History & Heritage
A magnificent gold rush put Bendigo on the map more than 150 years ago. Tents came first and then with the wealth from the gold came elaborately designed homes, public buildings and monuments that are...Read More
From 1851 a swarm of nationalities arrived on the Bendigo diggings, to take part in Australia’s largest ever gold rush. Within 20 years this cultural melting pot had turned a tent city into a grand gold town to rival any other, where a quest for grandeur gave architects free rein to flaunt their skill. The buildings impressed the masses, as they still do today. Discover Bendigo’s most loved and admired heritage buildings via self-guided walks or on a memorable tour behind the facades.
The Bendigo Town Hall tour is an insider’s look at one of architect William Charles Vahland’s finest works. When German artist Otto Waschartz finished painting the interior of Denmark’s royal palace, he was commissioned to decorate this hall with pale blue and gold-leaf mythical figures.
You can also tour the original Bendigo Post Office, now the Visitor Information Centre. There be dragons here. Lions too – look up from the street below to find them. The French Renaissance-style building was designed to be admired from every angle, up close and from afar. The clock in its tower chimes a sequence unique to Bendigo. It’s only been silenced once, at the request of Dame Nellie Melba trying to sleep in the Shamrock Hotel.
Find more European influences in Pall Mall and Charing Cross. Even beautiful Rosalind Park was named after one of Shakespeare’s characters in his play As you like it. And yes you will, very much so.
You can’t leave Bendigo without seeing the former 19th century Sandhurst Gaol. Today it’s the epitome of heritage space reimagined. In a feat of architectural adaptation, it boasts the 1000-seat Ulumbarra Theatre, hosting music, stories, dance, comedy and community celebrations worth applauding.
If you’re looking for a touch of bling, experience how the other half lived at Fortuna Villa. The mining-era mansion is the original home of Bendigo’s ‘quartz king’ George Lansell and is now open for high tea and tours. Come and see the Roman baths and mini Pompeii Fountain, set in botanic-garden-style grounds around the villa; one of Bendigo’s true gold rush treasures.
Events such as Bendigo Heritage Uncorked, Bendigo Heritage After Dark and Bendigo Heritage Unwrapped, showcase the stunning gold rush architecture of Bendigo.