Statement of Significance
What is Significant?
The Bendigo Hospital, addressing Lucan Street, Bendigo, is a complex of buildings on a rectangular-shaped site
bound by Arnold Street to the west, Stewart Street to the north and Bayne Street to the east. It comprises
boundary fences and walls, landscaped areas and approximately sixteen buildings. The first hospital building
(constructed in 1858 and demolished in 1989) and several subsequent buildings, were designed by Vahland and
How is it Significant?
The Bendigo Hospital is of historical, social and aesthetic significance to the City of Bendigo.
Why is it Significant?
Historically, the Bendigo Hospital is significant for its long associations with the history of healthcare in Victoria
and as one of the earliest district hospitals established in Victoria. Victoria's earliest regional public hospital was
established in Geelong in 1852. This was followed by hospitals in Bendigo and Castlemaine in 1853. The
Bendigo Hospital was relocated to the present site in 1858. Ten other district hospitals were established in
Victoria between 1854 and 1858. Most of the early Bendigo Hospital buildings have been demolished as the
facilities were improved and adapted over the years to meet the changing needs of healthcare and the local
Socially, the Bendigo Hospital is significant as a provider of healthcare to the local community for more than 150
years. In addition to general medical and surgical facilities, the hospital complex has also included infectious
diseases wards, laboratories for medical research, a tuberculosis chalet and nurses' accommodation and
training facilities. Some of the buildings and structures, such as the Lansell Laboratory Building and Fountain,
were only erected as a result of donations by Bendigo residents, while the contribution of other board members
and fundraisers, such as John Stanistreet and George Pethard, is commemorated in the naming of buildings.
Aesthetically, the front fence and entrance to the Bendigo Hospital are significant as an outstanding example of
a fence design by the prominent Bendigo architects Vahland and Getzschmann. WC Vahland is perhaps most
well-known for his design for the Bendigo Town Hall and a substantial number of religious buildings. Vahland
and Getzschmann were responsible for most of the structures built on the hospital site between 1858 and 1900.
Very few elements from this period have been retained on the site, but include Modesty House and the
Mortuary. These two buildings are not as aesthetically significant as the front fence and entrance.
Bendigo Health - hospital buildings - Physical Description 1
[AHC citation in Butler] The building was demolished in late 1989 early 1990. Prior to this it was described in the following terms: The building is of two storeys beneath a continuous hipped roof with projecting wings to each side and the centre of the building marked with a tower rising above the roof. The building achieves its power through its heaviness of the plinth, the continuous rustication and especially the repetitive and continuous lines of fenestration. The broken chord pedimented treatment of the gables to the projecting wings further emphasises the constructivist nature of its architectural concept and the design is completed by the tower which is more akin to an earlier baroque tradition, but superbly balances the weight of the composition by giving it a delicate vertical emphasis.
The building is constructed of rendered brick on a sandstone footing. The slate roof has been replaced with tiles.
Internally, it is very simple with a long central corridor, two staircases and smallish rooms. Little embellishment remains, although the corridor walls have an ashlar finish and the wing wards retain their pressed metal ceilings.
(Australian Heritage Commission Citation)
Bendigo Health - hospital buildings - Physical Conditions
[AHC citation in Butler]The building was demolished in late 1989/early 1990.
Bendigo Health - hospital buildings - Physical Description 2
[Bendigo Hospital Campus (Lucan Street site)]
The following descriptions only cover elements of primary or contributory significance on the Bendigo Hospital
Landscape, Fountain and Boundary Treatments
The site is rectangular and slopes gently uphill from Lucan Street toward Stewart Street. A palisade fence
extends along the Lucan Street boundary of the site and this is where the main entrance into the site is located.
A central driveway lined with avenue plantings of sixteen oak trees extends up from the main entrance to the
main hospital buildings. The front of the site, along Lucan Street, is well planted with a variety of mature trees
including Cypress, Liquid Amber, Ash and a Cork tree. A painted, cast concrete fountain centred within a shallow
circular pool, was first installed in front of the Central Block in 1913, but was relocated near the main entrance in
1972. The fountain is decorated with Baroque-style ornamentation.
The boundary treatments date from c.1885. The decorative cast iron palisade fence, set into a bluestone base,
curves inwards to form a semi-circular recess for the entrance, framed by two pairs of granite gate piers. The
piers originally framed central iron gates, sufficiently wide for a horse-drawn vehicle, flanked by two smaller
pedestrian gates. All the gates have since been removed, but the piers and fence are largely intact. At the
corners of Lucan and Bayne Street, and Lucan and Arnold Streets, the boundary treatment changes from the
palisade fence to a brick wall, which is variously intact around the perimeter of the site. Where intact, the red
brick wall has a sandstone plinth and is approximately 2 to 2.5 metres high. The wall is capped by a rendered
roll-over top with embedded glass to deter intrusion. Simple brick buttresses are located at regular intervals on
the inner face of the wall.
