Museums & History

Talbot Arts & Historical Museum

  • Camp Street, Talbot
  • 03 5463 2167
  • Opening Hours:  Sunday, 1 pm – 4 pm.  Tues & Wednesday 10am – 4pm or by appointment.
  • Admission: Adults $5, Children over 12years 50c.  Extra charges apply for specialist research purposes.

Opened in 1984 in the former Primitive Methodist Church (opened 1870), the museum is four museums in one, comprising of the Communications Museum, Dunach School No1412, Amherst Hospital Isolation Ward and the Talbot Arts & Historical Museum.

The museums contain a wide range of items of historical interest including photographs, maps, paintings, exhibits and family histories which record aspects of the working like, domestic needs and leisure activities of the people in the early goldfields of the Talbot region.  See how the pioneers of the gold mining township met the early challenges of the harsh land and research your own family history.

Records held include:

  • Cemetery register Amherst (new & old)
  • Rate records from 1859 (incomplete)
  • Card Index Amherst Hospital 1859-1892
  • Vaccination records
  • Collection of local family history
  • School history (incomplete)
  • Photographs of miners and mine sites
  • Photographs of members of clubs & organization’s.

Walking tour of Talbot

  • Map available at the Talbot Arts & Historical Museum. 50c

Today you can catch a glimpse of Talbot’s rich history wandering along one of the most intact blocks of gold era government buildings in Australia.

Key gold era architectural sights include:

  • Former Wesleyan Church, constructed in 1862-1863, now the oldest surviving church in Talbot. Free use of Gothic elements contrast sharply with the classically inspired Primitive Methodist Church opposite.
  • ANA Hall, Ballaarat Street, next to the town hall, was built at the turn of the twentieth century for the Australian Natives Association.
  • Former Bootmaker, corner Ballaarat Street and Scandinavian Crescent, built by Joseph Burdess in 1862. In 1987 the verandah was reconstructed using early photographs as a guide.
  • Former Bull & Mouth Hotel, now Chesterfield House B&B, Ballaarat Street North, was built of local basalt in 1865 by William Owen. The original Bull & Mouth Hotel was opposite and was demolished to make way for Heales Street. The verandah was added about 1900 when the building was known as the Town Hall Hotel.
  • Former drapery, Scandinavian Crescent and Camp Street. This unusual shop and attached residence was built about 1861-82 when early development consolidated in Talbot. Originally a drapery and later a tea house, by 1919 it was Weilandt’s store. The adjacent shop was built in the early 1920s and has a pressed metal facade, simulating masonry

Walking tour of Amherst

  • Map available at the Talbot Arts & Historical Museum. 50c

In the late 1850’s Amherst was the centre of a lively municipality founded on population and wealth from the early gold rushes.  From a population of several thousand in the 1850’s and 60’s the town is now almost deserted.  Several bush fires (most recently in January 1985) have reduced almost all buildings to piles of bricks and ash.

The major attribute of Amherst in now its impressive town plan.  Most streets are still open to public access and the plan provides a fine example of a grid pattern layout of a goldfields town.

Key gold rush era sights include

  • Basalt Culverts, which are now perhaps the earliest surviving public works in the shire.
  • Site of Amherst Hospital now marked by the remains of the reinforced concrete mortuary (1911)
  • Amherst Cemetery, surveyed in 1880 it includes a circular flowerbed at the intersection of the main paths, rare amongst Victorian cemeteries.

Railway Station Museum

  • Railway Ave, Talbot
  • 03 5463 2136
  • Opening Hours:  Wednesday to Sunday.

Talbot Railway Station was opened in 1875 as part of the Ballarat to Maryborough line.  The old station platform is a treasure trove of railway memorabilia and overlooks the site of the Scandinavian gold lead.