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Bendigo History

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Last Update
19th of November 2017


Tannery Lane Vineyard
Tannery Lane Vineyard
Private Collection.
Brache and Co. Weeroona Vineyard, Tannery Lane. By 1865 there were hundreds of acres of vines in the region - wines from Strathfield-saye win various exhibition medals including awards at the 1873 Exhibition in Vienna against stiff European competition.

Following the discovery of gold there was a large population influx into the Bendigo valley and the demand for goods and services was immediate.Saw mills commenced. Bricks were required for chimneys, commercial buildings and homes for the prosperous. The Bendigo Pottery began in 1858, providing various ceramic containers, decorative items and table-ware. Foundries and engineering works supplied the mechanical needs of over 6,000 gold mines. Tanning leather for belting, harness, saddle, boot and shoe manufacturing added to the diverse range of industry. Quarries, town gas production, foundries etc. emerged rapidly in the booming gold economy.

Early miners and townsfolk depended upon local produce when bread, beef and sheep cuts were needed. For 100 years the local Chinese gardens were to supply a good proportion of the Bendigo district’s requirements of fruit and vegetables, with additional supplies from Huntly, the Campaspe Valley, Mandurang and Strathfieldsaye. The early settlers established vineyards and produce from more than 1,000 district acres had already earned local and overseas praise prior to the 1890s when phylloxera aphid appeared. Nowadays this industry has been re-established as the Bendigo District Winegrowers Association.
Poultry and swine enterprises were developed eventually into large intensive establishments.

Pall Mall, Hargreaves, Bridge, McCrae and View Streets quickly became the centre of business activity with Pall Mall itself having an array of substantial buildings. The first of the Shamrock Hotels, a slab and canvas structure, was built in 1854 but this was destroyed by fire in 1857. The third and present Shamrock Hotel was erected in 1897. Pall Mall boasted a Stock Exchange in the boom time of the 1870s (now being revived as the Bendigo Stock Exchange – the BSX and the Bendigo Building Society commenced in 1858 as the forerunner of Australia’s only regional bank, the present Bendigo Bank. In the late 1800’s, Simcha Baevski, later to change his name to Sidney Myer hawked goods in heavy suitcases, then opened a series of drapery shops in View Street, Hargreaves Street and Pall Mall before moving to Melbourne and national retail prominence. Hotels abounded and at one time Bendigo possessed a liquor dispensing establishment for every 20 head of population.

The Bendigo Fruit Growers Cooperative Ltd. with its distinctive ‘gold digger’ emblem began in 1889 at the Market Square; brewing cooperatives developed; several Bendigo factories processed the district’s renowned tomatoes and the dairying industry started as small individual enterprises. The Whipstick and Wellsford forests nearby became renowned for yielding excellent honey from their eucalypts.

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