Category - History

The Maldon Penny School

The Penny School situated on Church Street Maldon is one of our favourite buildings in town.

Maldon Penny School

The school was called the Penny School because that was the cost of attendance at the school.

The 1856 Penny School, built of stone, brick and weatherboard as the Church of England Denominational School No.413, overlooks Maldon in Church Street. It was acquired by the National Trust in 1979. It was sold by The National Trust to a private buyer in 2014.

A View of Maldon from the Beehive Chimney

View of Maldon from the Beehive Chimney

View of Maldon from the Beehive Chimney – Photo: © Maldon Victoria

The Beehive Gold Mine ruins at Maldon incorporate the imposing Beehive Chimney which is visible from most parts of town and even from the top of Mount Tarrengower.

This picture is a view of Main Street Maldon from above the Beehive Chimney showing Maldon on a cool autumn day.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Maldon. Autumn 2019.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Maldon

Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Maldon – Photo: © Maldon Victoria

This photo is the Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Maldon on a nice sunny autumn Sunday morning.

Holy Trinity Church was designed in Early English gothic style by David Relph Drape and built from local schist with granite dressings. The nave was opened in 1861 and the building progressively enlarged until 1889

It consists of a nave, chancel, western porch, organ chamber and vestry. The interior is of particular note for the splendid east window dating from 1864, the work of accomplished artist John Lyon; other windows include the signed work of William Montgomery.

The first pipe organ in the church was installed in 1865 and is believed to be the Bevington organ now at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wangaratta. The present organ was built by Fincham & Hobday at a cost of £273 and was opened on 26 April 1893.

Rego Sign at Maldon

Rego – The Ruling Brand – Historic Sign at Maldon – Photo: © Maldon Victoria

An iconic part of Maldon.

The now restored Rego sign is advertising a brand which has now long passed. Until a couple of year ago the sign had faded despite at least one earlier restoration in the 1970s.

The sign is situated on the side of a former bakery that dates back to 1859 called the Scotch Pie House. It is located on the corner of Main Street and Templeton Street.

Stone Cottage at Maldon

Stone Cottage Maldon – Photo: © Maldon Victoria

This stone cottage at Maldon is a great example of goldfields architecture. A functional cottage which once was a commonplace style of building but now has a charm that embodies the heritage of Maldon.

The Historic Gutters of Maldon

Historic Open Gutters of Maldon

Historic Open Gutters of Maldon

Joseph Jenkins, a Welshman, stayed at Maldon for ten years tending to the gutters which are now a historic feature of our town.

The three Australian faces of Joseph Jenkins: Swagman, rural labourer and man of letters.

The three Australian faces of Joseph Jenkins: Swagman, rural labourer and man of letters.

“The story of Joseph Jenkins is one of the more curious tales of our history. A meticulous diarist, he comes to Australia from his homeland of Wales in 1868, and spends 25 years here as a swagman, street-sweeper, miner, farmhand and poet.”

Joseph obtained regular employment in 1884 as a cleaner of streets and drains in the town of Maldon, a few miles north from Castlemaine.

He remained here working until he reached the age of 76 and became homesick for Wales. Having saved the fare, he departed Maldon by rail on 23 November 1894, and embarked on the ss Ophir which docked at Tilbury docks on 5 January 1895.

Joseph Jenkins Plaque at Maldon Railway Station

Joseph Jenkins Plaque at Maldon Railway Station

In 1994 a water drinking fountain and a plaque were erected at Maldon railway station to recognise the centenary of Joseph Jenkins’s departure and his unique record of the life of a rural worker in Victoria.

The Maldon State Battery

Maldon State Battery

Maldon State Battery

The Maldon State Battery is a significant historical site which can be accessed via Adair Street or via walking tracks between the Union Hill Gold Mine Lookout and the Beehive Mine and Chimney Ruins.

The Battery was opened in 1915 and was last used in the 1990s. The site now consists of the former State Battery buildings and machinery, the Alliance Shaft and mining machinery foundations, sand heaps, and the site of the Welsh Swagman Joe Jenkins’ house.

The Victorian Heritage Database provides the following information regarding the Maldon State Battery:

Statement of Significance

Last updated on – July 5, 2005

The Maldon State Battery consists of the remains of the former State Battery including buildings and machinery, the Alliance shaft and associated mining machinery foundations, several large heaps of battery sand, and the site of the Joe Jenkins (the Welsh Swagman) house.

The Maldon State Battery is of historical, scientific and archaeological importance to the State of Victoria.

The Maldon State Battery is historically and scientifically important as a characteristic and well preserved example of an important form of gold mining. The Maldon State Battery is historically important as the most significant (because of its high usage) of the seven surviving State batteries.

The site is scientifically important because of the authentic quartz crushing and gold recovery technology displayed within the facility. The site’s prominence forms a significant part of the Maldon mining landscape. Gold Report generated 17/01/18 mining sites are of crucial importance for the pivotal role they have played since 1851 in the development of Victoria. As well as being a significant producer of Victoria’s nineteenth century wealth, with its intensive use of machinery, played an important role in the development of Victorian manufacturing industry.

