Maldon is a town in Victoria, Australia, in the Shire of Mount Alexander local government area. It has been designated "Australia's first notable town" and is notable for its 19th-century appearance, maintained since gold-rush days. At the 2016 census, Maldon had a population of 1,513. The district where Maldon now stands was first visited by white European colonialists 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 nearby Mount Tarrengower.
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 (now usually referred to as Tarrengower), immediately attracted numbers of people eager to make their fortunes at the diggings. One month after gold was first discovered, the Chief Commissioner for Goldfields reported 3000 miners had arrived at the diggings. The same report noted that anotheer month later, the goldfield's population had already grown to 18,000, though only about 1000 had taken out mining licences.
The Maldon goldfields proved to be one of Victoria's richest quartz-mining centres, though with poorer alluvial results than others such as Castlemaine or Ballarat. Quartz mining extended southward through Sandy Creek to Newstead, along to Mia Mia and Muckleford, eastward to Fentimen’s and Smith’s Reefs, and even to the apex of Mount Tarrangower. In all, over seventy reefs were proven to contain gold deposits. Maldon was known as a poor man’s diggings, with many excellent yields from very small claims.
Today, 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.
This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.
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