Bendigo’s new plaza celebrates the city’s rich Chinese cultural heritage
The redevelopment of the Bendigo Chinese precinct was a key project for the City of Greater Bendigo. Approved by council in early 2009, it was jointly funded by federal, state and local governments.
Located next to the Gold Dragon Museum, an important part of Bendigo’s cultural history and a prime destination for visitors to Bendigo, the new plaza offers an open, public events space with seating and plenty of shelter.
Called Dai Gum San (Cantonese for Big Gold Mountain), the new plaza celebrates Bendigo’s rich Chinese cultural heritage and the area’s goldfields history. Credit for the design of this impressive public space goes to Rush Wright & Associates — in particular to consultant designer Skye Haldane. Credit also goes to client director Stan Liacos, City of Greater Bendigo, and design director Don Goldsworthy, City Architect.
Works were constructed for the City of Greater Bendigo by Watpac Civil Landscape, a division of Watpac Ltd. Project manager Andrew Doyle and site managers Tony Nye and Chris Young were tasked with seeing this outstanding project through to completion.
Works involved the decking of Bendigo Creek to create an upper and lower plaza linking the various buildings of the precinct and establishing one large open space. This involved extensive civil, structural and service installation prior to the detailed finishes that followed.
The lower plaza paving is something special; it features a pattern that reflects China’s Pearl River Delta and incorporates Chinese calligraphy. The use of terracing to provide seating and access between the two levels makes the space multi-functional. The planter boxes, sculptures, lantern lighting and planting (which features bamboo and conifers, the latter chosen to forge a strong link with the adjacent Rosland Park) are also of special note.
Care was taken with the selection and installation of the paving. More than 100,000 cobles were laid in the lower plaza while the upper plaza features local Castlemaine Pyrenees slate flecked with fool’s gold.
Extensive lighting creates dramatic effects at night and highlights the features of the project, including artworks.
One of the key features of the new public space is a five-metre fibreglass and concrete red lotus flower that provides seating and stepped access between the two plazas. There is also a chrysanthemum flower sculpture that doubles as an all-access ramp.
Despite having to work through the wettest winter in 10 years and frequent flooding of the creek, Watpac Civil Landscape completed the project on time, within budget and to the complete satisfaction of the council and the Chinese Precinct Committee.
Landscape construction by Watpac Civil Landscape 1/111 Coventry Street, Southbank Vic 3006 Phone (03) 9649 2200 Fax (03) 9649 2204 Mobile 0412 363 957 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.watpac.com.au