The Maldon State Battery is archaeologically important for its potential to yield artefacts and evidence which will be able to provide significant information about the technological history of gold mining; and also to reveal new information on one of Maldon’s notable historical figures, Joe Jenkins, the Welsh Swagman.

The following text was printed in The Argus (Melbourne, VIC: 1848-1957) on Monday 20th July 1914:


MALDON, Saturday. Mr J Drysdale Brown, Minister for Mines, accompanied by Mr Merrin chief inspector of mines visited Maldon to inspect sites suitable for the erection of a Government battery. The Minister selected the spot where the Eaglehawk Consolidated battery used to stand and stated that operations would be commenced during the coming week. The despatch with which the Minister has decided to proceed with the work has given entire satisfaction as such a need has been badly felt for many years.


The following text was printed in the Bendigonian (Bendigo, VIC: 1914-1918) on Tuesday 12th January 1915.

Maldon, 5th January.

Mr. J. D. Brown, M.L.C. (Minister for Mines), accompanied by Mr. I-I. S. W. Lawson (Minister for Lands) visited Maldon today for the purpose of opening the new Government battery. Owing to no official intimation having been received of the visit until this morning, the attendance at the battery was only moderate, although there must have been 100 prospectors and business people present when the ceremony was performed. The battery consists of five heads and a complete cyanide plant, and is the most up-to-date of its kind in the State. As soon :as the battery was started, the shire president (Cr. Hutton) broke a bottle of champagne over the flywheel amid cheers.

Mr. Brown said, owing to representations by Mr. Lawson and residents of Maldon, he had agreed to have the battery erected, and he would be delighted it it could be kept going. It should have been erected three months ago. It was the 28th battery of its kind, and although there was talk of difficulties in the treatment of sand, he thought that would be overcome by the appointment of a local trust to manage the whole affair. The object of the battery was to assist the prospector and working miner to find payable stone and to treat the stone, at a cheap rate. The department was not going to enter into the business of dealing with the sand. If the battery was supported, the department would erect another five heads of stampers, but if it was found at the end of six months that it was not being used, it would be shipped. elsewhere, where it would be appreciated. The battery cost £2000, and he hoped it would be a sample of its kind for the rest of Victoria. He trusted it would be kept going, as the charge for crushing would be 5/ a ton. He wished the venture every success (Applause.)

Mr. Lawson said that such a battery was a necessity, and he hoped its erection would lead prospectors to locate something permanent for the benefit of the district. They were sincerely anxious to help the working miner, and any practical suggestion would be sympathetically considered by the Minister for Mines, who would endeavor to carry them out. Personally, he was pushing on the new water scheme with all possible speed, and he hoped that when completed, it would prove satisfactory, and put an end to the threatened water famines which had troubled them for so many years. He wished the new venture every success, and congratulated the people of Maldon on possessing a State Battery. (Applause.)

Cr. Bowen moved a vote of thanks to the Ministers for their attendance, and for their efforts in securing the battery. The motion was carried by acclamation. Subsequently Cr. Hutton invited the company to partake of a glass of wine at the Eaglehawk Hotel, and subsequently he entertained the visitors at luncheon at the Royal Hotel, The visitors left in the afternoon for the metropolis.


Maldon Athenaeum Library

The Maldon Athenaeum

The Maldon Athenaeum

This is the Maldon Athenaeum Library. The site has operated since 1863, however much of the building currently seen was built in the mid to late 1930s as the original building was mostly destroyed by a fire.

The building currently houses the Maldon Athenaeum Library and rooms are also the home of the Maldon RSL.

From the Maldon Athenaeum Library website:

The Maldon Athenaeum Library is located at No. 97 High Street, adjacent to the Post Office, and across the street from the historic Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

The Library is housed in the second building to be erected on the site (the first, dating from 1863 having been destroyed by fire in 1932).

The site originally was the location of the Mechanics Institute established in 1863. The Athenaeum Hall at the rear of the library was built as a billiards saloon at some stage before 1905. During the 1920’s through to the 1930’s the noise and behaviour of patrons caused some concern. On Sunday, 30th July 1935 a fire broke out destroying part of the building.

The general Maldon community was behind the rebuilding of the Athenaeum and before a year had elapsed funds had been speedily raised locally to erect the present brick building. The Athenaeum never stopped operating as temporary rooms were made available until the new building was completed. The present building is “owned” by the people of Maldon and administered by a Committee of Management under the umbrella of the State Government’s Department of Sustainability & Environment. The land is Crown Land.

The local RSL has used the Hall as a clubroom for many years and shares it with the Library and other local groups.

There was a period of gentle stagnation when the population of Maldon dwindled after WW2 but a handful of far-sighted people kept the Library open when all other Mechanics’ Institutes in country towns were closing their doors. Thanks to these few, the Maldon Athenaeum is now only one of six Mechanics’ Institutes still operating as a library.