Bendigo Botanic Gardens - Central Hub

Concept illustration of the Botanic Gardens Central Hub

Construction work has commenced on the $7M Bendigo Botanic Gardens Central Hub Precinct – an exciting cultural project for Greater Bendigo that will enhance the flow of the existing gardens and provide unique visitor experiences that encourages people to connect and interact with the landscape and the Bendigo Creek.

The Bendigo Botanic Gardens are an historic, iconic and much-loved part of Greater Bendigo and a popular destination for local residents and visitors alike, as a key location for leisure activities, family get togethers, picnics, celebrations and community events.

Due to increasing community demand for a large, contemporary parkland, the City of Greater Bendigo recognised the need to expand the Bendigo Botanic Gardens and a comprehensive and integrated master plan was developed in 2010 to address the needs of our growing city and guide such development.

A key project of the masterplan was the construction of the two-hectare Garden for the Future in 2018. 

The Central Hub Precinct is the next stage of the award-winning Garden for the Future redevelopment and it will be constructed on one hectare of vacant land located at the bottom of Hamelin Street between the heritage gardens and the new Garden for the Future.  There is currently a void between the heritage gardens and the Garden for the Future and the central hub precinct will provide a seamless transition between both the old and the new gardens. 

The project will include construction of:

  • A new (660 square metre) timber clad Visitor Centre building with provision for a café/function centre, community rooms and public facilities (five toilets with one DDA compliant)
  • New gardens with an indigenous focus (1ha)
  • Gathering and educational spaces
  • Wetlands and ponds
  • Bridge across Bendigo Creek
  • Stormwater harvesting system
  • New formalised entrance to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens

The total construction budget is approx. $7M and has been funded by:

  • $3.75M from the Victorian Government - Crisis Committee of Cabinet – Infrastructure Stimulus Fund
  • $1.75M from the Australian Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program
  • $550K from the Department of Land, Water and Planning
  • $1M from the City of Greater Bendigo
  • A further $10K contribution from Friends of the Bendigo Botanic Gardens assisted with the design of the project.

The project will enhance Greater Bendigo and the wider region’s arts and recreation strengths by providing opportunities for social participation, lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enhanced physical and mental health. It will also provide opportunities for residents and visitors to attend events, recreate, learn, play, eat, drink and enjoy.

The project is scheduled for completion in June 2022.

 

Frequently asked questions

The Central Hub Precinct is the next stage of the award-winning Garden for the Future redevelopment which opened in April 2018 and a key action of the award-winning 2010 Bendigo Botanic Gardens Masterplan.

It is being constructed on one hectare of vacant land located at the bottom of Hamelin Street between the heritage gardens and the new Garden for the Future to provide a connection between both gardens. 

There is currently a void between the Heritage Gardens and the Garden for the Future and the new precinct will provide a seamless transition between both the old and the new gardens.  It will also provide a new formalised entrance to the Bendigo Botanic gardens via Hamelin Street.

The project will enhance Greater Bendigo and the wider region’s arts and recreation strengths by providing opportunities for social participation, lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enhanced physical and mental health. It will also provide opportunities for residents and visitors to attend events, recreate, learn, play, eat, drink and enjoy.

The project will promote local indigenous cultural heritage and its connection to country and has been designed with input from with the Dja Dja Wurrung who have a strong connection to the Bendigo Creek.  It will also provide opportunities to serve as a gathering space for indigenous events, educational experiences and the promotion of indigenous language through interpretation and storytelling.

The Central Hub Precinct project will include construction of:

  • A new (660 square metre) timber clad Visitor Centre building with provision for a café/function centre, community rooms and public facilities (five toilets with one DDA compliant)
  • New gardens with an indigenous focus (1ha)
  • Gathering and educational spaces
  • Wetlands and ponds
  • Bridge across Bendigo Creek
  • Stormwater harvesting system
  • New formalised entrance to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens

This exciting project will:

