Works to help secure future of historic Joss House

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The City of Greater Bendigo will commence works on Monday March 5 to install new drainage around the historic Bendigo Joss House to prevent water damage to the over 140 year old building.

The Bendigo Joss House temple was constructed during the gold rush circa 1870 as part of the Ironbark Chinese camp and was one of nine temples in the area at the time. Today it is significant as the oldest Chinese Temple of traditional design in Australia and the only surviving temple in regional Victoria.

The City of Greater Bendigo took over ownership of the Joss House from the National Trust in 2008. The City then asked Bendigo Heritage Attractions to manage the operation of the temple which still operates as a place of worship as well as a tourist attraction.

City of Greater Bendigo Property Manager Andy Walker said the $50,000 drainage and landscaping project is funded by the City with approval from Heritage Victoria.

"The work will redirect rain water from the Thales car park around the temple and will include the installation of reticulation drainage to capture ground water and redirect it to stormwater. As part of the project Thales will also remove some trees on the rear boundary of the site and landscaping works will include construction of a sandstone retaining wall and various plantings,” Mr Walker said.

“This work is needed to protect the building structure into the future.”

Bendigo Heritage Attractions CEO Peter Abbott said the Joss House is a vital reminder of the city’s Chinese residents who made up 25% of Bendigo’s population during the gold rush.

“It is fantastic that the City of Greater Bendigo is committed to maintaining the temple as an important piece of living history for the city,” Mr Abbott said.

In addition to the drainage works, the temple’s electrical system, office and kitchen spaces have been upgraded and for the first time in 146 years, a hot water unit has been installed thanks to a grant from the Frances and Harold Abbott Foundation.

In 2021 the Joss House will celebrate its 150th year and Bendigo Heritage Attractions are already planning an exciting program of events to commemorate this milestone.

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