Last weekend, we took a little, Sunday drive to an historic town, not far from our place, called Bendigo. It was a chance to enjoy the drive, take a look at some spectacular architecture, enjoy lunch and the sunny say and bring home some great pottery (one of the things this town is famous for).Bendigo is well known as one of the major towns of the Victorian gold rush. Gold was found at Bendigo Creek in September 1851. News of the finds brought an influx of migrants to the city from around the world and transformed it from a sheep station into a major settlement. Once the alluvial gold had been mined out, mining companies were formed to exploit the rich underground quartz reef gold. Since 1851, about 25 million ounces of gold (777 tonnes) have been extracted from
Bendigo is a major regional
city in Victoria, approximately 150 kilometres
north west of Melbourne
and is the fourth largest inland city in . The discovery of gold in
the soils of Australia Bendigo during the 1850s made it
one of the most significant Victorian era boom towns in Australia. So join me now as I show you around this magnificent place and tell you a bit about its history as we go.
In mid-December 1851, the rush to Bendigo had begun and by April 1852, Bendigo Creek was regarded as a goldfield in its own right. By June 1852, it is estimated that there were 40,000 diggers on the field – a huge number considering that in February, pre-gold rush Melbourne had a total population of only 23,000.
After coffee, we wanted to make sure that we made it to Bendigo Pottery, located just outside the town in Epsom. I always enjoy visiting this place and looking at the pottery that is simple, yet very classical and useful. Bendigo Pottery is Australian owned and operated and isOn the site is a large factory which continues to make all the Bendigo Pottery product using a range of different production techniques including hand throwing, slip casting, jolleying and pressing. All product is now fired in natural gas fired kilns. Above is a sample of what the pottery looks like. This is my collection that I have gathered over the years.
oldest working pottery. Established in 1858, the pottery has operated continuously in Epsom since 1863.
Bendigo Pottery has the most significant collection of ceramic wood
fired kilns left in the world. There are
10 kilns in total, with 5 bottle kilns, 3 circular kilns and 2 rectangular
kilns. No longer used, the old kilns are now part of the
with one of the circular kilns having been converted into a theatrette. The
last firing of a wood fired kiln on the site was 1989. The kilns are all listed
on the Victorian Heritage Register. Interpretive Museum
We then headed back into town for a walk and to gaze at the amazing buildings and gardens. As a legacy of the gold boom,
Bendigo has many ornate buildings built in a
late Victorian colonial style. Many buildings are on the Victorian Heritage
Register and registered by the National Trust of Australia.
As soon as you arrive in Bendigo, you can't help but notice this beautiful fountain. It is eye catching and right in the middle of the main road in town. The Alexandra Fountain would have to be the most prominent monument in
The fountain was officially unveiled by
His Royal Highness Prince Albert Edward Victor of Wales on 5 July 1881. The fountain was made from 20 tonnes of highly
polished Harcourt granite and includes dolphins, unicorns and nymphs.
Bendigo has the stunning Rosalind Park, a Victorian-style garden that is quite large and covers a big area in the town centre. It is a great place to sit and relax. It features a large statue of QueenThere are many monuments in Bendigo that you can see as you walk through the town. The Bendigo War Memorial Obelisk, located outside the Bendigo Soldiers' Memorial Institute Memorial, commemorates conflicts after the First World War, including the Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam and Kuwait. The front inscription reads- "This monument has been erected by the citizens of
gardens are home to many native species of animal including brush tailed and
ring-tailed possums, ducks, coots, purple swamp hens, micro bats (small insect
eating bats) the grey-headed flying fox, several species of lizard, owls and
the tawny frog mouth.
Another important aspect of Bendigo's history and the gold rush, is that many thousands of Chinese people arrived inA traditional Chinese Joss House, built in Bendigo, is a reminder of its rich Chinese heritage. It was constructed of timber and hand-made bricks during the 1860s by the local Chinese, who were plentiful on the goldfields. The temple is one of the oldest surviving constructions of its kind in
Bendigo at this time. 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. He is
now the oldest Chinese dragon in the world and is the highlight of Australia’s
oldest event; the Bendigo Easter Festival. While most of the Chinese gold miners returned home when the
alluvial goldfields declined, a small population remained to form the Bendigo Chinese
community which has continued to influence the city.
The Joss House was constructed to worship the god Kwan Gung. Kwan Gung was a Chinese general (AD 221-26) and the miners worshipped him as a judge, guide and protector. The building was restored by the National Trust upon advice received from a Chinese historian and is the oldest Australian joss house still in use today.After enjoying lunch, it was time to head back home after a relaxing and enjoyable day. It had been great to take in the history of this regional centre and feast our eyes on the town's beauty. I was happy that I could add to my pottery collection too! With many stunning buildings and wonderful gardens and monuments all through the main city centre, it is a nice place to visit here in Victoria. You can almost feel the experiences and see the people behind all of the stories that this place can tell. I highly recommend Bendigo as a great day out to those that live here in Melbourne and for my other valued readers around the world, if you ever come down under to Oz, why not visit bountiful Bendigo :) xxx