Celebrating 50 years as Australia’s first Notable Town – 1966 to 2016.
Maldon’s wealth of heritage buildings dates from the 1850s gold rush through to the 1920s. The early gold discoveries left the town set amid a harsh industrial landscape created by unfettered mining operations. Maldon has both a Main Street and High Street at its commercial heart; an unusual situation for a small town. Your walk around the intimate Main Street precinct will introduce you to a fascinating assortment of Maldon's commercial buildings and their occupants.
Start this tour at View Point on the 'Y' intersection. You can proceed stop by stop north up Main Street to Templeton Street, cross over and then come back down Main Street to McFarlane’s Drapery building, or use the map to select stops of interest. Allow 1 hour.
1 Main Street, Maldon
View Point, or 'Bank Corner' as the location is known locally, is at the very heart of Maldon. After the initial rush, rise and decline of the Long Gully area south from here, all manner of commercial premises began to develop around this junction. This corner has also been a central meeting place for the townspeople for many years.
Take time to enjoy the ambience and immerse yourself in Maldon's heritage streetscapes. You will notice that the present building on this site is out of character with its surrounds - read on to find out how this came about.
The Bank of Victoria building stood on this site at the centre of town for almost 100 years after the branch opened in March 1859. It operated until 1943 when the company went into voluntary liquidation. It was taken over by the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney and sadly they did not require the premises.
The bank building was demolished in 1958 and replaced with a new type of building, purpose-built to cater for the increasing number of motor cars now on the road. This service station building and forecourt, as seen c1970, is incompatible with the character of Maldon's heritage buildings but it's also part of the town's history.
The National Trust classification of Maldon as a Notable Town gave townspeople and visitors alike a new understanding of Maldon's heritage buildings. Since the 1980s many have hankered after rebuilding the 'Bank of Victoria' which stood on this site. Plans have been drawn up, meetings held and money raised but ....
For the next site:Follow the stops along the west side of Main Street up to Templeton Street.
3 Main Street, MALDON
This building was situated where the former service station building is now. The original smithy building was erected in 1858 and demolished along with the old bank building in the late 1950s in the name of progress. If only it could have been adapted for its new use rather than demolished.
The Main Street side of the former smithy site. Nice letter box.
The large shingle-roofed building behind the bank is where Treadwell & Stone ran their blacksmithing business from 1858 until 1868. By the time this photo was taken in 1918 the building was owned by the neighbouring bank and being used as auction rooms.
5 Main Street, Maldon
This simple brick building is one of Maldon's earliest. The site goes through to High Street and was home to McMillan & Padley's wholesale and retail ironmongery (established in 1856) which supplied 'everything necessary' for mining, agriculture, harvest and garden. Engineering works and hardware sales were big business on the gold fields and Maldon had several such businesses in its main streets.
In 2016 the building looks much as it did 100 years ago. Its simple features sit well within the streetscape. While walking by do check out the beautifully restored slate-paved footpath.
By the 1970s the building, with its large and inappropriate verandah fascia, and the footpath paving were looking very tired.
From 1907 the building was a hairdresser/tobacconist shop and this continued until around the 1960s. This 1918 photo shows Benstead's store with the large Havelock Tobacco sign.
7-17 Main Street, Maldon
The long north section of this brick and stone building was built c1859 and the extension beyond the carriageway to the south was completed in 1886 to match the earlier building. The intact timber façade retains its large display windows and verandah with pleasant timber detailing. The decorative timber carriageway is of note and often features in images of Maldon's heritage streetscapes.
The 1918 Easter Procession passing by the very impressive Dabb & Co department store.
Another Easter Procession, this time in 1950. Not much has changed except that the section under the Bushells sign is now a tearooms and location of many war time wedding receptions.
Eventually Dabb & Co sold up and by the 1970s the building housed the only general merchant left in town. Check out the power pole poking through the verandah.
In 2016 the building still houses a general merchant, supermarket in today's terms.
