Miners, over thirty thousand of them, rushed here in 1854. Within a decade, companies were mining rich, deep gold leads around the town, the last of these still producing gold in 1918.
By then, townspeople had shaped a rich civic life, as reflected in the buildings, the most amazing being the railway station. I’ve seen some beautiful stations on my travels, but I think this one takes the cake. It was completed in 1892.
In the centre of town is Civic Square, renamed McLandress Square in the 1990s, after Alexander McLandress, a Scotsman and the municipality’s first chairman. As mayor between 1857 and 1859, he shaped the fledgling institutions of Maryborough, after which he disappeared off to follow the gold trail to New Zealand. The Post Office is an Italiante palazzo style, opened in 1877.
The Town Hall opened in 1888.
The Court House has A.D.1882 on it, though the official website says 1892.
Along the main street is the magnificent Bull and Mouth Hotel. Every time I walked past it, I couldn’t help stopping for another look.
Another lovely pub.
I loved this little cottage. The first two rooms and a detached kitchen were built in 1894 by Arthur Worsley, a local stonemason. Two more rooms were added in 1908. The cottage became the home of the Midlands Historical Society in 1976.
I passed through Clunes on the way back down to Melbourne. The area was the site of Victoria’s first gold strike in 1851, which led to the gold rush which swept through central Victoria. It’s a very pretty town with, again, the impressive buildings you end up with when your ground is full of gold. These days it’s an agricultural, pastoral and tourist township, nestled in a scenic valley.
Housed in the decommissioned South Clunes State School is the Lee Medlyn Collection, consisting of six thousand old and historical bottles and other related objects, dating from 1500 A.D. to present time.
I didn’t think bottles would be interesting till I got home and read about it, so I’ll have to go back and check it out. Not for a while, though. We’ve had loads of rain and large parts of the state are flooded, so my explorations have had to be put on hold for the moment.