Catriona tours Maldon the old-fashioned way.
A stop to the lolly shop is a must.
With its excellent historic architecture and a sweet reminder of days gone by don't miss a visit to the lolly shop.
In 1853, the heady Victorian gold rush days were in full swing and Maldon was thriving 20,000 prospectors set up home there, all with the dream of striking the big one. When the gold ran out, the population dwindled to just 2000. Reef quartz and some alluvial mining continued, but that ended in 1926.
Now Maldon is a National Trust town and has a blanket classification. This means every building, tree, footpath and road has significance and is protected from any change. Maldon has excellent historic architecture, and you can visit the ruins of the North British mines or Carmans Tunnel.
Geoff Little runs Clydesdale Treks and Tours and uses a cart that was built in 1948 and used for milk deliveries in Melbourne. He has 15 Clydesdales, and they clip-clop through the town as Geoff talks about the history of the gold rush days, and points out places of interest.
A literally sweet reminder of the old days is the Maldon Lolly Shop. Norm and Anne Leech have owned it for 15 years and searched for small businesses that have been making lollies the same way for generations. They now buy their stock from them and sell paper bags of lollypops, boiled sweets, humbugs and liquorice. They also sell cordials and jams.
Ross Fisher of McArthurs Restaurant opens for three meals and afternoon tea from Wednesday to Sunday. His tearooms were purpose built in 1893 next door to the old bakery. This charming little place has won prizes for its scones, and other meals are simply delicious. The scone recipe has been handed down through several generations but don't expect Ross to part with the recipe for his light, fluffy prizewinners!
The building that houses the Old Grainstore Antiques business was a farmers' co-op for many years. It was a general store until the 1970s and the current owners, who bought it 15 years ago, sell a range of exciting items from jewellery and lace to furniture and china. Even if you're not in the market, it's a place where fossicking through their stock most of which is sourced locally can be a lot of fun.
The Victorian Goldfields Railway makes good use of the old tracks. Trains run between Maldon and Muckleford, hauled by steam locomotive. Visitors can go to the locomotive work shed to inspect the rolling stock collection. Volunteers are responsible for the maintenance of the 1920s carriages and the success of the trains, which do a round trip every Wednesday and Sunday, public and school holidays. Groups can arrange morning tea or lunch on board the train.
Just two kilometres out of town, adjoining the Maldon Golf Course, is a property named "Thalgarrah", owned by David and Jenny Bowman. As well as their own homestead, the property has a National Trust cottage which was built in 1850 as a schoolhouse. It is self-contained with a wood fire, gas heating, barbecue, and the beds have electric blankets. The makings of a hearty breakfast are provided. Perfect for two people, it is next to the dam, which is home to a family of ducks.
Two hours from Melbourne.
The Victorian Goldfields Railway has return trips costing $12 for adults and $7 for children.
The Cottage on Thalgarrah costs $105 per double per night and includes breakfast.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Clydesdale Treks and Tours: Ph: (03) 5475 2182 or (03) 5475 1024
McArthurs Restaurant: Ph: (03) 5475 2519
Old Grainstore Antiques: Ph: (03) 5475 2902
Maldon Lolly Shop: Ph: (03) 5475 1136
The Cottage: Ph: (03) 5475 2649
Victorian Goldfields Railway: Ph: (03) 5475 6658 www.vgr.com.au
Maldon website: www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/tourism
Tourism Victoria: www.visitvictoria.com