Ulumbarra Theatre Bendigo

The Ulumbarra Theatre is a performing arts complex in Bendigo, Victoria that is housed in the old Sandhurst Gaol.

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I visited as part of the Sandhurst Gaol Tour. Tours are on Tuesdays at 11am and Saturdays at 2pm. Bookings are essential, book online or through the Bendigo Visitor Centre.

The Sandhurst Gaol opened in 1863. It was designed around the pentonville prison model where the wings radiate from a central tower. It operated as a prison until the First World War when it was used as a military detention centre. It later operated as the HM Bendigo Training Prison from 1954 until its closure in 2006.

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In June 2013 work began on the 25.8 million dollar project to transform the historic prison into a state-of-the-art theatre complex.  The theatre officially opened on 17th April 2015. It is amazing how they have combined the historic walls of the prison with modern architecture.

The Ulumbarra Theatre includes a 950-seat theatre, music, drama and dance studios, and a commercial learning kitchen. Students from Bendigo Senior Secondary College use the facilities including the kitchen for hospitality classes and other areas for performing arts classes.

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The word ulumbarra (pronounced u-lum-ba-ra) means gather together or meeting place in the language of the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

The theatre is located at 10 Gaol Road, Bendigo, between the Bendigo Senior Secondary College and the Tom Flood Sports Centre.

Bendigo Joss House Temple

Bendigo Joss House Temple is a Chinese place of worship located in north Bendigo, approximately 150 km (93 miles) north west of Melbourne.

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The temple is located on Finn Street. It is open everyday from 11am-3pm. Adults are $6, concession $5, child $4, family $18. Combined tickets with the Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram can be purchased. If taking the tram, disembark at Joss House Temple stop and follow the red footpath.

It is believed that the Joss House was built in the 1870s for the Chinese Masonic Society. The temple is one of seven that was built to serve the Chinese miners who moved to Bendigo during the goldrush. It is the only surviving temple in Victoria from the goldrush period.

The complex contained a caretaker’s residence, Temple and Ancestral Hall. The building is made from handmade painted red bricks. The red symbolises happiness, strength and vitality.

The temple is dedicated to Guan-Di (Kwan Gong), who was the god of war and prosperity.

After purchasing tickets a volunteer guide will show visitors around the temple explaining the history of the temple, Chinese culture and the Chinese people’s connection with Bendigo and the goldfields.

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