Bendigo Pottery is Australia’s oldest working pottery, established in 1858, it has making ceramics for over 160 years. Bendigo Pottery is a few things in one place, centralised around the pottery.
The Bendigo Pottery Interpretive Museum is built around the old kilns with displays of the equipment used since 1858 and a collection of early Bendigo Pottery.
The old kilns are one of the most significant collections of ceramic wood fired kilns in the world, listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The collection includes 5 bottle kilns, 3 circular kilns and 2 rectangular kilns. A wood-fired kiln has not been used at Bendigo Pottery since 1989, 130 years after they started. However, pottery is still made at a large factory on the site using natural gas fired kilns.
One of the old kilns has been converted into a theatrette as part of the self-guided tour through the museum. The kilns have information about them and some of their history.
For example, a bottle kiln that was first built in 1895 for glazed ware, the top was removed and a second kiln was build on top so two kilns could effectively be fired as one.
The Bendigo Pottery is more than the museum and an ongoing factory. It has a shop to purchase the pottery from and art studios and galleries with more than just pottery and ceramics. The cafe has light lunch and snack options as well as local products such as jams and relishes, Bendigo Pure Gold Honey, and other items.
An antiques shop is also on site with many interesting things to look at. Some of the items available to buy are practically museum pieces themselves.
To get there:
From the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre, head north-east along Pall Mall (Midland Hwy) and follow for 6.6km. The Bendigo Pottery is on the left at the brown sign. A brown sign is also 400m before it, and 300m before if coming from the other direction.