eventually morphing into a business venture”.

“Look, I really like it! I think there’s a bit of a perception that it’s full of retirees,” she said. “But there’s young kids too, and there’s great opportunity for multi-generational community stuff.”

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What happens here?

The Maldon Folk Festival in November is a huge drawcard, as is the Maldon Twilight Dinner in January. Plenty of people also come out for the Maldon Markets, which sells local products and is held on the second Saturday of every month.

“There are lots of events, all organised by different people,” Ms Haack said. “It is wonderful, because it spreads the load, but it brings a bit of a buzz.”

“There are heaps of events in town,” said Ms Tansley. As soon as the weather warmed up, she said, the events season kicked off – a carols by candlelight in the park, an antiques and collectables fair in February and a massive four-day Easter fair for families like hers to enjoy.

“Getting out of the city and experiencing all these different activities is really rewarding,” she said.

Aside from the bigger shindigs, the Kangaroo Hotel and Maldon Hotel regularly host live music, and the town is also home to active football, netball, golf and bowling clubs.

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What’s life like here?

Maldon ticks along as a country town, with the change of seasons clearly delineated – it is somewhere it could actually snow in winter.

Weekdays are bit more leisurely and the weekends busier with tourists, with a crowd arriving on the steam train on Sundays.

“It’s gentle, slow,” said Ms Haack. “During the week, it’s locals or people from the surrounding area, doing their shopping and their banking.

“While it’s a tourist town, it still has its own population, its own heartbeat, whether the tourists are coming or not.”

The heritage buildings give the town a particular, striking charm, and many residents are keen gardeners, creating “that contrast of European gardens against the more rustic bush,” Ms Anchen says.

“It has a fairly intact streetscape in the main street, people really love it. There’ll never be neon flashing lights here. It’s not the city, it’s the country!”

The town also had a strong artistic community, Ms Anchen said, with her gallery and shows attracting plenty of local support.

“There’s so many artists in this region, it’s so rich. Hobby artists and amazing professional artists,” she said. “In that sense we’re a bit spoilt for choice, in terms of who to exhibit.”

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What jobs are here?

Long-time local Rob Waller, from Waller Realty, said many of Maldon’s full-time residents worked in health or education, often in the sort of role where they could go into the city for a bit, and work from home for the rest of the time.

“A lot of people will buy a property and do the last five or 10 years of their working career split-living,” he said. “It gives them an opportunity to put their roots down and get a feel for the area.”

Ms Anchen said small businesses really benefited from the tourist trade, with Maldon on the route between Bendigo and Ballarat.

“And also Daylesford,” she added. “They come across for a day trip.”

Visitors were also drawn by the chance to ride in the Victorian Goldfields Rail, a stream train service connecting Castlemaine and Maldon.

While the town is home to Melbourne part-time commuters – it’s a bit too far for a Monday-to-Friday job – the bigger centre of Castlemaine with its food manufacturing industry was only 20 minutes’ drive away, while Bendigo was about a 40-minute trip.

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Why should you move here?

“I think it’s that thing of having really old buildings as a beautiful backdrop,” Ms Anchen said. “It’s that bit of a special factor that makes Maldon work.”

Also, she said, people were “very, very, very friendly”, and locals worked together to enrich the town’s social fabric; and it was a well-serviced location.

“It has its own hospital, it has a really fantastic primary school; really fantastic shops and eateries,” she said, noting the town’s French Cafe in particular was going gangbusters.

Mr Waller agreed that the town was great for families and, while the internet connection was good, with the state forests surrounding the town there was plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.

“And there is absolutely not a traffic light in Maldon,” he added. “It has that slow, village, country lifestyle, and a really good sense of community – that is what people look for in neighbourhoods.”

“I guess for us,” said Ms Tansley, “it was all about the facilities.”

With a supermarket, a couple of pubs, a butcher and a hospital, Maldon is much better catered for than some other small towns.

“It’s a really interesting, historical place,” she said, but added that practically, it was “really great”.

“You can go to the pub, you can see some music, you can buy supplies at the supermarket,” Ms Tansley said.

“You run out of milk, it’s three doors down. It’s a really nice village environment.”

It also felt pretty safe, she said. “It’s a small community, and people do tend to recognise each other.”

Ms Haack said Maldon was a nice distance from Melbourne – close but not too close – with surprisingly blue skies.

“People might think it’s cold, but it’s a beautiful climate,” she said. “There’s this amazing streetscape to wander through, and the location is great.

“It’s a beautiful, established community – and it is a community. I have been made very welcome.”

Source: domain.com.au

Towns like Maldon give a living appreciation of real heritage buildings, architecture and our rich and varied past. Country living is far more relaxed, quieter and closer to nature. To really appreciate it at its very best, call Balance Architecture now on 0418 341 443 and ensure you gain the very best in both lifestyle and heritage values for your home.

Or simply take a drive out to Maldon, have lunch at one of the hotels, cafés or restaurants then take a train ride on the Steamrail locomotive. It’s simply a beautiful little town.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

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