On 30 September 1887, following four years of construction, the Sandhurst Public Offices on Pall Mall were officially opened (during the city’s prosperous gold era), and this grand Renaissance Revival style building operated as the city’s post office for over a century, until Australia Post established their new city facility at the corner of Williamson and Hargreaves Streets in 1996.
Since then, the former Post Office has become residence to Bendigo’s tourist information centre, and with its prime position in the heart of town, council recognised an opportunity to put the building to even greater public use by establishing a place for the display and interpretation of the region’s rich and dynamic history.
A provincial city recognised for its heritage and culture, Bendigo’s attractions feature many well known institutions, including Bendigo Art Gallery, the Capital Theatre, the Golden Dragon Museum, the Central Deborah Mine and Bendigo Tramway’s Talking Trams. However, to date there has never been a traditional ‘social history’ museum, a venue where significant collections, artefacts and material that explore the broadest possible history of the region can be exhibited and enjoyed.
The establishment of the Post Office Gallery introduces this social history element to the community’s cultural foundation, by providing the residents of the City of Greater Bendigo and its many visitors with a vital focal point for its long and proud history. And by employing a ‘gallery’ model, with a changing annual exhibition program, Post Office Gallery makes possible a continual exploration of the region’s heritage whilst also ensuring operational sustainability, broad engagement, and strong and ongoing community involvement.