Bendigo Art Gallery
Bendigo Art Gallery was founded in 1887 – Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Year. In the late 1880s, distinguished Bendigo architect WC Valhand supervised the conversion of the former Bendigo Volunteer Rifle’s orderly room in View Street into a new home for the Gallery’s collection.
The revamped Gallery opened in 1890, and occupied the building now called Bolton Court. Drury Court was added in 1897, then Abbott Court just eight years later following a plan devised by another leading local architect, William Beebe. These rooms were designed in the grand European tradition (notably the Tate Gallery, London) with polished wood floors, ornate plaster arches and cornices, and diffused natural sky-lighting through rooftop lantern towers.
The Gallery’s original polychrome red and white Victorian brick facade onto View Street, and its Victorian and Edwardian galleries, remained largely intact until 1962, when a modern cream-brick entrance to View Street was added, which included new offices and three new galleries: the Scott and Sonnenberg Courts and the BS Andrew Gallery.
Over the last decade, Bendigo Art Gallery has cemented its reputation for presenting innovative international exhibitions alongside a dynamic and varied suite of public programs and events. Bendigo Art Gallery attracts a diverse audience from metropolitan Melbourne, and from across Victoria and Australia.
In line with its growing popularity as Australia’s largest and most impressive regional art museum, Bendigo Art Gallery launched its $8.5m re-development in March 2014; a new contemporary wing of galleries bordering Rosalind Park at the rear, designed by Karl Fender of Fender Katsalidis Architects.
The redevelopment has realised an overall addition of 600sqm of gallery space as well as specialist sub-terrain storage solutions for the Gallery’s extensive and diverse collection of almost 5000 objects. An expanded and refurbished Gallery Cafe was also launched alongside the opening of this new wing.
Most recently, Bendigo Art Gallary has enjoyed great success with its visiting exhibitions. In 2014/2015 the gallery held an exhibition of the film star, Grace Kelly’s wardrobe and artifacts and more recently they have enjoyed similar success with a Marilyn Monroe exhibition. This is part of the galleries policy of appealing to a wide variety of tastes and it has been warmly congratulated by both critics and public alike.