The Miner's Pride | Meet The Makers
1 Bedroom | 1 Bathroom
The Origins Guide Meets the Maker Kate Gamble, owner and host of The Miner’s Pride. Kate’s been hosting guests at her Maldon property Shopkeeper’s for several years and recently she’s undertaken the restoration of a charming 1870s miner’s cottage in Castlemaine.
The Miner’s Pride is a one bedroom, charming, experiential stay. The cottage takes guests back to a simpler time. It has been lovingly restored to maintain the charm of its time, and styled to compliment the history and story of the home. Located in Castlemaine it’s a great base for exploration of the excellent selection of restaurants, boutiques, galleries and cafes. We chat to Kate to discuss the inspiration and story behind the home.
Tell me a little about yourself
Where to start? I’m originally from Mickleham and I grew up on the family’s 2000 acre merino sheep farm. I eventually moved to the city and pursued a number of interests over the years, having worked in natural therapies, completed an arts degree (specialising in film and cultural studies) and studied landscape architecture, then pursuing a career in academia.
Quite an interesting background – what brought you back to regional Victoria?
A few years back I came across a wonderful cottage in Maldon – The Shopkeeper’s Quarters. I initially set out to renovate the cottage for the purposes of short-term accommodation. Though juggling a career in academia and the home created a bit of a squeeze and made me realise that it made more sense to be living in the community. I’m currently president of the Maldon business association and enjoy being more actively involved in the community whilst teaching part-time at the University of Melbourne’s School of Design.
Tell us, how did you discover Miner’s Pride?
We were looking for a second hosted home and came across this little treasure. You find that the grand country homes get rescued, but quite often these wonderful little gems get neglected and fall into disrepair.
And what state was the home in?
I can say it was in a pretty sad state. It definitely required a little love and attention to get it back into its former, charming self.
What’s the story behind the name, Miner’s Pride?
It encapsulates the history behind the home and its evolution. Originally the area was crown land, used for gold mining by speculators. The home dates back to the 1870s and was a real rustic abode – brick fireplace, timber frame and earth floors, covered in and made into a home by a canvas, tent-like structure.
As the ‘miner’ became a little more established he did what he could to bring the little cottage up to standard – with enough money he bricked in the timber frame, tuckpointing the masonry and installing simple flooring. He wasn’t one of the minutiae of life but did what he could. Eventually she became his little cottage and his pride and joy.
What’s the inspiration behind the design?
We wanted to maintain as many of the original features as possible – to do as little as possible but as much as necessary. I can say it was a lot more work than first appreciated. We really didn’t want things to be too shiny and new, and we preferenced recycled materials and items with legacy. For example, we’ve maintained the second-hand roofing iron to respect the heritage and appearance. It’s rustic but ultimately authentic, comfortable and charming.
For me, it’s important that the Miner’s Pride remain an historic part of the community. We have a lovely gentleman in his seventies that walks past the house everyday – and he’s been doing so since his school days. To keep the integrity, look and feel of the home intact means something to me (and hopefully to the elderly gentleman on his daily stroll).
What do you enjoy about hosting?
I wanted to create an experience stay, a home (or homes) that are worlds away from the everyday. We’ve taken great pride in selecting antiques, family heirlooms and little vintage finds to curate a space that we love. It’s important to also get the small things right – a comfortable bed and great linens are imperative.
Though I do think hosting is also about engaging the community. I love that the home can help showcase regional products and artistry. We display local works that I absolutely treasure, and I hope guests appreciate to. Having the opportunity to host guests that in turn support the community means a lot to me.
Talking about the community – what are a few of your favourite spots to check out in Castlemaine?
Oh there’s so many! However four places that I love are:
Theatre Royal – great for live gigs, the pizzas are fantastic, and I quite like the negronis! The Mill – an amazing creative space with a number of venues to check out. From wine, to farm produce to great coffee it’s well worth a visit. Wild Food and Wine is a great place to enjoy a meal – the food is delicious! For shopping I highly recommend checking out Tribe Castlemaine. They have a wonderful selection of handmade gifts and crafts.
As I said from the start, hosting is about the collective and community, more than just the home and I enjoy celebrating and showcasing this.