Writing this it has just come to my attention that I may have put this in the wrong selection...well anyway not only is it about a visit to the jail but also about accommodation...
I visited Castlemanine while travelling through Victoria's famous "Gold Trail" this being one of the many towns along the "trail" where there were large gold deposits discovered and the discovery of gold put the town on the map. During the gold rush, the furious time saw many hundreds of people flocking to another "strike" and along with the hordes of prospectors come many notorious villains..so much so ,that the jail here was very busy.. This is quite a big jail and handled many notorious prisoners from all around. I have covered most of the History of this famous jail on my Castlemaine "main page" and no need repeating it here..
The jail is now a guest house and when looking at the accomodation each of the cells is a seperate room..the tarriffs quite fair and must say this is a really different type of accomodation to say the least...I thought it was really "spooky"..and unusual..
... is go to the Tourist Information Centre.
It is in a most unusual building in the centre of town. Two very agreeable blokes gave me a free map and were busting to give me any more info I might desire.
But the thing is about visiting this area, the goldfield towns of Victoria, is that without a car you would miss out on a lot. You probably wouldn't want to visit just one town.
You can catch the train to some of the towns, Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine (and maybe a few others, I have only just started exploring this area) and there are a few buses plying their trade - but you wouldn't want to have to depend on public transport to get around.
Of course for a weekend stopover, yes it is ideal.
I expect they all have their tourist info centres - and they all work hand in glove.
Buda was built in 1861 and from the year 1863 was the home of noted silversmith Ernest Leviny and his family.
The house is complete with the family’s art and craft collections, furnishings and domestic effects, and set in 1.8 hectares of gardens. This artistic and creative family occupied the house for a period of 118 years.
I toured the historic property with a group of volunteer colleagues from Daylesford Visitor Information Centre and we found it quite an interesting visit on a subject and family we otherwise knew nothing about.
The former Gaol of Castlemaine is now one of its main tourist attractions.
The other week I went there for the first time 'on tour' with a group of us volunteers from Daylesford Visitor Information Centre.
You can tour the grounds and explore the rooms (somewhat refurbished) and see other rooms which haven't been altered at all, such as hosing down rooms for the prisoners.
Now, besides a tourist attraction, it has a bar and restaurant on the lower cellar level (with French chefs I'm told) and hosts weekends for groups, including Murder Mystery nights, etc. Individuals can also stay in the cells (most of which are windowless (unless you count a window the size of a shoe box at the top) but it's much more expensive overall than getting a bed and breakfast all inclusive package.
Inside the former market hall, the style is in the form of a Roman Basilica, with masonry arches to define the stall spaces. The market stalls were located in the side halls. Many local materials were used in construction of the buildings, including local sandstone in the base.
The building was also used for many public occasions as well as the market.
In the 1940's, attempts were made to have the building demolished to use the land for other purposes, but with the aid of community support, it managed to remain, though in the late 1960's it was closed due to bad repair. The National Trust began to manage the building in 1969 and fundraising and local action ensured the building still had a future.
In 1995 the State Government provided $2.5 million to restore th building and the Market Square precinct. Now it is also an Interpretive centre where you can see many interesting displays about the early gold years and history, and the centre portion running the length of the building displays a range of art which is also for sale.
Castlemaine's Visitor Information centre, besides being the best place to start your visit to this small city, is also a National Trust classified significant historic building and a tourist attraction in its own right.
The building was built as an enclosed Market hall, and opened in 1862, alongside two other market buildings, which have long since been demolished.
The remaining building is now thought of as one of regional Australia's finest heritage buildings (after much restoration) and is a centrepiece of Castlemaine's historic precinct.
The design is said to be unique in Australia - a Tuscan temple portico with a rising sun emblem, flanked by towers. At its peak, the statue is of the Roman harvest Goddess Ceres, holding a horn. The arched main entry is also Roman, with ornate cast iron gates.
And here is a better view of the arched entryway, from the inside looking out to another historic building across the street.