Located 150 km northwest from Melbourne, Bendigo, with a population of around 60 000 is one of Victorias famous gold-mining towns. Made rich from gold, Bendigo buildings are vast and extravagant as a result of the gold success in the area.
A combined heritage walk and a ride on the Vintage Talking Tram is an excellent way to learn about Bendigos history.
The gold rush began in 1851 and in the 1870s a gold-rich quartz reef was discovered, which reignited the boom as the surface gold was running out.
Today Bendigo is a charming and elegant rural centre with an economy that is driven by a mixture of tourism, industry and servicing the surrounding agricultural district.
For a taste of gold mining, the Central Deborah Goldmine takes visitors 410 metres, 448 yards underground to the last deep reef mine in town. The mine was first established in 1909 when a shaft was sunk. However, work was soon abandoned and new operations did not commence until 1930, with the first dividends emerging in 1945. The mine was closed in 1954, after extracting one tonne of gold from 60,000 tonnes of ore. It reopened as a public display in 1972.
Joss House and Golden Dragon Museum
The Chinese population influenced a major part of Bendigos gold rush history. The Joss House, dating from the 1860s, is a restored Chinese temple, still used as a place of worship.
The Golden Dragon Museum also has displays that chart the history of the Chinese in Bendigo.
The Garden of Joy, a miniture version of the Chinese landscape - valleys, mountains, trees and streams is linked to the Golden Dragon Museum through a ceremonial archway.
Australias oldest working pottery, the Bendigo Art Gallery, houses a splendid collection of Australian paintings, including works depicting life on the gold fields.
Shops nearby can make you the proud owner of Australian, Bendigo Pottery.
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