Modesty House, built in 1891, is a double-storey red brick building with a double-storey verandah extending
along the south-east elevation. The building turns its back on Stewart Street and addresses the rear of the main
hospital buildings. It is rectangular in plan and has a hipped roof clad with corrugated iron. The similarly hipped
and corrugated iron roof of the timber-framed verandah is separate to the main building's roof. Cast iron
balustrade panels, brackets and friezes ornament the verandah structure. Timber-framed, double-hung windows
are spaced at regular intervals across the elevations, while the main entrance is centrally located on the southeast
The Mortuary is a single-storey red brick and rendered building with a gabled roof clad with corrugated iron. The
rectangular building was built in 1887on the Stewart Street boundary. Sections of the high brick boundary wall
around the hospital site have been removed from the Stewart Street boundary and this wall originally abutted
both ends of the Mortuary building. This accounts for its plain brick elevation to Stewart Street. Instead, the
building was designed with entrances on the two gabled side elevations. These elevations on the short ends of
the building each feature a central door with top light, flanked by narrow timber-framed, double-hung windows.
Rendered dressings surround these door and window openings, and also surround circular vents with timber
louvres in the gables above. Other rendered details include the gable coping, plinth and quoins at the building
corners. On both building ends, a row of ten small rectangular openings extends above the windows and door,
but below the circular vent. These openings are now glazed, but were probably left open originally to increase
the ventilation of the building.
Lansell Laboratory Building
The Lansell Laboratory Building was constructed in 1928 of red brick with a tiled, hipped roof. The double-storey
building is essentially rectangular in plan and addresses Arnold Street. The focus of the symmetrical front
elevation is a central rendered loggia. The loggia has a pedimented parapet and a cornice supported on simple
corbels. Just below the corbels, the name 'EDITH & GV LANSELL LABORAOTRY & CLINIC' is applied to the
wall in rendered letters. All but one of the three round-arched openings to the front of the loggia, and the two
side arches, have been infilled at a later date. A later concrete ramp and steps lead up to the central arch of the
loggia and from there to the main entrance into the building through a modern glazed door.
The building has multi-paned, steel-framed casement windows with painted concrete lintels and sills. Further
decorative details include bands of brickwork, wrapping around all the building's elevations, with patterns formed
by alternating manganese and red bricks. A barrel-vaulted ventilating dormer projects from the roof, above the
loggia. It has horizontal louvres and is clad with metal sheet. It presumably assisted with the ventilation of the
laboratories. Multiple ventilating tubes projecting from the roof also contributed to the ventilation system. Deep
eaves, lined and bracketed with timber, are another feature of the building's design.
The Old Library was built in 1908, originally as a Lunacy Ward. The single-storey, red brick building initially had
a T-shaped plan, but the demolition of the rear wing has left it as essentially a rectangular building. Symmetrical
bays projecting from the two short ends of the building accommodated toilets and were most probably the male
and female ablution blocks. The building appears as though the north-east elevation was originally the front
elevation. Before the nearby Pathology building was constructed, this elevation would have been directly visible
from the main entrance on Lucan Street. This front elevation is distinguished by the jerkin head roofs over the
two most prominent bays. A verandah originally extended between these bays, but has been enclosed at a later
date. The remainder of the building has a hipped roof clad with corrugated iron.
The current entrance into the building is through a modern glazed porch built between the ablution block and
main building at the northern corner of the building. A further addition has been added to the southern corner of
the building. The building features four brick chimneys with rendered tops, projecting from the main ridge. The
multi-paned windows are timber-framed and double-hung.
This single-storey residence built in c.1920 faces the main driveway of the hospital. It has a red brick plinth, with
rendered walls above and a predominantly hipped roof covered with concrete tiles. The focus of the design is a
central gabled porch on the north-east elevation. The porch has a large round-arched opening, emphasised by
an elongated keystone and hood moulding. It appears as though the arch was originally face brick, but has been
painted. Triangular buttresses to the front and sides of the porch provide further visual interest.
Either side of the porch are double-hung, timber-framed windows in a set of three. The windows feature
decorative leadlight in an Art Deco style, and rendered flower boxes permanently mounted below. A convex bay
window, also comprising a set of three double-hung windows with Art Deco leadlight, projects from the southeast
elevation. Elsewhere, the windows are similarly timber-framed, but not elaborated with leadlight. Two tall
and slightly tapered rendered chimneys extend form the south-eastern side of the building. Later modifications
include a concrete ramp and handrails up to the front porch. The porch floor has been concreted and the front
door modified. A rendered addition with a gabled tiled roof has been added to the rear of the building.
Heritage Study and Grading
Greater Bendigo - Eaglehawk & Bendigo Heritage Study
Author: Graeme Butler & Associates
Greater Bendigo - Consultant's Report