Get Away to the Goldfields
an afternoon in malmsbury
Our Bakery & Gallery is just the beginning of your Malmsbury adventure.
Stop by and grab a pie or pastry - or a traditionally made Dundee Cake - to sustain you as you retrace the steps of 19th Century explorers and fortune hunters on your journey through a slice of Victoria's history.
A gold dusted past
Malmsbury is the original gateway to the gold trail, with Kyneton, Daylesford, Castlemaine, Maldon, and Bendigo all just a short drive away. Located on the banks of the Coliban River, in 1837 Malmsbury was part of squatter, Alexander Fullerton Mollison's Colliban pastoral run, stretching from Mount Macedon to Mount Alexander. You can still see the cairn marking the site of the original homestead at the corner of Orr and Bennett Streets on the right as you head towards Castlemaine. Strolling down the wide, leafy Mollison Street you'll see a number of original buildings dating from the days when gold fever hit the region in 1851. There's information points along the street to transport you back to when Malmsbury was established over 180 years ago.
Rest and respite for the journey
The township you see today began as an essential travellers stop for those hoping to seek their fortune on the Mount Alexander Goldfields (now Castlemaine). Gold seekers would rest and refuel while waiting for safe passage across the Coliban River.
In 1855 Caroline Chisholm built one of her 10 Victorian Shelter Sheds on the site of the Mechanics Institute to offer an affordable refuge for weary families on their 3 day walk from Melbourne to the goldfields. It now houses the Malmsbury Historical Society, featuring a wealth of information and exhibitions on our fascinating past.
By then Malmsbury was a busy thoroughfare, accommodating some 40,000 migrants with a range of produce, supply stores, and banks.
In addition to the existing Malmsbury Hotel (built prior to 1859 and the town's longest continuous business) there were 19 pubs - many so small they could only fit a few diggers at a time. As you enter the town, you'll see the ruin of one of the larger establishments - the red brick Racecourse Hotel, which thrived on trade from the nearby Malmsbury Racecourse, now defunct.
Our Gallery was once the site of the Court House Hotel, while the leafy bluestone courtyard and 1850s structure linking the Bakery and Gallery was the town's original stables.
A gentle sanctuary in green
A trip to Malmsbury wouldn't be complete without a visit to our beautiful Botanic Gardens. Located on the banks of the Coliban, at the very spot where optimistic miners chose to take a break. The 6 ha gardens are one of the earliest in the state, they were created in 1863 under the guidance of Dr Ferdinand Von Mueller, designer of the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens.
Highlights include a central lake, island, bluestone fountain and moat, meandering paths through established exotic trees, river access, and the remains of a croquet/bowling green. If you're lucky you might see local residents recreating this gentle sport in full Victorian regalia.
At the edge of the Gardens is the majestic Viaduct, which when built in 1859-60 was the largest in Australia. Constructed using the famous Malmsbury bluestone (used to create many Melbourne landmarks such as Parliament House) it offers the perfect vista across the Coliban to share an alfresco meal of delectable Bakery fare.
But keep an eye open for our posse of friendly garden ducks, who like to pop by your celebration to see what's on offer in the snacks department!
Supplement your feast with a bottle of local wine purchased straight from the cellar door at the Birthday Villa Vineyards just across the river, a grand old homestead built from finds at Malmsbury's Birthday Villa goldmine.
Still want more?
For a small town, Malmsbury still has a lot to offer roving tourists. To continue delving into our town's rich and varied history, you can pick up a Self-Guided Tour Map for walking, cycling or driving compiled by the Malmsbury Historical Society at the Malmsbury General Store. Ask our friendly staff for directions.