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Specimen Cottage Interpretation Project

We are asking for volunteers who feel they could contribute as a team member to develop one or more of the themes outlined in the plan for Specimen Cottage.  The current extent of these themes is broad. The task of each team will be to provide focus for each theme as well as some significant stories about people, places and events.
At the first meeting of each team, the exhibition coordinator will conduct a short workshop that will help teams structure their progress. However the first part of the process will be ‘brainstorming”, where all ideas will have equal merit. Expect 3-5 meetings over a three month period, beginning in March 2020.

Please see full details on the Projects page 

Brass music box

Brass music box with wooden lining, hinged lid with raised flower design, four small bun feet and a winder on the base. Swiss music box movement. There is a partial sticker on the base for Prescott and Dawe Jewellers of Bendigo. Prescott and Dawe were on the corner of Mitchell and Hargreaves Streets.

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Bessen Cornet and case

Black wooden case with a brass handle on top of lid, brass hinges and lock, lined with black velvet.

The cornet is engraved with leaves and flowers.  Engraved on the top of the cornet ‘ F. Besson, Brevetee, 198 Euston Road, London.’

Engraved on the bell ‘Presented by the citizens to James Northcott Bandmaster of the Sandhurst Volunteer Band in recognition of his musical abilities. Sandhurst Dec. 8 1871’.

The Cornet box contains 7 additional parts of the Cornet.

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Melba Accordion

Wooden musical instrument purportedly from Fortuna Villa. The Melba Accordion has black lacquered timber with some red leather covering, metal corner pieces which read made in Germany,  buttons of ivory or bone connected to keys, pull knobs on the side, bellows of grey and white paper. The accordion is contained in a black wooden box with metal hinges and handle. Also in the box is a small wooden piece, possible a tuner, with inserts of mother of pearl, flowers and brass ends.

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Tyson Brothers

On 25 April 1808, Isabella Tyson was tried at York, West Riding Quarter Sessions and convicted of the theft of linen and sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. Isabella’s family, husband William (Snr) and their infant son William (Jnr) aged 19 months, came as free emigrants on the same transport.

William Tyson (Jnr) had three younger brothers who were born in Australia, James, John and Peter. James and his brother William Tyson (Jnr) squatted on land in NSW at the junction of the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan Rivers, before it had been released for settlement. They were eventually able to acquire the lease for ‘Toorong’ and later the lease for ‘Geramy’. By this time younger brothers John and Peter had joined them.

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James and Hannah Brierley

James and Hannah Brierley left Manchester as assisted migrants, in 1844 and arrived in Sydney on the Elizabeth three and a half months later with the hope of finding a better life for themselves. They completed their required twelve months’ work agreements in the Hunter Valley before travelling to Adelaide by 1848 where James purchased land in Wright St and built two cottages.

Their daughter Janetta and son Hugh were born in Adelaide. By 1851 James and Hannah had sold up and moved to the Mt Alexander goldfields. Hugh died in 1853 aged 14 months and is buried at the Pennyweight Flat cemetery in Chewton.

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Specimen Cottage – 178 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo

Specimen Cottage is architecturally significant as the oldest original house in Bendigo, built by stonemason James Brierley.

The 1856 section of the building has a front façade of local coursed sandstone rubble, with dressed quoins and dressings to openings; the side walls are rubble: the rear and internal walls are of red brick. It has a central front door with one window on either side. The roof was probably originally hipped.

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A Few of Our Favourite Things

“A Few of Our Favourite Things”
Exhibition at the Bendigo Library from March 1, 2019.

Volunteers working at Nolan Street have chosen favourite items from the BHS Collection.

They have researched the stories unearthed through the cataloguing and preservation of the many treasures donated to the Bendigo Historical Society.

On Tuesday May 7 10.30 am – 11.30 am during the Australian Heritage Festival there will be a presentation of these stories at the library. Come and join us to hear the stories.


Welcome to the new website of the Bendigo Historical Society.

This website was developed with funds from a Grant from the City of Greater Bendigo 2017-18 Community Grants Program.

The Bendigo Historical Society wishes to acknowledge the financial assistance of the City of Greater Bendigo that allowed the development of this website to replace our original website launched in 2005.

The Bendigo Historical Society also wishes to thank THRIVE Web Design for building this website.

We look forward to sharing the stories of Bendigo and District from the past and the present.