Creswick Hospital – closed in 1912 but still an architectural wonder.

Former Creswick Hospital

The foundation stone of the Creswick Hospital was laid in 1863.  Later that year it opened with two public wards and a few smaller private wards. Following additions in 1867 and 1868 the main hospital building formed a square surrounding a quadrangle.

In 1912 the hospital closed when purchased by the School of Forestry.  The building used to overlook the Town however the view has been lost due to vegetation growth.  The stately building is now one of Melbourne University’s Regional Libraries.

Creswick History

“Creswick is a former gold mining township 20 km north of Ballarat. It is set in undulating ranges, partly forested, which formed an extensive goldfields area that was discovered during the early 1850s. Creswick has several local industries.

It was named after the Creswick Creek pastoral run (1842), taken up by the brothers Henry, Charles and John Creswick. In 1852 gold was discovered on Creswick Creek. Most leads ran north of the future township site, but one ran southwards, just east of the town centre. A goldfields Commissioner, Walter Brackenbury, was appointed in December 1852, and his Commissioner’s Camp became the site of the Botanic Gardens. In August 1854, a township survey was carried out, the year after the first school was opened.

Shortly after the township was laid out, religious and civic institutions were opened: Anglican and Catholic churches (1857), a Wesleyan church (1861) and a court house (1859).

Upwards of 25,000 miners were estimated to be in the Creswick area at peak mining times. The census for 1861, however, recorded a population of 4714, which was to be the highest census figure ever. The easy alluvial gold was quickly won, and deep lead mining became the main form of mining after the early 1870s, particularly to the north of Creswick.”

The population today is approx. 3000.  There are many substantial buildings from the period still standing, they are all well worth a visit.  It would not be possible in the 21st Century for a town of 4700 to build infrastructure of similar quality and scope. 

More Australian Townscapes pictures can be found here.

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