"Golden past, golden future" Top 5 Page for this destination Bendigo by iandsmith
Bendigo Travel Guide: 106 reviews and 238 photos
One of a score of towns in the area that arose as a result of the great gold boom in the mid 19th century, Bendigo has survived and prospered, unlike other places that withered when the yellow metal became scarce.
Its heritage has been wonderfully preserved and strong ties to England apparent in the types of architecture and names of streets are retained.
The strongest tie of all though, is to the Chinese who also flocked to the fields, a fact sometimes resented by the caucasians. The splendid cultural museum houses the reputedly longest dragon in the world.
This town is very much worthy of a stopover.
Rich alluvial gold was first discovered in Bendigo in 1851, but once it was exhausted the digging began and shafts were sunk into a gold-bearing quartz reef. Bendigo became the greatest goldfield of the time with the world's deepest mine, continuing until 1954, long after the rest of central Victoria's goldfields were exhausted. It's a city that has developed and retained its prosperity: the nationwide department store Myer began here (since taken over by a conglomerate and now called Coles Myer), as did Australia's first building society in 1858. The latter fact is interesting inasmuch as in the late 20th century people were becoming disillusioned with the poor service from banks and the closure of rural branches so an indedpendent bank arose with the name, you guessed it, Bendigo Bank.
Although in many ways more magnificent than Ballarat, Bendigo has never flaunted itself, never having turned itself into a purely tourist town. Its most visited sights are legacies of the mining days - the Chinese Joss House and the Central Deborah Mine .
At the heart of Bendigo is the vast Rosalind Park , and three important religious buildings constructed through money from gold-digging - All Saints Church, St Pauls Cathedral and Sacred Heart Cathedral . Local Catholics imported stonemasons from Italy and England, and their craftsmanship can be seen in the design and details of Sacred Heart, begun in 1897 in English Gothic style. The interior has beautiful woodcarvings of the Twelve Apostles, and the crypt is the burial place of local bishops. Wanting to give Bendigo a sophisticated air reminiscent of London, the newly prosperous citizens called its central crossroads Charing Cross . Pall Mall runs off to the east, while View Street, with its many fine old buildings, climbs north off Pall Mall. Mitchell Street leads south to the train station and High Street (the Calder Highway) is the main exit west out of the city. The other important street is Hargreaves, parallel to Pall Mall one block south, with its impressive town hall and a bland, but purposeful, shopping mall.
- Pros:Heritage, civic pride, splendid gardens
- In a nutshell:Allow more than a day, there's a lot worthy of your time
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