19 Main Street, Maldon
This building was erected in the 1930s and although incompatible with the streetscape it is not overly intrusive. It appears this may also have been the site of an early Maldon Post Office. This building and 8-10 Main Street (take-away food shop) were the only interwar developments in the town centre.
In 2016 the white tiled exterior seems a little out of place amid the heritage paint schemes. Very nice signage though.
By the 1970s the cantilevered verandah had been propped up with a metal pole at each end and the doorway moved from the centre to the side.
The rather grand two-storey brick building seen here c1895 was demolished during the 1920s.
21 - 31 Main Street, Maldon
Situated in the centre of the retail area these rather plain-styled brick shops with timber façades, large display windows and wide doorways continue to invite the customers in. Mr & Mrs Wade ran at least 2 general stores, one in High Street and the other here from around 1858.
In 2016 these shops continue as retail outlets and although none have sold ice-cream for years the Peters Ice cream sign above the verandah has survived all efforts to move it.
Back in the 1970s this building was occupied by small retail businesses and it looks like this milk bar was selling Peters Ice-cream.
This view of the upper section of Main Street shows Wade's building on the right c1920.
33 Main Street, Maldon
Records indicate this small brick building with a timber front may have been built by Thomas Calder at the time he constructed his ironmongery next door. It originally housed a hairdresser, then a music shop c1900 and in the 1930s the Tarrangower Times moved in after their High Street premises was destroyed by fire. The Tarrangower Times is our local newspaper. It was established in 1858 and is still going strong - what a magnificent achievement.
Now in 2016 the little building has had its verandah restored and it continues to have a central role in the affairs of town as the local pharmacy.
By the 1970s the verandah had been removed but the rest was largely intact and original. That was until the shop front was altered for filming the movie 'Break of Day'. Look closely at the sign on the window; it says 'The Tetlow Advertiser'. Tetlow was the fictitious town setting for the movie.
35 - 37 Main Street, Maldon
Calder's Ironmongery (business making and selling metalware or in today's terms an engineering works and hardware shop) operated from this building from the late 1850s until the 1930s. Thomas Calder, one of Maldon's prominent long-term business people, owned a large tract of land behind this building where his timber yard and substantial dwelling were situated.
The small street running alongside this building was originally another lot fronting Main Street, but that's a story for another time.
Now in 2016 the complex of buildings is in good condition although it would be pleasing to have the verandah reconstructed.
By the 1970s the building was in fair condition, the verandah was long gone and changes had been made to the parapet and front windows. The Myrl Shoe Company started operations here in 1944 as part of the government's post-war recovery process. It was a major local employer until no longer able to compete with cheaper off-shore competition.
The Calder business c1890 with shop windows stacked high with merchandise. Owner Thomas Calder is the man in the hat. A close look at the bottom of the verandah posts here reveals most are patched so this may explain the demise of the verandah.
39 - 51 Main Street, Maldon
The McArthur's Bakery site presents a range of brick and timber buildings with the bake house at the north end estimated to be the oldest. The McArthur family operated a bakery here from 1854 until the 1930s and in 2016 there is still a bakery here. The corner building, c1895, has some interesting verandah brackets and window awnings.
In 2016 the building appears in good condition although the verandah at the corner rests at an odd angle. Beautiful old and very productive fig and pomegranate trees grace the garden surrounds.
The '1854' date plaque on the corner parapet refers to the date Alexander McArthur set up his original brick oven not the date this building was erected. McArthur had arrived in the first rush to Maldon and his original shop was possibly the first erected in this area of town.
In the 1970s the small buildings of the bake house complex were receiving some attention .
53 - 61 Main Street, Maldon
The Phoenix Building was constructed in 1906 and occupied first as a drapery and later as a butcher's shop. This is one of Maldon's most substantial commercial buildings, designed by renowned architect Louis Boldini, and built during town's last great development boom. The long decline started around 1914 and lasted for 50 years. A previous single storey timber structure was occupied by a number of food traders over its long history.
In 2016 the Phoenix Building continues to watch over the 'top of town'. Part of the upper level is leased as an apartment and the ground level is abuzz with business activity.
In the 1970s the building was still an imposing sight and in good condition. But look at those weeds in the gutters.
