The Old Castlemaine Woollen Mill reborn as food precinct

Lavish: Inside Das Kaffeehaus cafe.
Lavish: Inside Das Kaffeehaus cafe. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer

The 100-year-old chimney at Castlemaine's former Woollen Mills is working again, but today it's puffing out gentle plumes from roasting coffee.

The coffee roasting and its public face, a lavish Viennese-style cafe, Das Kaffeehaus​ (which is the new site of long-standing local business Coffee Basics by Edmund Schaerf and Elna Schaerf-Trauner, pictured), are part of a 2.6-hectare site, opposite the Botanic Gardens, that is currently being remade as a tourism hub.

Local GP and obstetrician Ronnie Moule and farmer Phil McConachy bought the site in May 2014. "As a farmer, I don't like monoculture," says McConachy. "It's the same for the site," recently green-lighted by council, to incorporate a food precinct, vintage-wares and antique market (due to open by November), as well as individual tenants, such as Castlemaine Circus, Earth Garden magazine and furniture makers.

Edmund Schaerf and Elna Schaerf-Trauner have opened a cafe in the development.
Edmund Schaerf and Elna Schaerf-Trauner have opened a cafe in the development. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer

Joining Das Kaffeehaus in the food precinct in the next month or so will be Sprout bakery, a biscuit-maker and Ice Cream Social, as well as Castlemaine Brewery and Boomtown wine collective. Plans include a large glassed-in area so visitors can view production, a tap room and cellar door, and provision for incidental sales.

Another six spaces are still being negotiated.

The Old Castlemaine Woollen Mills and Das Kaffeehaus are at 9 Walker Street, Castlemaine.