It was in Clunes, roughly halfway between Maryborough and Ballarat, that a find in June 1851 sparked the gold rush that would transform Victoria's fortunes. These days, the small town (population 1656) is a quintessential gold-mining relic, with gorgeous 19th-century porticoed buildings whose grandeur seems way out of proportion to the town's current size.
But Clunes has another, more modern claim to fame. The town hosts the annual Clunes Booktown Festival in early May and is home to no fewer than (at last count) eight bookstores, most of which are a bibliophile's delight, with a focus on the secondhand trade. In 2012 it was awarded the status of Australia's first international book town. It will host the 2018 Biannual Conference of the International Organisation of Booktowns.
For more info on literary events visit www.clunesbooktown.com.au.