The Phoenix Building is visible in the centre left of this streetscape c1915. Note the wide streets, gas street light (electricity did not arrive in Maldon until 1936) and complete absence of traffic. During the Great Depression the local traders all di deliveries to the surrounding district. The butcher from the corner shop ran a 'cutting cart' to cut whatever was wanted on the customer's doorstep.
For the next site:Cross over Templeton Street to Scotch Pie House or view it from this point and then continue to Franklin's Building on the east side of Main St.
63 Main Street, Maldon
Scotch Pie House was built on this site after a fire destroyed a previous store operated by Warnock Bros. The new brick building, with handsome display windows and an imposing parapet was quite large for its time and of pleasing scale. The side verandah was added after 1895.
Now in 2016 the face brick work under the verandah has been painted a 'red brick' colour to better harmonise with the streetscape. Do check out the two large hand-painted advertising signs for 'Rego - The Ruling Brand' on the side wall.
By the 1970s the building was in good condition and being used as a residence and studio.
The Robertsons and their pet dog outside their bakery and confectionery store in 1875. This is before the side verandah was added.
For the next site:To continue the Main Street tour go to Franklin's Building diagonally opposite.
72 Main Street, Maldon
Franklin's building, c1870 is a large simple building comprised of mixed materials and finishes. It was initially the Cookham Boot & Shoe Warehouse operated by H. Franklin. From 1884 the site became part of Dabb & Co's Main Street empire and was used as their Timber Yard and Chaff & Corn Store.
In 2016 the building, now commonly known as the 'Beehive', is used as retail space with accommodation upstairs. The walls have been restored and a verandah added.
By the 1970s extra windows and doors had been added to the Main Street façade and random Castlemaine slate paving applied to the lower section of the Main Street stonework.
This view of Maldon taken from the corner of Vincents Road and Phoenix Street shows Franklin's Building on the centre left c.1915. The street rising up through the centre of the image is Templeton Street with several of its fine gardens visible in the distance.
For the next site:Now follow the stops down the east side of Main Street to the point where it joins High Street at the Grand Hotel & Shops.
68 Main Street, Maldon
This narrow two-storey brick shop c1895 was occupied by William Wearne, a chemist. The adjoining timber storage space was constructed after 1920 when both buildings were occupied by Wood's grocery. The timber structures on the neighbouring sites had disappeared from the photographic record by 1936.
In 2016 the building sits harmoniously in the streetscape with its new neighbours. These infill structures are set back from the street and leave our little shop with space to be seen.
By the 1970s the building was looking rather tired and alone. The old Pennant Kerosene sign on the south wall added a bright spot. The cast iron corners on the verandah were not original and would soon be gone as the building was restored.
62 Main Street, Maldon
The present Shakespeare House, built in 1907, is described as an ornate Jacobean-style building. Its patterned brickwork parapet with elaborate pediment and its cast iron verandah brackets are worth a closer look. A much simpler timber structure c1860, became the first Shakespeare Hotel in 1864.
Now in 2016 the façade has long since been restored and its elaborate features stand out once more.
By the 1970s the delightful brick building had acquired a coat of 'white' paint but was otherwise in good condition. The window on the right is not original.
The original timber building seems too tiny to be a hotel but things were different then. Ann Swift Dean (dressed in black) was the publican in 1875, a time when many of Maldon's business operators were women. Much the same as now.
58 - 60 Main Street, Maldon
The original weatherboard structure on this site was built c1860. The Maldon Hotel and Stables as seen today were built in 1909 to the design of renowned architect Louis Boldini (Google him - it's worth it). The balcony with its elaborate cast iron lace balustrade is unique in Maldon. The entire building conveys a sense of wealth and success, however this situation was about to change and this was the last grand building constructed in Maldon before the long decline.
In 2016 the hotel building continues to be a prominent feature in the streetscape. The dining room has been built over the large stone-lined drain which runs from the Post Office to Tobin Street.
The elaborate brick structure makes a strong statement in the street. By this time the stables were being used to garage the horseless carriage.
