Several weeks ago my wife and I, accompanied by my sister-in-law,
ventured to Castlemaine. Unlike our recent trip to Yarragon
, this day's weather was bright and sunny, the perfect day for a two hour drive. When we arrived we found the town
to be much larger than expected, probably because the town dates back to the 1850's goldrush in
Victoria when the population would have been larger.
There were three main reasons we visited Castlemaine: 1) We'd never been
there before, 2) A friend invited us to visit her hometown, and 3)
Howard from Howard Bolton Bookseller
had mentioned the great bookshops
many times before.
Once we hit the town our first stop was Mount Of Alex Bookshop
. This shop was
full of excellent quality hardbacks. I managed to find several James
Bond books on the shelves and after speaking to the owner, Andrew, I
discovered he had a storage facility containing more Bond novels. He
kindly printed a list and I subsequently purchased several Fleming hard
backs from him a week or two later (see pictures at the bottom of this
post). Andrew also gave me a small postcard that featured four other
book stores that formed the Castlemaine Bookshop Trail.
After leaving Mount Of Alex we consulted our newly acquired book trail
literature and drove the short distance to Soldier and Scholar Secondhand Books
. Unfortunately the store was closed on the day we visited for a family event but I could see hundreds of
paperbacks through the front window. Here was my first reason to visit
the town again.
Next stop on the book trail was Stoneman's Book Room
. The old shop front advertised
second-hand books however I couldn't find any inside. I asked a person
behind the counter and they explained they now only stocked new books.
For some reason we missed the fourth bookshop on the list. We walked to the spot where we thought it should be, near the historic Theatre Royal, but couldn't find it.
After a delicious pub lunch at the Criterion and visiting many
of the curiosity shops and antique stores, we took a short drive just
out of the town to the last book store on the book trail.
From speaking to one of the owner's the Book Heaven Bookstore
seems to have
had an interesting history. The building was built during the gold rush
and was a pub until the 1920's. Then it was used for several purposes
until it became derelict. Around 1990 the building was purchased,
restored and re-purposed as a large book shop. It now stocks thousands
of books, comics, records and other interesting items. I managed to find
several Bond novels. This is definitely a place to visit if you're
after cheap paperbacks over a wide number of categories. It may be well
organized but I imagine there are still plenty of books to be discovered
on these shelves.
Having finished the book trail our next stop of the day was The Mill
. Like the similar Mill Markets in Daylesford
, basically it's a massive warehouse containing hundreds of different stalls. There were so many
items for sale that we spent almost an hour walking
around the giant building. And while we didn't buy anything there were plenty of
books for sale, as well as anything else you could imagine.
(Yes, the guy above did have a head. It just vanished when I took this photo !)
Our final stop of the day before journeying back to the big smoke was
Castlemaine railway station. Still serviced by diesel trains from the
City, this station is also an end point for the Victorian Goldfields Railway
which is a steam train jouney from here to Maldon return.
The old steam train pulling many old wooden carriages was great to see,
and while we didn't have time to take a ride, we were still able to
take some photos.
One amazing old building in the town which I thought was interesting because of its Parisienne looking roof.
Castlemaine Bookshop Trail literature and some ancient Roman coins.
And the three Ian Fleming Jonathan Cape hardbacks I purchased from Mount Of Alex Bookshop. Not first editions but in excellent condition.
On our drive home we all agreed it had been a great day and would definitely visit Castlemaine again.