Living near Malmsbury

Although the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre is commutable from many Melbourne suburbs in less than an hour, if you’re looking for a change of pace in life then you may want to consider making a move closer to work.

The facility is set in North Western Victoria, a gorgeous, green part of the world famed for wild parkland and a thriving arts scene. Although bushwalkers and birdwatchers have been drawn here for decades, recently the tranquil setting has inspired a mass migration of Melbourne artists and musicians to the charming gold-rush towns. The new flock has revitalised local pubs, cafés and galleries and helped forge a strong sense of community.

If going to a gig or a gallery isn’t your style, you’ve still got many other recreation options for after work and days off. You could catch a film or a VFL football game, grab a great meal at one of the many renowned local restaurants, take a load off with a massage at a day spa or get your swill on at a winery taste testing.

Have a quick peek at some of the regional towns you could call home if you received a job offer from Youth Justice.


Population: 9,400+
Drive to work: 10 minutes
Primary schools: 2
Secondary schools: 2

Seen as something of a keystone town due to its close proximity to all of Victoria’s major cities, Kyneton stands alone as a destination for historic architecture, art and op shopping. The town is easy to navigate, with most of the action going down on Piper Street. This long strip is chock-full of antique dealers, grocers, cafes, galleries and more.

Crisp winter mornings in Kyneton are particularly wonderful; the combo of clear skies, country air and quality coffee brings many locals out to eat on the street. If you prefer to cook for yourself, monthly farmers’ markets will keep your fruit bowl full of local produce. 

Many country towns develop community through a calendar of events, and Kyneton is particularly strong on the festival front. Horse racing fans have the Kyneton Cup, green thumbs get the Daffodil & Arts Festival, hoarders have the Kyneton Antique Fair, and the Taste of Kyneton fest serves the epicureans. Local musos are never wanting for work, either, with performances all weekend and the annual Kyneton Music Festival drawing big names from Melbourne and beyond.

'All around the Malmsbury area, it’s a really laid back country environment. There are a lot of community groups and plenty of activities you can do up here.'
– Colin, Youth Justice Worker, Malmsbury


Population: 600+
Drive to work: Two minutes
Primary schools: 1
Secondary schools: 0

A tiny town with a warm heart and hot pies. Long renowned for its bakery, Malmsbury has become a must-stop for day trippers wanting to stretch their legs amidst lovely scenery. The Malmsbury Botanic Gardens is a great place to thumb through a book; while architecture and history buffs fawn over the Malmsbury Viaduct, a unique bridge that was built back in 1860.

Malmsbury might be your pick if you love the quietude of farm life but need the bare essentials and work to be a short walk away.


Population: 10,000+
Drive to work: 25 minutes
Primary schools: 5
Secondary schools: 1

Castlemaine is a favourite of history lovers, art lovers, food lovers and lovers of life in general. The town has experienced impressive population growth lately, welcoming many new residents from Melbourne’s northern suburbs. They’ve brought their artistic talents and demands for a decent brunch along with them too, and now locals can take in great music and food year round.

Despite the influx of tree-changers, Castlemaine has retained its country soul. And while the region’s farmers still sip on the amber nectar at traditional pubs, they can now also catch up for a chat at the Castlemaine Brewing Company's Tap Room or the monthly craft and produce market.

Many parts of the town feel like they haven’t changed since the 19th century, with period homes abounding to forge a beautiful streetscape. Although Tasmania stakes the claim for hosting the oldest continually operating theatre in Australia, Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal holds that status down for the mainland. You can catch a new release film here any night of the week, and many renowned musicians on national tours stop by to play shows too.

For folks looking to raise happy families in town, there are many primary school options to choose from as well as a respected dual-campus secondary school.


Population: 8,700+
Drive to work: 25 minutes
Primary schools: 2
Secondary schools: 1

The word on Daylesford has been out for a while. Long a favourite of Melbourne road trippers for its natural springs, majestic lake and stunning gardens, the town has evolved into part artist utopia/part weekend retreat for the overemployed and under-pampered. Galleries, markets and music venues compete for real estate with day spas and wine bars, and it’s the locals who win out because they’ve always got something new to do.

Although it's a tourism hotspot, if you call Daylesford home you’ll become part of a close-knit community that welcomes all sorts. There are myriad housing options too: you could get cosy in a quaint cottage, shack up in a flat, or secure a block of land and build your dream home.

When you want to wind down, rejuvenation is never far away. The Daylesford and Hepburn Springs region accounts for the majority of Australia’s mineral water supply. Originally touted as a mystical panacea, the springs have remained a popular public bathing destination even after people realised that they may not be the cure for all that ails you.


Population: 100,000+
Drive to work: 50 minutes
Primary schools: 2
Secondary schools: 3
University campuses: 2

If you want a change of pace but still need a slice of the city life, then Bendigo is the happy medium you’re after.

Boasting breathtaking architecture preserved from the town’s gold rush heyday, walking through Bendigo feels like you’ve stepped onto a historical film set.

Living here, you’ll become part of a growing city with a palpable energy, and have easy access to just about any service and recreational activity you can expect to find in Melbourne. You won’t have to travel far if you want to upskill, as the city hosts a health-focussed outpost of Monash University and a fully-fledged La Trobe University campus with more than 5,000 students.

If you pick up a plot in the city’s southern suburbs, like Spring Gully, you’ll be able to get to work in less than 40 minutes by car.


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