Overview

The Castlemaine Town Tour is a walking tour, approximately one kilometre all up, within the central business area of the town.

It will take 60-80 minutes, or longer if you stop for a coffee.

For those who like a stiff climb to a good view there’s an optional extra walk to the Bourke & Wills monument (Stop 3) – add 15 minutes.

Your storytelling guide, Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky, is joined by local historians Robyn Annear, Felix Cappy and Brian McCormick, who together spin the ripping yarns of the early days of Castlemaine – Lola Montez at the Theatre Royal, policeman/explorer Robert O’Hara Bourke (who when drunk couldn’t find his way home), the Greek Goddess, Demeter, on our Market Building – and lots more. There is fabulous music throughout.

Travel

You start (and end) at the old Market Building, which is now the Information Centre in Mostyn St, central Castlemaine. To get to Castlemaine it’s a drive from wherever you are or a relaxing train ride from Melbourne.

From the Ecological Timeline Mural, by Ben Laycock.

The Tour!

STOP 1 – MARKET BUILDING

At the Old Market Building (Information Centre in Mostyn St, Castlemaine) listen to the stories of when this was a real market, with horse-drawn organic fruit and vegetable vendors and very low food miles. 

And here is a colourful interpretation of the building from ABC Arts Open:

 

STOP 2 – THEATRE ROYAL

For the story of Lolo Montez, the hottest ticket on the gold rush stage.

From the Market Building, facing out, turn right and walk up Mostyn Street about 100 metres to the corner of Hargreaves Street. The Theatre Royal is across Hargreaves Street, and half a block down to the left.

STOP 3 – BURKE & WILLS MONUMENT

The story of the Castlemaine policeman and explorer, Robert O’Hara Burke, who reputedly couldn’t find his way home from the pub and later became a national tragedy.

Directions

From the Theatre Royal, go back up to the corner of Mostyn Street and turn right. Walk about 150 metres till you’re past the shops to where you can see the monument, an obelisk on the hill at the top of Mostyn Street. Walk to the monument and take in the view, or listen to the tale from a table at a cafe.

 

 

STOP 4 – TO MISS HERON’S HOUSE

Miss Marie Heron … one of the stern variety of librarians at the Castlemaine Library from the 1930s to the 1960s, remembered by many as a book lover. Also a story from WW1, and the anti-conscription movement. 

Directions
Walk back down Mostyn Street to Hargreaves Street and turn right, walking up the left side to the next intersection, Lyttleton Street, and there you stop. Miss Herron’s house is the corner house (please note it’s no longer Herron’s Gallery).

STOP 5 – THE GOLD WARDEN’S’ OFFICE AND THE LOCK-UP

Drunks, stinking rabbits and a happy New Year – a yarn from the late Felix Cappy.

Directions
From Herron’s Gallery cross Lyttleton Street, and the Gold Warden’s Office is the first building on your left once you cross Lyttleton Street. The lock-up is a few steps further on.

STOP 6 – ECOLOGICAL TIMELINE MURAL

An art stop, with renowned artist-agitator, Ben Laycock.

Directions
From the lock-up, track back down Hargreaves Street and turn right into Lyttleton Street. You pass the Supreme Court, School of Mines and Town Hall on your right, and across from the Town Hall is the old Imperial Hotel. Turn right at the second street on your right – Frederick Street – and just past the old Drill Hall car park turn left into Mechanics Lane. Fifty metres down, on the left opposite the entrance to the library, is a fence.

Here there is often new art works to be found. The original display was Ben Laycock’s Ecological Timeline. View it here as Ben tells you how the mural came to be.

STOP 7 – THE MECHANICS INSTITUTE AND LIBRARY

A story from when an opening would draw the whole town (after all there was nothing on TV), and a grand menu to make you vomit.

Directions
At the mural you will be beside the entrance to the library. Go to the original front of the library, which is in Barker Street. On the front wall you’ll see the plaque from the building’s opening.

 

STOP 8 – AGITATION HILL

The place where the townspeople fought the law, and the townspeople won.

Listen to the story as you walk. 

The government camp below Agitation Hill, where the diggers paid their Gold License fee, and from where the troopers set out to wreck the Mt Alexander Coffee House (Diger’s Licensing, Forest Creek, by ST Gill.)

Directions
From the library walk down Barker Street, past the original Castlemaine Telegraph Station and the Post Office. At the Post Office turn right into Lyttleton Street. Cross to the left side of Lyttleton Street via the bust of Harry Lawson (in the middle of the road); then walk further up Lyttleton Street past the Art Gallery.

Immediately after the gallery turn left into the drive that runs below the Uniting Church. Walk down that drive to the far end, then down the steps to Mostyn Street. From the bottom of the steps, it’s straight across Mostyn Street and in the gate of the Christ Church. Then you follow the path up to the front of the church. There you will be on Agitation Hill.

 

STOP 9 – PATTERSON MONUMENT

The story of the conservative politician who made sure the railway came to Castlemaine.

Directions
From the Christ Church walk back to Mostyn St, then down the hill to Barker Street. There, with care, cross Barker Street to the Patterson monument on the corner.

Sir James Patterson (1883-1895)

STOP 10 – THE MARKET BUILDING

And to finish, the ancient Greek tale of the Goddess on the market Building – Demeter to Greeks, Ceres to Italians  – pictured below before the flagpole was regrettably erected up her back, 

Directions
It’s a short walk back to the Market Building now, up Mostyn Street or through Victory Park.

Credits

Research Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky and Lee Fox
Writers Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky and Lee Fox
Narrators Brian McCormack, Felix Cappy and Robyn Annear
Producer The Storyteller’s Guide to the World
Music Street music by The Guildford Street Band, Thompson’s Foundry Band, Ian Wilson on bagpipes, Shelly Robins playing flute, James Chapman on drunken keyboard, with additional music by Heather Lee and Kim Cunio from the CD ‘Breakfast in Baghdad’, and from the Cantillation CD ‘Prayer for Peace’
Special Guests Ben Laycock, Ken Parker, Rick Nelson and Talia Madigan and Mia Fox.
Technical production Mickey Levis and Mark Woods. Street music recorded by Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky, and nature sounds courtesy of Listening Earth.

The Castlemaine Town Tour was sponsored by FOMAD, the Friends of Mount Alexander Diggings.

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