The Victoria Dining Rooms shown c1865, just 10 years after the discovery of gold in Maldon. This substantial weatherboard structure operated as Victoria Dining Rooms from 1864, then Royal Mail Hotel from 1869 with 9 accommodation rooms and later a billiard licence. In 1876 a great flood filled the cellar and tore up the nearby pavement. It was renamed Maldon Hotel in 1900.
50 - 56 Main Street, Maldon
The current row of brick shops here is a late addition to the streetscape, in fact it was the last development before the big decline. Records indicate it was constructed by Tobin's estate. The appropriate scale and continuity of the verandahs helps the building blend with the historic streetscape.
Now in 2016 the signage has been carefully placed to allow the details of the verandah valance to be fully appreciated. The southernmost shop is a little gem with a very narrow back room, perhaps only 1 metre wide at its narrowest.
By the 1970s the building was looking a little tired but remained busy. The green tiling on the facade is similar to that at Berryman's (30 Main Street).
Victoria House, Tobin's previous building as seen here c1885, was described as 'quite an ornament'. It included the store front and rental apartments at the rear. At this stage it is not known why the building was demolished.
44 - 48 Main Street, Maldon
This simple verandahed row of brick and timber shops replaced earlier timber buildings which were used by a variety of small businesses. Main Street takes a slight bend at this point which leaves several buildings on the east side with much less floor space than their frontage might indicate.
Now in 2016 the row of shops continues to be used as retail space. The two smaller shops have been joined via a modest doorway and both spaces retain their ambience and charm.
By the 1970s the scene was very similar to today. Note that some power poles in Main Street, including the one here, protrude through verandah roofs.
This c1910 photo shows the bend in Main Street and Swann's Buildings on the left side. It's a delightful street scene - we are left to guess what the crowd is gathered for. Note the wooden pedestrian crossovers are just like those in town today.
38 - 42 Main Street, Maldon
This small brick shop with timber facade, built c1858 by George Upton, was Upton's butcher shop until at least 1900. Around this time the parapet line was raised and styled to match the adjoining shops, which Upton also owned. There are two-storey brick sections at the rear of the shop which were constructed between 1867 and 1875. These are well worth a look if the opportunity arises.
Upton & Sons shop in the centre of the action in 1894. The gathered crowd is watching the street parade celebrating a visit by the Governor of Victoria, the Earl of Hopetoun
By the 1970s this building had been subjected to a coat of 'clean light-coloured paint'. Fortunately the building's features, including the meat hanging rail inside the shop, remained in good condition.
Some years ago the shop was restored and returned to its original colour scheme. Now in 2016 it is a shining example of how restoration should be done.
34 - 36 Main Street, Maldon
This building was originally in red face brick work with contrasting brick work trim and quoin work, a style similar to other brick buildings constructed in Maldon around this time. Dabb's business outgrew this premises by the mid-1880s and it moved across the road. This store became part of Ray's Livery & Letting Stables, an essential business when horses ruled the road.
In 1878 the pleasing details of the brick work were clearly visible. The arched carriageway opening on the right would have allowed easy access for bulky produce and is very similar to that on the building next door.
By the 1970s the brick work facade had been painted and the carriageway entrance filled in.
In 2016 the 'Wheel & Loom' (as it is now commonly known as) building has been acquired by the local council for conversion to the town's visitor information centre. Good heritage practice entails retaining the heritage significance of the building while adapting it for a new use so it will be a project to watch as it unfolds.
32 Main Street, Maldon
This substantial two-storey building, designed by Thomas Kibble and constructed in 1866, replaced an earlier timber building. Its red brick work and contrasting trim and quoin work are similar to other buildings constructed around this time. It operated as a hotel until 1888 when the London Chartered Bank purchased the building as they increased their gold fields presence.
In 2016 the verandah is back and the building continues to stand out as the oldest two-storey building in Maldon.
This 1970s image shows the ground floor façade had been painted and the detail of earlier times lost.
In 1912 the State Savings Bank of Victoria purchased the building. The original detailing of the building remains clearly visible although the verandah had been removed and the arched carriageway on the north end filled in.
