First Government Camp Tour 2023

Bus Trip CASSOC’s joint event with GCC (Gold Camp Castlemaine) on Sunday 23/4/23

Guided Tour of the Gold Commissioner’s Camp Castlemaine

Itinerary On Foot;

  • Former Court House and the Prisoner Tree, Goldsmith Crescent
  • Camp House (Gold Commissioner’s Residence- home to John Edward Newell Bull and Family) Yandell St (We thank Helen and Ian for letting us onto the verandah to appreciate the orientation towards the Camp centre)
  • Former Military Quarters Camp St, Campbells Creek
  • Sheriff Colle’s house Camp St, we were fortunate to be invited inside. (We thank Fiona and Rick)
  • ‘Broadoaks’ 31 Gingell St, Camp Reserve (We thank Di for inviting us to walk through)

Bus component; (Dunolly RTC community 16 seater bus)

  • Mr. Howe’s Survey Tree, Yandell St
  • Confluence of the three creeks – Barkers, Forest and Campbells, birthplace of the Gold Commissioner’s Camp
  • Sheriff’s Bridge, Gaulton St
  • Farnsworth St historic cluster – Castle House, the Powder Magazine &
  • Powder Magazine’s Keeper’s Cottage (We thank Bryon and Winifred for inviting us to walk through)
  • Old Gaol
  • Edward St historic cluster Former Doctor’s Residence, Fromer Nurses’ Residence
  • Railway station
  • Christ Church (Anglican Church). Site of the uprising ‘townites’ against the ‘campites’

Aims of the Gold Commissioner’s Camp Tour

  • Promotion of the history of the Gold Commissioner’s Camp and the historic precinct which is protected by HO668 – the local heritage overlay ‘Camp Reserve and Environs’.
  • This small, targeted event was a pilot tour of the area, comprized of CASSOC committee members, GCC organizers, heritage experts from the National Trust Bendigo Branch, and two Ballarat Federation University goldfields academics. The aim is to build relationships and coalitions with other related organizations outside of the Shire.
  • This event was not advertized, or open to all members and the public, as we only had a 16 seater bus. We plan to expand on this pilot so that our members and the widespread community can enjoy learning about this last legible central Victorian Gold Commissioner’s Camp precinct.


  • CASSOC understands the Camp Reserve as having local, state and national significance, as a centre of early colonial goldfield’s governance, a view that is held by historians of the period.
  • The current Master Plan 2022 as advanced by Mount Alexander Shire Council risks tipping the identity of the Military Parade Ground, known as Camp Reserve, into a modern sports precinct, with a corresponding loss of intrinsic historical significance.
  • CASSOC, GCC and the National Trust Bendigo Branch, plan to expand on this pilot tour, to widen awareness of the issue and the potential loss to our goldfield’s fabric.


CASSOC promotes a revized Master Plan which includes heritage values, retention of large old trees, retention of significant landscape and historic sightlines and views. CASSOC maintains that a superior, more balanced outcome is possible. One which meets the official user groups’ needs, with excellent multipurpose facilities that will serve the wider community into the future, and that leaves a rare historic precinct with integrity.

Archbold’s Gold Treatments Works (VHR H1351)

A Little Known Treasure

After the tour, a group remained and had lunch at the Railway Hotel. Discussion centred around planning pressures on heritage, and advocacy. We travelled on to Chewton for a wonderful guided tour of Archbold’s Gold Treatments Works (VHR H1351). CASSOC and GCC members were thrilled to have an expert tour of a unique gold mining site, which a small team is working to preserve and collate. We are most appreciative that Dr Gary Hill gave us an opportunity to view this place and to understand its scientific value to the region’s remarkable gold mining history.


Emails of appreciation have been received. People were so pleased to see the interiors of some of these pivotal early places. CASSOC and GCC thank all who put aside their day, and to the several who travelled significant distances to join the tour. We started at 11am and wrapped up after 5pm. It was a perfect autumn day, and Castlemaine looked at its best!

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