Open House Bendigo 2019 program now live

Posted Thu 3rd Oct 2019 | Isabella Radevski


The Open House Bendigo Weekend 2019 launched on Thursday evening at the beautifully restored 1872 Beehive Building. Set to be a program highlight, the Beehive will offer the public an exclusive sneak peek of never-before-seen restorative works prior to the full reveal in early 2020. The diverse program, boasting 27 buildings – plus walking tours, film screenings and a program of talks – will for the first time extend beyond central Bendigo to include Eaglehawk and a satellite program in Castlemaine, all taking place across 26 and 27 October.

The Open House Bendigo Weekend provides a public platform for celebrating quality and purposeful design in the City of Greater Bendigo, shining a light on spaces of architectural excellence, be it significant heritage sites or contemporary design. The program aims to create a sense of civic pride in the changing urban environment of Greater Bendigo – with access to multiple historic sites and a number of modern buildings – catering for heritage and contemporary design lovers alike. The full program is now available to view online and a printed program will be available as a lift-out in the Bendigo Advertiser on Saturday 12 October.

The program features a diverse range of design led activations, including the Bendigo Hospital Landscape Tour (pictured above), the Joss House Temple Archaeologist Tour, and the Celebrating Vahland Walking Tour – discussing Bendigo’s greatest architect and his work, from hotels to churches and mansions. Buildings opening for public access include:


Beehive Building

Open House visitors will be the first to see the beautifully restored 1872 Beehive Building (below), which has been returned to its former glory after extensive works by Williams Boag Architects. Similar in style to Melbourne’s Royal Arcade and by the same designer, Charles Webb, the building’s original uses include a hotel, a mining exchange, a restaurant, offices and function space. The current development uncovers the rich layers of use by removing most of, if not all of the 1920s’ and 1950s’ changes, revealing key features of the original building. Visitors had access to the ground level construction site during the 2018 Open House Bendigo program, and this year visitors will access the newly completed arcade including the second story, revealing the intricate beauty of the glass ceiling not seen for decades.


Kooroork House II

With a sustainable focus and a restricted budget, Koorork House II (below) – created by e+ architecture – exemplifies the architect’s desire to create imaginative containers for living. A concept based on ‘making camp’ drove the conceptual design. The central space where the family comes together around the fire is flanked by four rooms of flexible proportions, allowing for a series of different uses. At only 160 square metres, Kooroork House II highlights how family homes on a budget are possible without compromising on sustainable and design aspirations.


Miners’ Cottage

One of the main drivers for the architect/owners in developing the site was the view to this being their ‘forever’ house, rather than a stepping stone to something bigger and ‘better’. Stage 1 involved the basic renovation of the interior, ensuring the ‘bones’ were in good health. More recently, Stage 2 has been completed. This involved reconfiguration of internal spaces and a modest extension providing more living space, improved connection to the garden and improved natural light.


Short Street House

Responding to a brief to increase the living areas of the existing house and rationalise the rear lean-to extension, the new addition does not dominate the streetscape, whilst still being clear that it is contemporary in its design and build. Working within the heritage overlay, Short Street (below) uses ‘traditional’ materials such as zinc and hardwoods, with crafted elements such as the windows, doors and joinery to ‘tip its hat’ to the past era features, now restored to former condition.


Log Lock-up

Originally constructed for no more than £260, this heritage-listed lock-up (below) was in use up until 1963. It will open its doors to the public on Saturday 26 October, when the public can experience the sensation of being locked in the logs, with the heavy doors closed behind them. The walls and floor are made up entirely of locally sourced, rough-hewn logs and, due to pristine maintenance over the years, the lock-up is one of only five remaining in the state. Filled with a number of artefacts from the Goldfields era, the lock-up presents a fascinating window into Victoria’s criminal past.


Star Cinema, Eaglehawk Town Hall

The symbolic heart of the Eaglehawk community – a remarkable investment for a borough consisting predominantly of poor mining families. It is now home to the Star Cinema, a not-for-profit community organisation offering a boutique cinema experience, providing current releases as well as weekly classics for the local community.


Thompsons Foundry

First established in 1895, Thompson’s Foundry (below) operated under the Thompson’s name for over 100 years. A significant manufacturing hub, the foundry produced a wide variety of industrial equipment, including steam engines, mining equipment and sluicing and dredging equipment. The site is still in active use, with Open House Bendigo providing a rare chance for visitors to see inside this significant industrial landmark.


Garden Retreat

Hear from local architect Katrina Logan, with guided tours across two residential projects:

Garden Retreat residence was born out of a desire to have a private space that would serve as a parent’s retreat. The add-on was carefully designed to avoid disrupting the original house, and intended for families with teenage children. Sustainable materials were used throughout the home, complemented by considered garden design.


Freemasons Hall Residence and Studio

The Freemasons Hall residence and studio (below) contains one of Castlemaine’s most spectacular 1920s interiors. Recently repurposed as two apartments and architecture studio, the building retains its fascinating history as a Methodist church, private school, and Masonic Hall.

All residential homes and Castlemaine buildings are pre-booked, with bookings opening Monday 14 October at 8.30am.


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