National Trust Heritage Festival Bendigo & Region Branch 2024

Government Camp Castlemaine Tour

Saturday 27 April 2024 (link to National Trust Castlemaine Event)

Celebrating the Australian Heritage Festival, Victoria 2024, coming to Castlemaine on 27 April

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has announced that Australia’s biggest community-driven Heritage
Festival in Victoria will run from Thursday 18 April to Saturday 18 May 2024. The 2024 theme is
Connections; encouraging celebration of the rich and diverse stories of our nation, strengthening cultural and
historical ties and recognising their crucial connections to where our communities are today.

Importantly, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Victorian state government heritage legislation. In
1974, after many years of campaigning by Victorian conservation activists, the first buildings were included
in the Victorian Historic Buildings Register to protect them for current and future generations.
The festival is an opportunity for communities to immerse themselves in the State’s rich and diverse
heritage, offering unmatched access to unique exhibitions, tours, talks, workshops and more.

Bendigo National Trust Branch Event with Castlemaine Members & Supporters
On 27 April, through National Trust, Bendigo Branch, Castlemaine Society Inc. (CASSOC) will be helping to
showcase Castlemaine’s Gold Commissioner’s Camp environs; once the expansive and pre-eminent
Government administration precinct during the 1850s gold mining period for the entire fledgeling State of
Many may not be aware that this vast area once bounded an area from the railway station precinct in the
North and railway easement in the East to Johnston St in the South and as far as Farnsworth St in the West.
Importantly, Camp Reserve, as we know it today, was the military parade ground for the Government Camp.
After the Camp was closed in 1861, it was the vision of Captain John Bull who argued passionately for the
military parade ground not to be subject to development, but to be kept intact for the people of Castlemaine
in perpetuity.

Smoking Ceremony
In recognition of our First People of this area, the Dja Dja Wurrung, the day will commence with a smoking
ceremony conducted in the vicinity of the ‘Survey Tree’ by Uncle Rick Nelson.
Two identical tours will then take place over the course of the day to give rare access to such houses as the Gold
Commissioner’s residence, Sheriff Colles’s house, Burke’s house, the Powder Magazine and the Powder
Magazine Keeper’s Cottage. Visits will also take place outside other original buildings from the time (not
accessible), including the house of Ah Coy, who was the Chinese translator for the administration, the former
military quarters (in private ownership and becoming derelict) and the former Court House (the home of the
Castlemaine Historical Society).

There are many sites to see and the tour will be brisk.

If you have missed out on the bus tour, you can still meet at the significant sites at the times below. An A3 Map will be available for $5 for self guided tours. Please note that the private properties that will be open at the times listed are not open to the public at any other time, and can only be viewed from the street.

Itinerary 9am-4pm 3 pages

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