Botanical Gardens at Epsom
Was just driving past Bendigo on the highway at nearby Epsom (as I have done many times) and happened to spot an unusual Arch of Triumph that I'd never noticed before...stopped to get a photo, and discovered that behind the gates is a botanical garden and self guided, unattended wildlife park (all animals firmly locked away). A really nice spot, and it's all free! There's a large aviary, several cage areas with kangaroos, peacocks just wandering around free, picnic areas, a playground, etc.
The street beside the Arch is even called Napoleon!
Open 7.30 am - 4 pm Weekdays, and 7.30 am - 5 pm Weekends.
You'll find the park on the Highway at Epsom, about 2 kms before you reach the Bendigo Pottery
The Law Courts
Dating from the late 19th century with its two-storey, elaborate facade and decorative roof, the law courts reflect the wealth and optimism of the post gold-rush era. Both the old post office (1883-87) and the law courts (1892-96) were designed by the same architect, G.W. Watson, of the Public Works Department and bear a certain similarity to one another. Where the post office has a tall clock tower with a carillon, the interior of the law courts displays a superb staircase and court room and is considered to be among the finest buildings, certainly of that era, in Victoria
Just outside the domed RSL Memorial Hall, look closely at the soil beneath your feet, you are standing on the site of the Hustlers Royal Reserve No. 2 Mine, situated in the very heart of the city, it yielded 5521 ozs of gold. On an angle, the 25km deep shaft is directly under this building.
Water from the shaftll, flows into the Bendigo Creek at the rear of the hall. There's a sign before the bridge over the creek that says, "The odour that visitors may note coming from the Bendigo Creek is entirely due to mining activities."
Didn't smell anything when I was there. Creek was dried up due to the drough.
Location 750 feet (228 mt) above sea level.
Population : 92 000
The city of Bendigo, in Central Victoria's Goldfields region, approximately 2 hours drive north West of Melbourne, has many architectural style resemblances to our other highly famous Victorian city, Ballarat (1.5 hours distant in a south easterly direction)
Europeans first arrived in the Bendigo area as sheep graziers in the 1840s, but any real development began much later, in 1851, with the discovery of gold, the same year as the city of Ballarat and many other towns in the region were ‘born’ with a boom.
Alluvial (surface) gold was exhausted quite quickly, therefore from 1853 onwards the quartz reefs far below the surface were mined.
At the peak of the gold rush, there were 477 hotels, 3 stock exchanges and over 1000 mining companies operating, resulting in the city, for a time, becoming a challenger to Melbourne as the major city of the colony.
25 000 Chinese also flocked to the goldfields, and about 5,000 of them stayed on after the gold rush to build their lives there.
Bendigo was proclaimed a city in 1871.
By the 1880s, the Bendigo goldfields had recovered gold worth about $9 billion by today’s values, making Bendigo, at that time, the richest city in the world.
With such vast wealth, elaborate buildings were designed and built in the city, such as the partially French inspired Shamrock Hotel, which was rebuilt three times.
Bendigo retains some of the finest Victorian architecture in Australia, both in public and also private buildings. In the city centre today, the spire of Sacred Heart Cathedral still dominates the skyline.
Commercial gold mining (on quite a grand scale) still continues today, often at a depth of more than 1 km beneath the city.
Bendigo, like Ballarat, also has impressive Victorian architecture with delicate cast-iron lacework on Verandahs in the city.
Today, both Ballarat and Bendigo have similar populations - around 90,000 people.
Like Ballarat, Bendigo also had a very large Chinese population on the goldfields in the 1850's - 1880's, but there is much more remaining evidence of this here, including an intact, beautifully restored and preserved original Chinese joss house, dating back to the 1860s, and the Chinese Dragon Museum built especially to hold relics from the chinese heritage of the city, and especially Sun Loong, the longest Chinese Dragon in the world.
Make sure your first stop in Bendigo is a visit to the Tourist Information centre in the main street, or you won't realize just how much there is to see!
In the main street of the city . One of my favorite views of Bendigo.
(Also running down the main street there is still a tram service, the Talking Tram, with onboard commentary, which runs for several kilometres, whereas most other Australian cities - apart from Melbourne - have long since lost their trams)
Art Gallery in Bendigo, another of its grand old buildings