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Majorca

Majorca was founded in 1863 towards the end of the Victorian gold rush after two prospectors struck gold nearby at McCallum's Creek. Now a ghost town, modern day Majorca is a rural area consisting mostly of farmland.

Two months after the initial discovery of gold at McCallum's Creek there were 250 stores and restaurants in Majorca and the town had a population of about 3,000 - 4,000 - although many stores and residents returned to nearby Maryborough before long. The town was sustained by gold mining for over 50 years.

A court was opened in 1863 and a school was opened in 1864. By 1872 there several churches, a mechanics' institute, several hotels and numerous gold workings. The largest mine was the Kong Meng, which continued operations until the 1880's.


A main street of Majorca c1866 by photographer W. Hardegen. 
Source: State Library of Victoria

The following information is displayed on an information sign at the Majorca Town Hall:

Majorca drew thousands of gold-seekers to rushes in 1863 just as diggings around nearby towns declined. Their first surface diggings soon gave way to complex networks of deep mine shafts, with a mass local workforce and capital investment from around the globe. The rich field of Majorca sustained its own local council that met in the town hall.

Amongst mining investors in Majorca was Lowe Kong Meng, born in Penang in 1853. Kong Meng imported Chinese foods to his Little Bourke St store before investing in the sugar trade and in mining. His mines at Majorca and Carisbrook helped keep the towns alive for more than fifty years. Around Majorca, remnants of the mining industry can still be seen in an 1860s standpipe, a whip from the 1930's and cyanide workings. Miners dug out the massive mounds of mine waste that even today shape local skylines.

As for Kong Meng, he emerged as leader to Victoria's Chinese residents. The Emperor of China proclaimed him "Mandarin of the Blue Button, Civil Order" for his efforts on behalf of the Chinese community.

Views from Google Maps show evidence of extensive historic gold mining efforts through the farming paddocks of Majorca:

Majorca was described in the Australian Handbook in 1903:

Majorca: (37° 7' S. lat., 143° 55' E. long.) (county Talbot, electorate Maryborough), a flourishing borough township with post, telegraph and money-order office, on McCallum and Back Creeks, and on the road from Talbot to Carisbrook, 112 miles (120 postal) NW. of Melbourne. The municipal area is 5,005 acres, with 252 dwellings, 224 ratepayers, 1s. rate, and property annually valued at £3,940. Carisbrook, 4 ½ miles distant N., is the nearest railway station, and is reached by daily coach. A coach also runs daily to Maryborough, 6 miles NW., and to Carisbrook. Principal hotels are the Harp of Erin, Royal, Star, and Imperial. There is a M.U.I.O.O.F. lodge, and a court-house. Two State schools (Nos. 764 and 1,062), Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Wesleyan churches, and an agency of the London Bank of Australia. Water from small reservoir with stand pipe. Streets lighted with kerosene. The district is an agricultural and mining one. The presence of gold caused the first settlement. The diggings are chiefly alluvial : the gold yield in 1900 was 550 ozs. Formation : basaltic. The population, 718.

Not much remains of the busy gold rush town today aside from the town hall, former London Chartered Bank, old Haberdashery and Newsagency, former Methodist Church, Majorca School Headmasters residence, the historic cemetery,  and the Majorca public garden and lake.

There was also the Old Majorca Store, a former general store, which had the word "WITCH" painted in large letters on its side wall. A former icon of the town, unfortunately it caught fire in 2015 and had to be demolished.

You can take a fascinating walk through the township of Majorca by following this map on walkingmaps.com.au (https://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/937)

Points of interest along the walk are:

  • Town hall
  • Cenotaph
  • Public garden and lake
  • School residence
  • Primary school site
  • Post office
  • Site of the Majorca court house
  • Former Methodist Church
  • Majorca bushland
  • Church of England site
  • Standpipe and memorial trough
  • Old haberdashery and newsagency
  • Harp of Erin Hotel remains
  • Former London Chartered Bank
  • "Witch" advertising sign site (building and sign were demolished after a fire in 2015)
  • Old Majorca Store (building was demolished after the 2015 fire)
Browse through the following list of locations to learn more about some of the fascinating places within the historic township of Majorca, Victoria.


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