Central Vic. (Part One)


Well-Known Member
A bit of everything, (no 4x4 stuff though) but there is a croc in the final report!!!

Mid winter last year Jen was asked to visit Latrobe Universities Bendigo Campus with a few high faluten type people (the Uni’s vice chancellor etc) as part of a goodwill gesture from the Universities Melbourne (Head) Latrobe Campus.

As it was on a Friday we had arranged for me to meet up with her there at the conclusion of her official duties. We would stay overnight, do some touristy type stuff on the Saturday and then return home later that day.

I arrived shortly before 3 to meet Jen at around 3.30 so to kill some time I headed to the St Killans Catholic Church, supposedly one of the largest timber churches in the world. It certainly was an impressive building and one that being a chippie, (carpenter) I could certainly appreciate, due to the workmanship that had gone into creating what we see today.

Built to replace a stone church which after 30 years of use had started to crumble and was deemed unsafe and so condemned, not often a stone building is replaced by a timber one. The one we see now was supposed to be a temporary one, 130 years on and it’s still doing the job.

But it was the inside that was more impressive to me.

The organ you see was built in Germany in 1871, installed in the old (stone) church in 1872 it was transferred to the temporary timber one only months before its opening in 1888. Built by August Randebrock it is the only large nineteenth century German organ in Australia.

Some pics of the stained glass windows that adorned the sides of the church.

I still had 10 minutes before I was to meet up with Jen so decided to check out a Chinese structure that I saw across the road.

Well “Wow Wee” did I stumble onto something special. The above pic was at the entrance to the Yi Yuan Gardens and Guan Temple, part of the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum complex.

Early last year Jen and I did a trip to China, well we could have saved ourselves quite a bit of money and time if we had of come here instead Ha!

This is just some of what I saw, I could do a full report on what was there it was that good.

With the gold rush of the 1850s many thousands of Chinese arrived in Bendigo. Within ten years the Chinese miners and merchants made up 20% of the Bendigo population. In the 1870s an impressive imperial dragon known as Loong was sent from China. It is now the oldest Chinese dragon in the world and is housed in the Golden Dragon Museum along with Sun Loong which is the world’s largest Dragon.

With Jen now on board after finalising her commitments I immediately returned to the church and the Chinese Gardens to share with her what I had just seen.

As Saturdays weather forecast included rain, hail, possible thunderstorms and snow down to 600 metres, we set about seeing as much as we could in the hour and a half of day light left. I’ll include some night pics of the same buildings that we saw, when we revisited them that evening.

The first pic here is the oldest public building in Bendigo, the former Lands and Survey building known as Dudley House which was built in 1858, and next to that is the old Fire station (1898)

Right next to the Fire Station is the former Masonic Hall (1873) now Bendigo’s performing arts centre. (A pretty impressive facade if you ask me).



Well-Known Member
And then to the right of that is the Bendigo Art Gallery, formerly known as the Volunteer Orderly Rooms (1867) it was remodelled in 1890 to become an Art Gallery. It is the largest regional gallery (and one of the oldest) in Australia.

A street scape, as we walked further along View st (all the buildings that I have shown you were in View st)

In the mid 1860s the Bendigo Total Abstinence Society lobbied the then Government for funds to build this Temperance Hall, to help curb the hard drinking habits of the gold miners! (good luck with that being successful)

A few hundred metres from there was the Soldiers Memorial Hall, constructed shortly after the end of World War One.

Next to that is the old Post Office built in 1883, it is now the visitor centre (It would have to be one of Australia’s swishest info centres we reckon) The clock in the tower has a unique chime, a sequence heard on the hour still to this day. Apparently it has only been silenced once in all those years, believed to be at the request of Dame Nellie Melba who was trying to sleep in the hotel across the road!!!!

From there we walked up through Rosalind Park back towards our accommodation, (so we could relax a bit before we went out for tea!) On the way we passed this impressive building, what it was we had no idea.

Later on we found out that it is the Camp Hill Primary School (yes a primary school!!) Built in 1877 it was originally called the Camp Hill Central School. The schools tower was used as a fire lookout in the old days, quite impressive for something built over 140 years ago.

At the top of the nearby hill (which the school was built near the top of) is what is now called the Poppet Head Lookout.

Now there was so much I could show you from what is around the base of it, but I have to draw the line somewhere but a little bit of info on the poppet itself. It came from the Garden Gully United Gold Mine which closed down in 1930, it was erected here in 1931 as sort of a memorial to Gold which this area was and still is famous for. In that mines life it extracted over 444 thousand ounces of gold which in todays monetary terms was worth more than $719 million.

As time was getting on we then headed the short distance to our motel. I could see that the sky had some potential to colour up a bit so after 5 minutes or so at our motel, the possibility of an impressive sunset from the poppet on that hill had me heading back there. Jen just shook her head and said she would pass as the last 2 hours had been pretty full on since I had arrived!!!

As the colour slowly dissipated I took this pic from the top looking into the distance towards a number of church spires that Bendigo is famous for.

We again strolled into the heart of town, taking those night pics along the way that I have already shown you. After tea we drove to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, it is one of Australia’s largest churches and is only topped in height by Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Reasonably impressive we thought!!!!! we would return in the morning hoping to take a squiz inside.

One more report from the weekend to come.




Active Member
Haven't been exploring Bendigo for 25 years or so.... looks like it has heaps more to offer than I remember

Like PP, I too, will have to visit again, thanks to this inspiring report & wonderful photos... thanks for sharing Col