Clunes has a recorded population of 1728 residents and is situated 148 km from Melbourne and approximately 30 km north of Ballarat, it Features an unchanged streetscape from the goldrush era and nestles in the valley of Creswick Creek. It was claimed on several occasions that gold was first discovered there in Victoria. Fine old buildings and quaint verandahed shops create a feeling of the 1800s wild west. Many buildings remain unchanged since the gold rush. Several movies have featured the town as a backdrop including” Mad Max” and the “Ned Kelly” Films
It was first settled by Scotsman Donald Cameron who traveled from Sydney in 1839. Clunes is Gaelic for “pleasant place” named after his hometown in Scotland.
In 1850 William Campbell discovered gold on Cameron’s Station but did not report it straight away.
In 1851 James Esmond took samples from the property for testing, the resulting high assays subsequently sparking a rush of miners to Clunes.
In 1857 the “Port Phillip & Colonial Mining Company was formed by some of the early Diggers who obtained a lease from local landowners.
Peter Lalor Of Eureka stockade Fame settled in Clunes and became Chairman of the local water board. most mining had ceased by 1900. between 1851 to 1901, three million tonnes of quartz had been mined and crushed to produce 50 tonnes of gold. 1 Kilo Gold Price = $84,287 AUD (ie 50 tonnes = 4,214,350,000 AUD today’s Dollars )
Famous artist and 5-time Archibald prize winner John Longstaff (1862 -1948) was born in Clunes. His portraits were very fashionable in the day and in 1928 he received a knighthood. Two of his most famous portraits were of Henry Lawson (1900) and General Monash(1918) he also painted “Arrival of Burke & Wills” . He studied in the National Gallery of VICTORIA and later spent time in London and Europe before returning home.
Clunes is well known for its annual Booktown Festival held 30th April – 1st May 2022– a literary celebration featuring everything from book sales, author talks, and workshops, featuring live music, seminars, theatre, and food, great for families and children
Join the conversation, and Rummage through the bookstalls where you’ll find collectible, rare, second-hand, new, and small press books on sale. There are many Bookstores and antique stores in Clunes and you can peruse these any time in between festivals.
Festival Pass entry is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. Children under 16 are free. All children’s events and workshops which are FREE and will run in the Kids & YA Area within the Festival Precinct.
Clunes has a Farmer’s market held on the 2nd Sunday of the month, from 9 am to 2 pm. Enjoy a fabulous lunch or snack at the many Clunes eateries while you are there before moving on to other fabulous destinations around Clunes.