Welshmans Reef

Welshmans Reef is a former gold mining town 15 km west of Castlemaine and 110 km north-west of Melbourne. Its site is between the east side of the Cairn Curran Reservoir and the Maldon State Forest.

The name presumably came about from a Welshman discovering the gold-bearing reef: there were numerous Welsh and Methodist settlers at neighbouring townships such as Fryerstown and Vaughan.

West of Welshmans Reef there were the Loddon flats, which enabled miners to diversify into farming. A school was opened in 1877. The place was seldom more than a hamlet and its peak pre-twenty-first-century census population of 215 persons was in 1915. In 1956 the Cairn Curran Reservoir was completed, inundating much of the river flats. The school closed in 1965.

Welshmans Reef’s surrounds are dotted with old gold workings and there is a caravan park beside the reservoir. Goulburn Murray Water announced in 2014 that it would close the 64-site Welshmans Reef Caravan Park at the Cairn Curran Reservoir in November 2014.

The Welshmans Reef Vineyard in Maldon-Newstead Road, Welshmans Reef, began plantings in 1986 supplying to other wineries and opened its own facilities in the Old Newstead Co-operative Butter Factory in 1994. It has since built a new winery and tasting room at the vineyard.

Its census populations were:

census date population
1891 114
1911 215
1921 150
1933 105
1954 63
2011 433*

*and environs