On Sunday I had the pleasure of attending an event in Clunes held by the Clunes Tourist and Development Association in conjunction with the Hepburn Shire Council. The event was called a ‘Book town for a day’. It was part of a project called Creative Clunes, which received $15 000 from the Department for Victorian Communities to develop a proposal for rural township renewal.
Anyone who was there would have thought that gold had been found in Clunes all over again last Sunday. Thousands of people turned up. It was a stunningly successful event, and people could not be daunted by the rain or the very cold wind. Whilst it appeared to be a hugely successful one-day event, in itself of course it will not bring about sustainable renewal. The Ballarat Courier on Monday reported ‘Clunes stacks up as visitors pour in’.
It was an event that put Clunes on the map and gave people an opportunity to study the external and internal beauty of its Victorian architecture. It gave people an opportunity to imagine just what it might have been like to live in a Victorian goldmining town in the mid-1850s through to the late 1890s.
Hopefully this will add to the tourism potential of the area and bring inquiring minds back to explore the many historic buildings of the town on perhaps less hectic days. In doing so, visitors may contemplate a lifestyle that is family friendly and has readily accessible services.