Walking around CastlemaineIt is the administrative and economic centre of the Shire of Mount Alexander. The population at the Census was 6, Wright, in honour of his Irish uncle, Viscount Castlemaine. Castlemaine began as a gold rush boomtown in and developed into a major regional centre, being officially proclaimed a City on 4 December , although since declining in population. It is home to many cultural institutions including the Theatre Royal, the oldest continuously operating theatre in mainland Australia.
Sovereignty was never ceded. Major Mitchell passed through the region in Following his discovery, the first squatters arrived in to establish vast sheep runs. When the gold was shown in the men's quarters, Peters was ridiculed for finding fool's gold, and the gold was thrown away.
Barker did not want his workmen to abandon his sheep, but in August they did just that. John Worley, George Robinson and Robert Keen, also in the employ of Barker as shepherds and a bullock driver, immediately teamed with Peters in working the deposits by panning in Specimen Gully where the gold had been found, which they did in relative privacy during the next month.
When Barker sacked them and ran them off his land for trespass, Worley, on behalf of the party "to prevent them getting in trouble", mailed a letter to The Argus Melbourne dated 1 September announcing this new goldfield with the precise location of their workings.
This letter was published on 8 September Within a month there were about 8, diggers working the alluvial beds of the creeks near the present day town of Castlemaine, and particularly Forest Creek which runs through Chewton where the first small village was established.
By the end of the year there were about 25, on the field. The first small village developed at Chewton, today in effect a suburb of Castlemaine, which included the Commissioner's tent, stores, an office for The Argus newspaper, and an office for the Mount Alexander goldfields' own newspaper the Daily Mail. On 28 JanuaryWilliam Henry Wright was one of nearly men who were assigned or affirmed as Territorial Magistrates for Victoria. Not long after, he took control of the Mount Alexander diggings and set up a government camp  on Forest Street near the junction of Barker and Forest Creeks today's Camp Reserve.
This was to be the new township of Castlemaine. The first reference in a newspaper to the township is found in the Geelong Advertiser of 13 March with the following notice:.
A court house was established on what is today known as Goldsmith Crescent, Castlemaine near the new government camp. Stores were also established nearby.
Renamed the Castlemaine Post Office on 1 January At the same time November he described the Forest Creek diggings as having many businesses such as stores and licensed hawkers and "at least persons on the two creeks Forest and Barker ".
On 15 February town lots were offered for sale. A local government was formed on 23 April and was later to become the Town of Castlemaine and in became the City of Castlemaine. However, with municipal amalgamations in the early s, Castlemaine lost its 'City' status and is now simply the largest town in the Shire. The Theatre Royal opened in to provide entertainment for the gold diggerswith a notable performance being provided by the world-renowned Lola Montes and her celebrated Spider Dance.
It remains Australia's second oldest still operating theatre an d the oldest outside Tasmania. Inthe historic Castlemaine Football Club was established. Evidence makes it the second oldest football club in Australia and one of the oldest football clubs in the world. Before the residences numbered overand there was a population in the township of 7, As gold mining gradually ceased a number of other secondary industries sprang up.
These included breweries, iron foundries and a woollen mill.
Castlemaine, Vic, Australia — Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times for Today
Thompson's Foundry now trading as Flowserve was one of Castlemaine's largest employers. From the s the industries that had dominated employment in the town for a century began to decline, with many factories closing and others such as Thompson's Foundry significantly downsizing. This led to the displacement of large numbers of people, with many families leaving in search of jobs elsewhere.
The area's precious goldrush history and heritage was, however, increasingly recognised, along with its notable population of arts practitioners. Substantial planning and activity helped create new industries in heritage tourism, arts tourism, nature tourism and so on.
As a result, Castlemaine began to be visited - and settled - by more 'outsiders', primarily from Melbourne. Some of these more recent arrivals added to the gentrification of the Victorian era town, helping to preserve its already charming country aspect and enhancing it by establishing a number of cafes and restaurants. As with much gentrification, however, consequent rising house prices placed increased economic pressure on many earlier inhabitants who sometimes struggle to continue living in the area.
The town has, overall, taken on a fresh lease of life, combining some of the more desirable aspects of urban Melbourne with the charm and openness of old Castlemaine. Castlemaine is nestled in a valley.
In local governmentthe Castlemaine region is covered by the Shire of Mount Alexander. The council was created in as an amalgamation of a number of other municipalities in the region with the Council and Civic Centre in the former School of Mines, in central Castlemaine, next to the original Town Hall.
Castlemaine is represented by the Castlemaine Ward. In federal politicsCastlemaine is located in a single House of Representatives division — the Division of Bendigo. Castlemaine's largest industry is in manufacturing, particularly foods manufacturing and tourism.
The biggest employer is KR Castlemaine formerly the Castlemaine Bacon Company, establishedproducing smallgoods with over employees. Cultural and heritage tourism is another large industry in Castlemaine, with the historic art gallery being a major drawcard.
Barker Street was named after William Barker, another pioneer pastoralist whose run included part of the land which is now Castlemaine. Adjacent to the solicitors' offices is the library, built in as a mechanics' institute with additions inand Next to it is the Faulder Watson Hall which opened in and adjacent is the old telegraph office On the Lyttleton Street corner is the decorative Classical Revival post office — It is in the form of an Italian palazzo with a central clock tower, five arched bays and strongly contrasting colouration.
This structure replaced a wooden post office which was built on this same spot in when the service was transferred from the gold commissioner's camp.Date Brothers at The Old Castlemaine Gaol
Over the road is the Cumberland Hotel Castlemaine has its own botanical gardensestablished inwhich are on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Castlemaine public swimming pool is 50m in length and is located next to the botanical gardens. It embraces gold rush relics and bushland. Home to rare and threatened species of both flora and fauna it offers opportunities for bush walking, bird watching, wildlife monitoring and study while providing a bush setting for the township.
Founded inthe Castlemaine Art Museum has acquired a collection of Australian art works and historical items from the district's past.
Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia — Moonrise, Moonset, and Moon Phases, July
The art deco building designed by Percy Meldrum is noted for its elegant design and is heritage listed. The building has been extended a number of times.
The gallery has always specialised in Australian art. Traditional landscape painting is a feature of the collection. Contemporary artists are also well represented. BaleArthur Lindsay and John Longstaff. The gallery collects photographic images of Australian artists by Australian photographers and has built up a collection by photographers as Max DupainDavid MooreRichard Beck and Olive Cotton.
The museum houses a collection of historical artworks, journals, photographs, costumes and items specifically relating to the history of the Mount Alexander district. The Theatre Royal claims to be the oldest continuously operating theatre in mainland Australia.
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It hosts films including several world and Australian premieresconcerts and functions. It is located at Pyrenees Highway, Castlemaine, and has over 70 stalls selling a range of merchandise, local products and farmers' products. SinceCastlemaine has biennially been the home of the Castlemaine State Festival. Running for ten days, this festival is one of Victoria's most notable regional arts events.
The festival, now usually held in late March, offers many events with a particular emphasis on visual arts, music and theatre.
It has also attracted internationally and nationally renowned performers, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The most recent festival was held on of March Held annually in October, Run the Maine is a fun run event around the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens which raises funds for the local hospital - Castlemaine Health.
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