Bendigo has taken upcycling to whole new heights, finding contemporary uses for heritage spaces that are characterising this historic city as totally modern. Today, many of Bendigo’s old banks, theatres, hotels and public buildings have been repurposed as restaurants and bars, retail spaces, galleries and Bendigo Visitor Centre.
Tour some of the best, such as the former Post Office and the Sandhurst Goal – now incorporating the Ulumbarra Theatre, this 1860s-era prison once kept notorious Melbourne underworld figure Mark ‘Chopper’ Read.
Many of the city’s top restaurants and cafes are housed in buildings created for entirely different purposes. The Good Loaf sourdough bakery is in the circular heritage-listed former Beaurepaires tyre outlet. The Woodhouse restaurant was once a butchery; Masons of Bendigo was a glass factory and Rocks on Rosalind and the Wine Bank were both goldfields-era banks. Legend has it the bullet hole at Rocks dates back to the old gold days. Ask the bar staff for the full story!
Much-loved cafes Percy and Percy and the Spring Gully General Store were both corner shops. They’re fostering food culture and community meeting places on the city’s fringe. Stop by for great coffee, modern menus, and to meet the locals. Many Bendigo festivals also make great use of repurposed heritage spaces. Heritage Uncorked combines architecture and wine, Bendigo on the Hop is a roving tour of craft beer establishments and the Bendigo Writers Festival takes over View Street venues – such as the quirky Engine Room, once the original Bendigo Fire Station.
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