  • Enhance Greater Bendigo and the wider region’s arts and recreation strengths by providing opportunities for social participation, lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enhanced physical and mental health.
  • Provide unique opportunities for visitors to learn about our region’s indigenous heritage and culture, facilitate educational programs and demonstrate environmentally sustainable design.
  • Provide opportunities for residents and visitors to attend events, recreate, learn, play, eat, drink and enjoy.
  • Stimulate the local economy by providing over 50 construction jobs and nine permanent jobs through the operation of the café and ongoing maintenance of the gardens.
  • Supporting regional growth by meeting the rapidly growing region’s demonstrated demand for a large, high quality park.
  • Help generate regional wealth through more tourist visits and longer stays and build upon Bendigo’s current tourist offering of art and culture, goldfields cultural heritage, food and wine, and cycling and walking trails.
  • Provide more opportunities for cultural and social enrichment through purpose designed spaces that increase civic participation and social connectedness through the hosting of events within a beautiful garden setting.
  • Promote local indigenous cultural heritage and its connection to country and has been designed with input from with the Dja Dja Wurrung who have a strong connection to the Bendigo Creek.  It will also provide opportunities to serve as a gathering space for indigenous events, educational experiences and the promotion of indigenous language through interpretation and storytelling.
  • Raise community awareness of environmental issues, especially climate change as the plant collections will tell the story of plants relevant to the region, both indigenous and those suited to current and projected climate.

The total construction budget of the project is approximately $7M and it has been funded as follows:

  • $3.75M from the Victorian Government - Crisis Committee of Cabinet – Infrastructure Stimulus Fund
  • $1.75M from the Australian Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program
  • $550K from the Department of Land, Water and Planning
  • $1M from the City of Greater Bendigo

A further $10K contribution from Friends of the Bendigo Botanic Gardens was received to assist with the design of the project.

The project is scheduled for completion in June 2022.

In 2019 the City of Greater Bendigo contracted architectural firm GHD Woodhead to design the new buildings and precinct.  The architect, landscape architect and broader design team have worked with the City of Greater Bendigo, Friends of Bendigo Botanic Gardens and the Dja Dja Wurrung to develop a unique vision for the precinct.

The construction contract is being undertaken by Searle Brothers.

Gold was discovered in Bendigo in 1851 and the Bendigo Botanic Gardens at White Hills are Bendigo’s first public gardens and one of regional Victoria’s earliest botanic gardens.

A Reserve for a Botanic Garden is shown on an 1854 plan of the township of White Hills. The garden was formed around the Bendigo Creek which was later straightened to form an ornamental lake. This is the only part of the original Bendigo Creek still in existence in the urban area.

By 1869, 266 trees had been planted, including 180 Blue Gums.

In May 1870 a total of 1857 plants were recorded, and another 1117 plants were ready for planting. The plantings included plants received from the renowned Ferdinand von Mueller of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens including 20 sultana cuttings in 1871.

By 1872 the gardens included a hothouse, rotunda, 200 roses, and a zoo with monkeys, koalas and birds.

In 1882 there was a good collection of trees and shrubs representing the flora of every country and it was a popular place for picnics.

A pavilion was built in c1910.

In 1925 an Arch of Triumph was erected at the main entrance as a memorial to those who served in the First World War. The Arch of Triumph is of historical and architectural significance as a rare example of this building type in Victoria. The only other arches, all First World War memorials and of different designs, occur at Ballarat (1920), Murtoa (1921) and Mansfield (c1923). The Arch of Triumph is a Mannerist design with massive rusticated voussoirs and decorated with wreaths and two metal plates listing the names of local servicemen.

The gardens were included on the Victorian Heritage Register in 2001 due to their historical, architectural, scientific, botanical, aesthetic and social significance. 

In 2018 the new two-hectare Garden for the Future was officially opened.

Yes.  Members of the public will still have access to everything the Bendigo Botanic Gardens and the Garden for the Future has to offer while construction of the Central Hub is underway.  However, the actual Central Hub site will be fenced off and will not be accessible to members of the public while the build is underway.

In addition, the footbridge over the Bendigo Creek at the rear of the Botanic Gardens will at times be closed for by the public.  During this time members of the public are advised to seek alternative routes to avoid any inconvenience.

Timeline

  • Begin construction work
  • Scheduled completion


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