30 Main Street, Maldon
Early timber buildings on this site had various uses including as a bowling alley and hotel until 1867. The history is a little unclear until 1890 when a boot maker set up shop. This use continued for decades. The present Berryman's at No. 30 is one of a pair of brick shops erected in 1895. The northern one was destroyed by fire in the 1930s and reconstructed in the c2002.
Now in 2016 the original shop and its reconstructed neighbour site together in harmony. The green glazed tiles on the façade are sometimes thought to be a recent addition however they are clearly visible in photos c1900.
By the 1970s the Berrymans had moved on but it was still a 'boots and shoes' business. The building was largely unchanged and in good condition.
Berryman's Boot & Shoe Warehouse c1900 complete with its well stocked display window and sun blinds just visible behind the verandah valence.
14 - 28 Main Street, Maldon
Goldsmith’s Building, erected in 1897, is an elegant brick building with an ornamental timber parapet which gave rise to its common name, the ‘Heart of Maldon’. The floor plan of the 3 shops remains intact and each retains its large display windows and central entrance. The cast iron verandah posts and lace are typical of late 19th century Maldon. The posts also double as downpipes and have a small outlet at gutter level. The previous building on this site was destroyed by fire in 1891.
The elaborate timber parapet was reconstructed in 1995, 'hearts and all'. Now in 2016 it needs maintenance, especially to reinstate the central peak. The restored interior of the centre shop provides a delightful glimpse of shopping days past.
By the 1970s the building was looking rather different with its heart shaped decorations removed from the parapet and the remaining section covered over. Despite this its significance was still evident.
Main Street c.1900.
12 Main Street, Maldon
The current shop dates from 1920. An earlier timber building on this site had various tenants from 1858 including one Hannah Hockey from 1907. In 1919 Louisa Hockey purchased the site and constructed this pleasant red brick building with its charming parapet and simple decoration. It was the perfect setting for her confectionery and cake shop.
In 2016 the building remains intact and now has a new verandah. It's not known whether the elaborate chimney pots visible in this image are original to the building.
By the 1970s the verandah posts had been replaced rather crudely and it looks like the building was being surveyed.
8 - 10 Main Street, Maldon
Around 1895 a substantial and elaborate two-storey brick building plus a smaller single-storey shop occupied the site. This building was demolished in 1920 for undisclosed reasons and replaced with the current one which has been described as one of the 'few totally incompatible incursions in the historic area'.
In 2016 an appropriate colour scheme and verandah help the building to blend into the streetscape.
In the 1970s the building stood in stark contrast its historic neighbours.
View of the east side of Main Street c1885 showing the shops which occupied this site and that of Miss Hockey's Shop. This is prior to the construction of Mathew's impressive two-storied building.
6 Main Street, Maldon
This unusual narrow-fronted two-storey weatherboard shop has a long association with hair. It operated as Mohr's hairdressing salon from the 1860s to the late 1890s, and then as a barber's shop until the 1940s. The building is approaching 150 years of age which is something well worth celebrating.
In the 1970s the little shop was looking rather pale but in good condition after some work. It now had a new direction as an antiques shop, one of many which sprang up in town around this time.
In 2016 the simple weatherboard building is hidden by the large elm tree in the street. The decorative timber valence on the verandah at street level is not original.
2 - 4 Main Street, Maldon
John McFarlane arrived in Maldon from Scotland in 1858. He worked at Warnock Bros' drapery just across the road and established his own business here in 1862. The family ran this business for the next 84 years before handing over to Ivor Sampson in 1946. This building was made for retailing; it is spacious and has large display windows plus a high full width flush-mounted board parapet for signage.
The store c1890. By this time McFarlane had purchased the building which he had been renting for some years. He traded on his name and his signage was clearly visible at some distance.
In 2016 the building has been redecorated in appropriate colours and those large display windows continue to serve their original purpose. Unfortunately the expansive parapet signage was painted over around 20 years ago.
For the next site:At this point you could pick up the High Street tour or stop off at a café.