Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park
Address: North Rd, Chewton, Victoria 3451
From the remains of house sites and puddling machines to the gold mines and gullies that yielded up fortunes, Australia's first national heritage park harbours fascinating tales of a golden past and retains much of its gold-rush character.
Spring wildflowers, scenic drives, bushwalking, cycling, guided tours and gold fossicking are some of the highlights. Nearby Maldon Historic Reserve also protects many interesting relics from the gold era.
Aboriginal Traditional Owners
Parks Victoria acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Victoria - including its parks and reserves. Through their cultural traditions, Aboriginal people maintain their connection to their ancestral lands and waters. Further information is available from Aboriginal Affairs Victoria AAV and Native Title Services Victoria.
Before you go
Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website.
Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.
Content: Parks Victoria
Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is located a few kilometres south and east of Castlemaine in central Victoria, 120 km north-west of Melbourne. Turn off the Calder Highway at Elphinstone or Harcourt towards Castlemaine. The Garfield Wheel is located just one kilometre north of Chewton along North Road.
Additional business information
Gold was discovered in the Castlemaine area in 1851 and was first won from surface or shallow workings, mostly by panning or cradling. These alluvial methods were later followed by the use of horse-powered puddling machines and larger scale quartz reef mining and crushing batteries. Mining and exploration in the area continues today, although the numbers of mines and miners have greatly declined. There are many relics of the different types of mining activities scattered throughout the park including old shafts, tunnels and open cut mines, water races, building ruins, machinery foundations and abandoned machinery. The reserve at Vaughan Springs, created in 1878, was originally 1.5 hectares and has grown and developed into an area covering approximately 100 hectares along the Loddon River. The mineral springs were first found by the alluvial miners who discovered gold in the area in 1853. In October 2002, Vaughan Mineral Springs Reserve, Castlemaine-Chewton Historic Area, Upper Loddon Flora Reserve and areas of State Forest became the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, which is a new public land category for Australia.
Activities and attractions