Next stop for us was Mansfield, in the foothills of the Victorian Alps. Since we arrived in early December, we experienced it in ‘working mode’ (not ‘holiday mode’ when the skiers come out in force).
We stayed in a cottage in the hills to the north of the town, and not too far from the Kelly Gang’s hideouts. These days, the area is more hobby farm than untamed bush, but it made for some lovely evening photos.
40km up the road from Castlemaine is the city of Bendigo. It’s a big and impressive place, made wealthy by the Gold Rush.
It has an impressive art gallery to rival any of the capital cities.
And a sizeable Chinese garden, temple and museum complex.
You can see by all the offerings that the Chinese community is very alive and well in Bendigo today.
Alice Barker House is located near Castlemaine in Specimen Gully, the site of the original diggings for the area. Within a year of gold being found, there were 25,000 people working the site.
There are still lots of bits and bobs from the era to be found on the property, and the owners made the most of it them.
Castlemaine itself grew rich from all the gold, and like Beechworth, there are many fine Victorian buildings – including many pubs.
Next stop was the Goldfields of Central Victoria. We based ourselves near the town of Castlemaine, at the wonderful Alice Barker House.
This holiday house is filled with artworks inside and out, particular the work of Melbourne artist, Judy Holding.