Castlemaine is just 120km north west of Melbourne and 110 km from the Melbourne International Airport. Castlemaine is a sophisticated central Victorian community nestled between Bendigo and Ballarat. Home to the richest shallow alluvial goldfield the world has ever seen and now renowned for the arts, Castlemaine today is a relaxed 21st century city in a stately 19th century setting.

The Festival is held in autumn, a particularly beautiful season in the region, and has become synonymous with the intimacy, relaxed sophistication, vitality, and open creative spirit which so quintessentially defines the town and the Goldfields region. Broad avenues and mature European gardens fit hand in glove with the primarily Victorian and Edwardian architecture, a haven for artists, tourists and locals. This richness and diversity is evidenced by the variety of private studios and galleries that display locally produced art works. Around 400 practising artists have made the region their home.

History of the Festival

Castlemaine State Festival began in 1976 through the vision of Berek Segan AM OBE. It has grown to become Australia’s flagship regional arts festival. The Festival preceded any other Victorian arts festivals and has been unique in its scope and diversity, and in its impact on the social and cultural fabric of the Mount Alexander Shire and environs. The Festival program has encompassed visual arts, music, theatre, opera, and dance and has been a major contributor in connecting people and developing enterprise within the regional community.

Many organisations in the community have participated; schools, sporting groups, the local aged care facility, manufacturing and agricultural workers, street rod enthusiasts, musicians, designers, gardeners, heritage specialists, and the myriad of visual artists and artisans who live and work in the district. Each has brought their interests to the Festival, treading pathways to connection, reflection and innovation.

Festival Director

In March 2008 Castlemaine State Festival board chairman Gary McClure announced the appointment of Mr Martin Paten as the Festival Director for the next two festivals.

Martin comes to the Castlemaine State Festival with 13 years’ experience directing and managing public festivals in central and suburban Melbourne. Martin has directed the Moonee Valley Festival, overseen the strategic direction of Melbourne Moomba Festival and managed funding relationships with many of Melbourne’s major international festivals including Melbourne’s Arts, Fringe, Comedy, Film, Jazz, Midsumma and Next Wave Festivals.

Martin left the City of Melbourne in December 2007 after a 10 year career managing, most recently, a team delivering Melbourne’s Public Art and Laneway Commissions, Melbourne Conversations, City Music and Art and Heritage Collection.

Commenting on his appointment Mr Paten said ‘I see Castlemaine as the creative centre of regional Victoria and its Festival is a great platform to celebrate this quality. Over the last 10 years I have seen friends, artists and creative people migrating to this area and their impact on the region is very evident. There are so many great resources to draw on for next year’s Castlemaine State Festival and I am excited about the coming year.’

Company Details

Castlemaine State Festival Ltd
ACN 005 488 684
ABN 68 005 488 684


Castlemaine State Festival is managed by a highly qualified and experienced Board of Directors.

Gary McClure – Chair
Linda Sproul- Deputy Chair
Mez Woodward – Secretary
Lucy Roffey – Treasurer
Michelle Coillet
Claudette Earl
Oliver Halliwell
Lyndal McClure
Julie Millowick
Margriet Thyssen
Jacinta Walsh
Simon Westcott

Staff and Office Volunteers

Festival Director – Martin Paten
Marketing and Development Manager – Michelle Coillet
Operations and Program Manager – Krista Horbatiuk
Visual Arts Coordinator – Kareen Anchen
Patrons & Donors Coordinator – Val Victor-Gordon
Administration – Mary Harris, Anne Reid and Sue Devereaux
Graphic Design – Meg Norris Design
Website Design – Green Graphics