DAY 6: 28 December – The Way Home.2.
Bendigo was and still is one of Victoria’s main country towns, and one the four major inland towns in Australia. Roughly in the centre of Victoria it lies approximately 150 kilometres north of Melbourne. . Initially it was a sheep station, but with the discovery of gold in the 1850s people flocked to Bendigo. Along with nearby Ballarat the town grew to considerable prosperity during the 1850s Gold Rush, and indeed was one of the central goldfields. Since the 1850s over 2 million ounces of gold have been mined from the Bendigo gold fields. The prosperity of the Gold Rush period is reflected in the numerous impressive beautifully preserved large old ‘British Empire’ buildings that stand out and characterize the town centre.
One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Bendigo Art Gallery. This gallery had developed a considerable reputation as being one of the best in Australia. I was also aware that it had held numerous costumes and fashion exhibitions, often associated with Hollywood and the Performing Arts in general.
Happy to state that we were not disappointed – the Art Gallery of Bendigo is fantastic and well worth a visit. The permanent collection is terrific, with a considerable number of female artists represented. Furthermore, there was some works by more well-known Australian artists, such as Brett Whitely and Arthur Boyd, which I had never seen before.
We were also fortunate in that it’s latest exhibition, INK REMIX, which was a collection of new work from modern artists from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, featured a couple of works of one of my favourite modern Chinese artists, Yang Longliang. Highly recommended.
After the Art Gallery we wandered down through the nearby park to the main road to the Bendigo Post Office Art Gallery, which is virtually opposite the old Shamrock Hotel, one of the most famous (or infamous hotels) in Australia. The Post Office Gallery had an exhibition of theatre and film in Bendigo. One item was about Dame Nellie Melba who performed twice in Bendigo. She stayed at the Shamrock Hotel, and requested that the Post Office clock’s chimes be shut down whilst she was staying at the Shamrock Hotel as they kept her awake – her request was granted.
There were many other things to see in Bendigo, but we simply did not have the time. After a lovely lunch in the town park we commenced our final part of the journey back to Adelaide.
We took the route that drove us past The Grampians, a mountain range full of aboriginal history and quite mysterious. I have always wanted to go there – but not this time. I had to settle for the sight of the ‘Giant Koala’ that was nestled at the northern base of The Grampians. Haha.
The Grampians, however, will feature in the next chapter in Tony’s Tours: Dan Koh Does Adelaide. Stay tuned.