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Bendigo - The Arts and Culture Capital of Central Victoria

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Ever since European artists flocked to the goldfields to paint the miners at work, and singers and performers filled the music halls to entertain them, Bendigo has been strong on arts and culture. Today, the region is a magnet for artists of all stripes, attracted by its rich history and alternative lifestyle. A strong collective spirit also drives a full calendar of community arts projects.

Art galleries in Bendigo

 

The new direction taken by the Bendigo Art Gallery has been a principal driver in the city’s resurgence in tourism, and no trip to Bendigo would be complete without paying it a visit. The gallery anchors the town’s “Arts Precinct,” where a handful of civic buildings have been turned over to artistic use, and privately run galleries and craft shops are clustered.

 

Bendigo Art Gallery

 

This dynamic gallery has an impressive permanent collection of 19th-century Australian painting focusing on the region’s landscape and history. This is complemented by crowd-pleasing shows on loan from international art institutions and covering all forms of creativity, from fashion to ink drawing.

 

42 View St., Bendigo VIC 3550Tel: +61 3 5434 6088

 

Bendigo Art Gallery website

 

La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre

 

This striking arts space aims to be a catalyst for thought-provoking debate on art and culture through lectures, exhibitions, and artist-in-residence programs. Two galleries, a sculpture garden, and conference hall make up the venue.

 

121 View St., Bendigo VIC 3550. Tel: + 61 3 5444 2177

 

La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre website

Chinese culture in Bendigo

 

Early Chinese prospectors called Bendigo “Dai Gum San,” or “Big Gold Mountain.” This name has been lent to an exciting new development along the Bendigo Creek - the place where gold was first discovered - that celebrates Bendigo’s Chinese heritage. In Eaglehawk, the awe-inspiring Great Stupa of Universal Compassion will be the largest Buddhist place of worship in the Western world.

 

Dai Gum San

 

A museum featuring Chinese textiles and coins is complemented by tranquil gardens and a temple. The “Joss House” - the original place of worship for Bendigo’s early Chinese community - is a short walk away.

 

1-11 Bridge St., Bendigo VIC 3552. Tel: +61 3 5441 5044

 

Dai Gum San website

 

Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

 

To the north of town near Eaglehawk, the monumental Great Stupa is open for visits and retreats. An onsite museum explains the ambitious construction project and holds a large collection of Buddhist artifacts.

 

25 Sandhurst Town Rd., Myers Flat VIC 3556. Tel: +61 3 5446 7568

 

Great Stupa of Universal Compassion website

 

Arts around Bendigo

 

Bendigo’s artistic spirit extends into the surrounding region. No matter how small the town or village, you will find a gallery or crafts centre worth popping into as you tour the area. Some local artists open their studios to the public, and a lively calendar of art fairs and markets keeps the creative energy flowing.

 

Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum

 

Castlemaine has a strong penchant for the arts, and many are showcased in this beautiful venue. Local artists display work alongside landscape painting from the late 1800s. Afterwards, take a stroll around town to view smaller galleries and studios.

 

14 Lyttleton St., Castlemaine, VIC 3450. Tel: + 61 3 5472 2292

 

Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum website

 

Bendigo Pottery Complex

 

Bendigo has a long tradition of producing quality ceramics, and many have been made at this pottery - Australia’s oldest. You can view the range of “Made in Bendigo” wares, try your hand at a potter's wheel, and visit artists’ workshops.

 

146 Midland Highway, Epsom VIC 3551 . Tel: +61 3 5448 4404

 

Bendigo Pottery Complex website