Maldon is a town in Victoria, Australia, in the Shire of Mount Alexander local government area, and about 136 km from Melbourne. It has been designated "Australia's first notable town" and is known for its 19th-century appearance, maintained since gold-rush days. At the 2006 census, Maldon had a population of 1,601.
The district where Maldon now stands was first discovered by white Europeans in 1836, during Major Thomas Mitchell's famous Victorian expedition. It was settled soon afterwards by pastoralists, and two sheep runs were established in the area, at the foot of Mount Tarrangower. In December 1853, gold was discovered at Cairn Curran (the name given to one of the sheep runs), and Maldon became a part of the Victorian Gold Rush.
The goldfield, which was named "Tarrangower Fields" after Mount Tarrangower, immediately attracted an immense number of men eager to make their fortunes at the diggings. Just one month after gold was first discovered, the Chief Commissioner for Goldfields reported 3000 miners had arrived at the diggings. A month after that, a journalist for The Argus reported that the road from Castlemaine to Maldon was lined with the shops of people hoping to make a living of their own from the miners
In 1861, a government census declared the town's population to be 3341, servicing an additional 5,000-6,000 miners at the diggings. At that time it was the eighth-largest town in Victoria, and remained so for the next decade. However, as miners were forced to dig deeper to obtain usable specimens, or as mines ran dry completely, the population began to decline. By 1891, Maldon was reduced to 1,600 inhabitants. Mining of small claims continued through the 20th century, together with sluicing of gullies and tailings.
Maldon is now sustained by its appeal as a retreat and retirement venue for artists and writers, as well as tourist trade. The town holds several annual fairs, including a Winter Fair, Easter Fair, Art Show, and Folk Festival. Notable landmarks include Beehive Chimney, Mount Tarrangower and fire tower, Lake Cairn Curran, and the railway station.
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.