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"Vienna Of The South" (Bendigo), Vic

Bendigo Post Office

Shamrock Hotel

Fortuna Villa

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Bendigo Town Hall

Bendigo Law Courts

As a legacy of the gold boom, the former Victorian gold mining town of Bendigo has many magnificent ornate buildings built in a late Victorian colonial style, contributing to a picturesque "French" cityscape. Many buildings are on the Victorian Heritage Register and registered by the National Trust of Australia. Prominent buildings include the Bendigo Town Hall (1859, 1883-85), Post Office, Law Courts (1892-96), Shamrock Hotel (1897), Institute of Technology and Memorial Military Museum (1921) all in the Second Empire-style.

Architect WC Vahland encouraged European artisans to emigrate to the Sandhurst goldfields and so create a "Vienna of the south". Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral, a large sandstone church, is the third largest cathedral in Australia and one of the largest cathedrals in the Southern Hemisphere. The main building was completed between 1896-1908 and the soaring spire between 1954 and 1977.
Fortuna Villa is a large surviving Victorian mansion, built for Christopher Ballerstedt and later owned by George Lansell. Many other examples of Bendigo's classical architecture rank amongst the finest classical commercial buildings in Australia and include the Colonial Bank building (1887) and the former Masonic Hall (1873-74) which is now a performing arts centre.

Shamrock Hotel: One of most identifiable buildings in Bendigo, The Shamrock Hotel at 85 Pall Mall is a highly decorated hotel in High Victorian Second Empire architectural style. It is among the finest Boom style hotels in Victoria. It features an elaborate facade, mansard roofs, decorative rendered street facades which are encircled by a two storey verandah and a distinctive corner tower which all epitomise the Boom period architecture which is so prolific in Bendigo.
The present Shamrock Hotel is the third on the site. First was erected in 1854 and included local Cobb and Co. offices and a concert hall. The second was larger in size and built in 1864. The present building dates from 1897 and was erected by contractors Baxter and Boyne. The four storey brick structure has an elaborate mansard roof and decorative rendered street facade which are encircled by a two storey verandah.

Sacred Heart Cathedral: Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral is the principal Catholic church in the city of Bendigo and the Diocese of Sandhurst. In 1895, competitive designs for a cathedral were called for from several architects. A Gothic design submitted by the Melbourne firm Reed, Smart and Tappin was the one selected. This Gothic Revival church was built in two stages. The first, comprising the nave and side aisles, was commenced in June 1897 and opened in September 1901. The second stage, commenced in 1954, was finally completed in 1977.
The original design included a stone masonry spire. For several reasons, it was necessary to modify this and a steel frame fitted with concrete panels with a veneer finish to match the Mt. Gambier limestone was used. The Cathedral was closed for about eighteen months in 1972/73 to enable integration of the old and new sections.
The foundations consist of granite from Harcourt, near Bendigo. The walls are constructed of sandstone from Barrabool and Ceres in the Geelong region. Dressings and carvings are of limestone from Waurn Ponds in the original section, and from Mt. Gambier in the new section. The floor is Calcutta Vagli Extra marble from Italy. The nave has a hammer beam roof. Oregon and Kauri panelling is used in the nave ceiling and most of the others, with mouldings of yellow and sugar pine and panels of King William pine. A stained glass window made by John Hardman & Co. of Birmingham occupies a large part of the western end of the building.

Bendigo Town Hall: this Second Empire building in Hargreaves Street, is one of the oldest public buildings in Bendigo, dating from 1859. It was extensively altered and added to in 1883-85 to a design by WC Vahland. It features superbly conceived facades with deep, broken pediments, towers and side portico which, along with its main hall with ornate ceilings, all date from this time.

Bendigo Law Courts: erected in 1892-96, this imposing two storey Second Empire building in Pall Mall was designed by GW Watson of the Public Works Department. It features a covered slate mansard roof, and elaborately rendered facades articulated by superimposed piers on the ground floor and Corinthian pilasters on the ground floor. The interior features a grand staircase and some of the finest detailed court rooms in Victoria.

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