Malmsbury (and Taradale)
Small service centre on the Calder Highway
Malmsbury is a small township of some 500 people
located on the Calder Highway, 95 km north-west
of Melbourne and 10 km north of Kyneton.
The first pastoral station was established
here in 1837 and it soon became a resting place
for teamsters heading northwards. In the early
1850s it developed as a food supply centre for
the northern goldfields. The good fortune
drifted south in 1858 in the form of a gold find
at Malmsbury itself. Together with the bluestone
quarry (the source of many local buildings),
this stimulated further growth and a townsite
was eventually surveyed in 1863.
For a brief period the town was a railway
terminus and, as such, was a social and
commercial focal point for diggers, squatters,
selectors and travellers alike.
Things to see:
For local information ring the Kyneton Visitors
Centre in High St, tel: (03) 5422 6110.
Former Wesleyan Chapel
At the southern end of town, at the
south-western corner of Mollison St (the
highway) and Ross St, is the former Wesleyan
Chapel (1870s). Head north along the highway.
Just over Ross St is the Brick Nog Market which
has a hay-bale maze and sells pottery. Take the
next right into Brodie St then the first left
into Cameron St where you will find...
St John's Church of England
The foundation stone of St John's Church of
England was laid in 1866. It is opened for
services on the first and third Sunday of the
month at 11.00 a.m.
On the other side of the road is the town's
small primary school which was built of coursed
bluestone masonry in a vernacular Classical
Revival style in 1873-74 (a weatherboard wing
was added at the turn of the century). The
chimneys, window openings and string-courses
(horizontal bands of decorative stone projecting
from a wall) are noteworthy.
Turn left into Barker St and cross the highway,
past the former Catholic Church (c.1920). The
next crossroad is Clowes St and if you
investigate the area to the immediate right and
left of Barker St you will see a number of fine
bluestone cottages from the town's early days
Return along Barker St to the highway and
continue northwards. Along the next block, to
the left, are the old mechanics institute
(c.1862) and post office and a couple of antique
shops. To the right are the former Bank of NSW
(c.1865) and the Uniting Church (c.1873).
Cross over Ellesmere St. To the immediate
left is the Malmsbury Town Hall (c.1867) and
beyond that the botanic gardens.
Malmsbury Botanic Gardens
The botanic gardens were established on nine
hectares of river flats in 1863, largely with
flora supplied by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller,
the director of Melbourne's Royal Botanic
Gardens. They were elaborately developed with a
hedge maze and landscaped islands which were
established within a natural billabong and
linked by timber bridges. The gardens became a
major attraction but fell into a state of
neglect until 1984. The gardens contain one of
only four specimens in the state of the hybrid
strawberry tree. There are waterbirds and picnic
From the south-west corner of the gardens you
can see the town's old railway viaduct. There is
a walking track from the gardens to the viaduct
which was built in 1859 to carry the Bendigo
line over the Coliban River. It is said that
4000 men were employed in the construction of
the bridge. Representative of the massive scale
of colonial railway projects, it is one of the
largest 19th-century engineering structures in
the state. The bridge section consists of five
arched spans of 18 metres each while the entire
structure is 152 metres from end to end.
Return to the highway and continue north over
the river and the water channel to Bendigo
(c.1874). To the immediate right is a local
landmark; the old bluestone mill which is three
storeys high with an additional attic section.
It was built in 1856-57 although the original
firm went bankrupt early. It is now a restaurant
and gallery. On the other side of the highway is
Birthday Villa (c.1880-86).
Cross over Campbell St and to the left is 'The
Mansions', a fine old building which was erected
in the 1850s as an hotel. It has since served as
a bank, a boarding house, a mushroom farm and a
Turn left down Orr St. Walk past another old
hotel (c.1860s) to the excellent bluestone
complex which is the town's old railway station
(1859-60). It is located at the end of Orr St.
Just outside the framework of this walk is 'Lillieville'
in Raleigh St, a single-storey cottage erected
c.1880 of random-coursed bluestone masonry. It
has a fine chimney, parapets on the end walls
and a fine timber verandah.
Malmsbury Reservoir (1866-72) was built to
supply Castlemaine and Bendigo with water. There
is a picnic area within a grove of pine trees.
Head west out of town on the Daylesford Rd and
take the first left after you cross the railway
The old goldmining township of Taradale is 7 km
north of Malmsbury along the highway. It is full
of historic buildings dating back as far as the
1850s. They are detailed on a map of the town
held by the Kyneton Visitors' Centre. There is
also a picnic area around a mineral spring
beside the Coliban River
About 1 km south of town, along the highway, is
Bleak House which was built in the 1850s. It is
now a rose nursery.
Sandy Farm Vineyard
Sandy Farm Vineyard and Winery, established in
1988, is a small family winery that produces
merlot, cabernet and pinot noir. They are open
from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on weekends and by
appointment on weekdays and are located to the
south-west of town on Sandy Farm Rd at Denver,
between Malmsbury and Glenlyon (head out on the
Daylesford Rd), tel: (03) 5348 7610.
To the east of town, off the Malmsbury to
Metcalfe Rd are the Metcalfe Cascades on the