Years after prosperous gold mining days passed, Castlemaine established itself as a town with a thriving agricultural, arts and tourism industry.
Castlemaine's historic streetscapes are a reminder of its immensely rich gold mining days, with many magnificent public buildings located in Mostyn Street and Lyttleton Street. Highlights include the Theatre Royal (built in 1857 and continuously in use since then), the Castlemaine Market (completed in 1862 and now housing the Visitor Information Centre), the red-brick town hall (1898) and courthouse (1889). The former technical school in Mostyn Street (built in 1918) has been converted into a modern supermarket, but retains its historical building facade. Several historic churches and hotels can also be found around Castlemaine's town centre.
At the eastern end of Mostyn Street is the towering Burke and Wills monument, erected in 1862 to honour the death of these famous explorers. From the monument are good views down to the town centre.
In 1860, 25 hectares of gold diggings along Barkers Creek were set aside for the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. Recognised as one of Victoria's oldest public gardens, they feature ancient oak and elm trees, colourful garden beds, open lawns, a rotunda and Lake Joanna.
The Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, to the south and east of town, covers 7,500 hectares and includes relics of the gold mining era. The Kalimna Tourist Road, on the eastern town boundary of Castlemaine, straddles a ridge through the park, offering scenic views across surrounding countryside and bushwalking opportunities.
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