Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Weekend in Bendigo

Before you start reading, I have to say I lost a heap of great photos today when I tranferred them to the laptop - all gone somewhere - that's I stole some from the internet, sorry.

Our first full day in Bendigo started out with breakfast in the CBD. When travelling we never have breakfast where we stay. Why have a motel/hotel breakfast when you can enjoy absorbing the local atmosphere - the hustle and bustle of people doing what they do at that time of day. We needed to have breakfast before going to the World Premiere of  "The White Wedding Dress: 200 years of wedding fashions". Now I wasn't real anxious to beat the crowd to the exhibition but I quite enjoyed it. I wasn't impressed that you couldn't take photos. We've been to Musee d'Orsay, the Louve and several other museums and used the camera without flash, but not in Bendigo but you could by the $75.00 book instead.

Coz they wouldn't let me take photos, I took this from the catalogue.

Then I took some pics of the shop windows opposite - they all had wedding themes.

Back in the car, we  drove out to the Chinese Joss House to the south of Bendigo. During the Gold Fever days of the 1850s, Bendigo, like Beechworth had quite a population of Chinese. We learnt some fascinating background of their religious beliefs from our lovely lady tour guide. As there was just the two of us, we were able to get ask questions rather than being listeners of a large group.

After our tour of the Chinese Joss House we decided to have lunch out at Eaglehawk, only several kms out of Bendigo proper. Eaglehawk was the scene of Banjo Paterson's famous poem, "Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk". I had a friend who would recite the poem complete, but only with the assistance of alcoholic lubrication.

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"
"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.
'Twas Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; It's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."

A.B. (Banjo) Paterson

An old post card of the main street of Eaglehawk - at the very end is the old town hall built in 1901 which is now the Star Theatre. Trams no longer run down the main street.

This is a current photo of the Star Theatre as it is today.

Beside the Star theatre or the OLD Town Hall is the OLD Post Office, now a B&B and for sale at AUS$650,00.

Some further driving the streets of Bendigo and some shopping saw us back at the motel for a short kip before booking a table at an Italian Restaurant this time. Bendigo has a wide range of eating houses to choose from and I have to say offers as many choices as Melbourne in a more concentrated area.

A photo I took on my mobile phone after leaving the Italian restaurant.

Post card of one of the many poppet heads in Bendigo in the Gold Mining Boom.

The Shamrock Hotel was run by Diamond Lil. I once stayed there in the 70s. It was a bit rough back then but today its been restored and heritage listed.

The fountain in the centre of Bendigo is a feature that we passed many times over the last couple of days.
Tomorrow we leave for home but not before go to the Bendigo market and then to Castlemaine - more Sunday.


  1. I have to admit I always copy my photos from the camera to the computer first. I only delete them from the camera once I am sure I have them. Bit late to make this suggestion to you now though!! Never the less great post. Have a good Sunday Diane

  2. It looks like a nice little town. Glad to hear that you've had a good weekend and more importantly, the food was up to expectations!

  3. Adice take Diane.
    Food and the weekend were a great experience Craig

  4. Craig - Bendigo now has a population of 100,000 and its outining reaches have some fantastic history such as Eaglehawk, Maiden Gully, California Gully and Iron Bark.

  5. As I read this post - my mind wandered back to two different eras - a young grasshopper at the Preston Bike Track and recently again, listening to Buck's rendition at Pa's 90th birthday, thanks Dad! Good memories.


Love to get feedback so no reason to be shy - have your say.