Published: 18 Mar 2022
The town of Maldon is proof that real treasures never fade.
Founded in 1853 during Victoria's gold rush, the town is home to a variety of stunning heritage buildings.
Maldon is so striking that it was voted Australia's First Notable Town by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) in 1966.
But with rich social and architectural heritage comes a challenge. How do you preserve the past while preparing for the future?
The Maldon Streetscape Revitalisation Project has met that challenge head-on.
Improvements include shopfront restorations, undergrounding of power lines, upgrades to footpaths and pedestrian crossings, and updating streetlights and street furniture.
Striking a balance
At the heart of this project was the need to strike the right balance between past and future.
"Maldon is precious and we agreed the fabric was to be protected wherever possible," explained local architect Brad Hooper.
"But we also agreed that we couldn't protect the heritage at the expense of a viable, working community," he added.
Brad, who runs a local business and was part of several project sub-committees, is pleased with the way community engagement drove the project.
"The sub-committee model has enabled good decision making. Most of the community feedback has resulted in some savings for the project" he explained.
"As a community engagement model, I think it's worked a cracker," added Brad.
Importantly, the project has created results that locals are proud of.
"The town looks incredible without the poles and wires across the street," he said.
“The project achieved significant milestones for the town, and it happened so seamlessly.”
The timing of the project couldn't be better.
Like many regional towns, Maldon is experiencing a population boom.
"There's a resurgence in the town with people moving from Melbourne. We had record enrollments at Maldon Primary last year," said Brad.
Brad is confident that the completed works will set Maldon up for success.
"It was a great initiative and I'd love to see this repeated in other towns across Victoria," he said.
"It's amazing how a little bit of money goes such a long way in a regional environment," he added.
The Maldon Streetscape Revitalisation Project will be completed in late 2022.