The historic towns of Maldon and Castlemaine in the Goldfields region are being reinvigorated with support from the Andrews Labor Government to bring their significant tourism assets back to life.
Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards today visited the Maldon Streetscape project and the Victorian Goldfields Railway in Castlemaine, both popular tourism offerings in the region.
The Labor Government invested $500,000 through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund to upgrade the Victorian Goldfields Railway, a tourist service running between Castlemaine and the nearby town of Maldon, which has been operating its steam-powered services for more than 20 years.
Ms Symes and Ms Edwards turned the sod on the new construction which will provide new locomotive servicing and stabling facilities, accessible staff amenities, an extension to the existing carriage shed, walking path upgrades, services upgrades and fence and lighting upgrades.
Having these facilities at Castlemaine will allow an increase of up to three return services each day from Castlemaine to Maldon as trains currently beginning at Maldon often run at very low capacity.
The Labor Government is also providing $50,000 from the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund for a business case to revitalise the historic town centre of Maldon, restoring a key tourism destination for central Victoria.
Maldon holds the distinction of becoming Australia’s first ever ‘notable town’ in 1966 thanks to its legacy as a 19th century mining settlement – this business case will help determine the viability and economic benefits of investing in a restoration of the Maldon town centre and shopfronts from High Street to Main Street.
Tourism is vital for Maldon and the wider Goldfields area with the region attracting approximately 7.5 million domestic and international visitors who spent an estimated $1.2 billion in the year ending March 2019.
Work on the Maldon business case has now commenced, with a final document and detailed designs to be completed by August 2020.
Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes
“Tourism is vital to regional Victoria and we’re excited to support the revitalisation of Maldon town centre and the upgrade to the historic steam train to bring even more visitors to the iconic Goldfields.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards
“The Victorian Goldfields Railway is a much-loved tourist attraction showcasing our region to visitors from around the world – I can’t wait to see it upgraded and transporting visitors to a revitalised Maldon town centre.”