Clunes Travel Guide

  • CLUNES..MAIN STREET...
    CLUNES..MAIN STREET...
    by DennyP
  • CLUNES..THE OLD POST OFFICE 1878
    CLUNES..THE OLD POST OFFICE 1878
    by DennyP
  • CLUNES...JUST LIKE IT WAS THEN..
    CLUNES...JUST LIKE IT WAS THEN..
    by DennyP

Clunes Things to Do

  • Drever's Profile Photo

    by Drever Written Apr 12, 2014

    The discovery of gold in this area in 1851 sparked off the gold rush in Victoria. While the influx of miners and others survived as best they could in tents and make do in the early years soon more permanent buildings appeared. These gave birth to the township of Clunes 36 kilometres north of Ballarat. Its Post Office opened on 1 October 1857 allowing miners to communicate home though at a snails pace.

    Later gold mining, mainly driven by the Port Phillip and Colonial Mining Company saw the town's population rising to over 5,000 residents in the late 1880s – making it the fifth largest town in the colony. From the 1850s through to 1893, when gold mining eventually ended the area produced more than 1.2 million ounces of gold.

    Surrounded by grassland, meadows and pastures the town has preserved many of its elegant historic buildings. One of the most original and intact gold towns in Australia, Clunes has over 50 buildings of historical significance. Many reflect the opulence and confidence of the boom period.

    The Town-Hall & Courthouse, the Churches, the several old bank buildings and the shops in the central part of the town provide the basis of a living museum. The actual museum exists in the former warehouse of contractors Nichol and Wallace who supplied goods to the miners, farmers and residents. Other important buildings are the former London Chartered Bank (1871) and the former Post Office.

    Clunes held its first Book town festival on 20 May 2007. Over 50 booksellers from around Australia set up shop for the day in the heritage buildings of the gold town. Such was the success the township now holds the event each year. Clunes for a weekend turns itself into a European-style book town. Thousands of rare, out-of-print and second-hand books, live music and free writers talks become available.

    Clunes reminded me very much of the mid-western towns that appeared in American wild-west films. To go back in time its just necessary to change the name plates over the buildings. This hasn’t escaped the eye of film and TV producers. They filmed several high-profile Australian movies and advertisements here. Among the most famous are the 2003 film Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger. The town also appears in the films Mad Max starring Mel Gibson, and the remake of the 1950s classic On the Beach. It also appears in the ABC television series' Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude and Something in the Air.

    The most recent film shot in Clunes is Julius Avery's 13-minute movie Jerry can. Jerry can has won the 2008 Jury Prize at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in France for short films, with its portrayal of restless teenagers in rural Victoria.

    Today, Clunes is an attractive centre for artists, authors, historians and photographers. It's known for an intriguing range of accommodation, cafés, shops, galleries, wineries and old stores offering antiques and collectibles. The Clunes Visitor Information Centre, housed in a school dating back to 1881 contains a display of local mining artefacts, an antique market and a working display of an 1860s soft drink factory.

    Clunes has a population of only 850 but it has recently undergone a major transformation and resurgence following the decision by Wesley College, Australia's largest co-educational private school, to set up a campus for Year 9 students. Each term, over 100 Wesley students take up residency in the 'Wesley Village' in the town centre, and become part of the local community.

    Part of the fascination for me of this area of Australia is that I had a great grandfather that came out to Victoria and made it rich by working in the goldfields. Just where he was I haven’t been able to trace but I am still hoping to find out.

    Clunes town hall Club Hotel in Clunes Street in Clunes Street in Clunes
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  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Jun 27, 2003

    Why not take a short stroll along the creek path behind the town? The walk starts behind the football ground, follows the creek and crosses a little bridge at the other end.
    At the end of the walk you can also climb the steps and have a view of the town from the look out and see some of the cairns/interpretive signs detailing the gold mining history of the town.

    Creek walk
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  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Jun 27, 2003

    With renewed interest in Clunes, old shops which had lain empty for decades began to fill with Antique and Old Wares Shops. They're worth having a bit of a look at. You might see some unusual items.

    Old Wares
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Clunes Restaurants

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    by Kate-Me Written Jun 27, 2003

    The Bakery at Clunes is only very new, and it's doing really well. It's a cafe Bakery with seating indoors and out.

    Favorite Dish: I always go for meat pies and sausage rolls (in that I'm typically Australian!)

    Clunes Bakery
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Clunes Transportation

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 20, 2010

    Unless you have a car, on foot is the way to go in this small town. Walking past the historic buildings is always a nice stroll.

    old fashioned lamp near the former bank, main stre
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Clunes Shopping

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Jun 27, 2003

    Clunes doesn't really have that much in the way of shopping, but I did notice this shop (yet another new one in another historic building).
    These embroidered Clunes beanie hats could be just the thing right about now as the days are getting chillier....

    Local crafts
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Clunes Local Customs

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 20, 2010

    Not to be missed, if you're a book lover! For collectors, browsers, even plenty for bargain hunters too.
    Usually there are also talks by authors and workshops included. The main street is closed to traffic, so the food tents and stalls can set up. Very nice atmosphere, amongst the old buildings.

    This year it's on May 1-2, 2010

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Clunes Off The Beaten Path

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    by Kate-Me Written Jan 31, 2006

    Here are some photos which my mother took just after Ned Kelly filming finished (the version with Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom in it) while they were dismantling the set and the normally ashphalted main street was still covered in dirt and gravel.

    with some of the fake facades still intact... dismantling the 'billiard hall'
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