Official opening of the Bendigo Soldiers' Memorial Institute and Military Museum
A revitalised and extended Bendigo Soldiers’ Memorial Institute and Military Museum will be officially opened today by Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke and Bendigo and District RSL President Peter Swandale.
The opening is exactly 97 years to the day from when the building was first proclaimed open by His Excellency Earl of Stradbroke, Governor of Victoria in 1921.
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the revitalisation of the Bendigo Soldiers’ Memorial Institute has been a $5.1M project that has included an extensive conservation of the heritage building and construction of a new two storey wing that incorporates an exhibition gallery built to meet international Passive House standards – the world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction.
“We are proud that the new extension is one of the first Government buildings in Australia to be constructed to Passive House standards,” Cr O’Rourke said.
“The Bendigo Soldiers’ Memorial is one of Bendigo’s most prominent and iconic heritage buildings and it has been a very important project to not only preserve the building for the future and provide a modern museum experience, but also to continue to honour the memories of those who died in war and those who survived.
“This important project has brought the building into the 21st century while also continuing to preserve its heritage and honour the memories of those who died in war through a modern museum experience.
“The building provides access for visitors of all ages and abilities, meets contemporary museum standards while providing a fitting presence from all directions especially from Rosalind Park.
“The revitalisation has secured the future of the Bendigo Soldiers’ Memorial Institute for many years to come and I look forward to it taking its place as a must see local attraction for both local residents and visitors in the future.”
The project has been a funding collaboration between the Australian Government ($1.7M), Victorian Government ($1.5M), City of Greater Bendigo ($1.4M) and $500,000 from the Bendigo RSL Sub-branch and their community fundraising initiative.
Works undertaken as part of the project have included the demolition of the former caretakers area, removal of asbestos, concrete capping of the old mine shaft underneath the building, replacement of the roof, installation of new sky lights, external render repairs and a new exterior wash coat to replicate the original warm stone coloured finish. Other works have included restumping, installation of new flooring in the old billiard room, ceiling and plaster repairs, painting and construction of the new gallery and storage space extension.