Discover Bendigo

Perfume and colour
James Lerk
Sydenham Gardens became a by-word in early Bendigo as a wonderful place for relaxation and recreation. As previously mentioned, the garden’s instigator was a pioneering Prussian named Frederick Wilhelm Kraemer. As soon as Kraemer had purchased his first slab of land in 1854, he..
07-Dec-2017
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Prizes to be won
James Lerk
Remarkably Frederick Kraemer had on two separate occasions found himself in a financial bind. The one described last week occurred in 1868, the second time that he was insolvent. Ten years earlier he had placed his beloved Sydenham Gardens and its hotel on the market in the form of a ..
01-Dec-2017
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Kraemer had flair
James Lerk
Frederick Wilhelm Kraemer showed significant promotional flair in making sure that his Sydenham Gardens and the adjacent hotel sharing the same name should be well patronised. Even though the gardens were first established in late 1854 it had become a draw-card quite early for those who had ..
23-Nov-2017
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Facing insolvency
James Lerk
All gardens are subject to the vagaries of the weather and Kraemer’s Sydenham Gardens was to prove to be no exception. Mention has already been made previously of how he attempted to secure for himself a water supply with a large well and a dam. As the demands of the hotel for wate..
17-Nov-2017
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A necessity of life
James Lerk
Looking at the headline, “a necessity of life” I am sure that most readers would immediately conjure up in their minds the subject of water. One of the early steps that Frederick W Kraemer took was to have a large well sunk on his property at The Junction. Kraemer’s ow..
09-Nov-2017
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A German gathering place
James Lerk
One of Bendigo’s early historians, John Neill Macartney, said Frederick Wilhelm Kraemer had a pleasant personality and genial countenance. Macartney also wrote in 1882 that, “Herr Kraemer’s Sydenham Gardens, which, at the very early date in the history of Bendigo (1854), we..
02-Nov-2017
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Land for a new enterprise
James Lerk
Last week I began to introduce Frederick Wilhelm Kraemer, the man who was an early arriver on the Bendigo goldfield from South Australia. Kraemer was a very successful digger having worked consistently in German Gully for about a year. He returned to Adelaide to bring his family and su..
26-Oct-2017
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Trekking to German gully
James Lerk
In the mid to late 1850s English was the most spoken language in use on the Bendigo goldfield, followed by Cantonese, then German, with Italian/Ticonese coming in at fourth place. Germans were among the early arrivals here once the news of the European discovery of gold in Victoria filtered ..
19-Oct-2017
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Keck the public man
James Lerk
THE high profile that Herbert Keck had attained, not only locally but also Victoria wide and beyond, has been clearly demonstrated over the months since I started this series. At the local level Keck’s nursery and orchard was a delight for those who wished to obtain quantities of fresh..
12-Oct-2017
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Contractor Martino Ferrari
James Lerk
When I began this series about Herbert Keck, our readers will recollect that mention was made of how he had approached the Bendigo council in 1890 in respect of depositing the city’s night soil on his land. A number of times in the past months mention has been made of a Bendigo City Co..
06-Oct-2017
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A vexing situation
James Lerk
Briefly recapitulating: the inspector of nuisances, Mounted Constable Ryan on June 11, 1891 accompanied by the Shire of Strathfieldsaye’s health officer, Dr Burke Gaffney visited the property of Herbert Keck. Constable Ryan and Dr Gaffney found that after excessive rain, the night soil..
27-Sep-2017
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Caught in a bind
James Lerk
Bendigonians believed they had a solution to the sanitation question that was beneficial for both the city and the Shire of Strathfieldsaye. Keck’s land, where the night soil was being deposited, was just inside Strathfieldsaye’s boundary. On the Bendigo side it was touted t..
21-Sep-2017
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Resisting co-operation
James Lerk
Herbert Keck was determined to improve his soil quality. For some considerable time the Bendigo council and councillors had been investigating the best methods of night soil removal. By the middle of 1891 the councillors had decided that they should use a daytime collection service for the p..
14-Sep-2017
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Keck in court
James Lerk
When I began this series about Herbert Keck, our readers will recollect that mention was made of how he had approached the Bendigo council in 1890 in respect of depositing the city’s night soil on his land. As told at the time, Keck’s property was just over the city border in the..
07-Sep-2017
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On the council
James Lerk
The Strathfieldsaye Shire had three main sources of revenue from its ratepayers in the late 1890s, fruit and vine growing, mixed agriculture and gold mining. Strathfieldsaye fruit was being sold in the markets of Europe, with local growers being awarded for the quality of what was offered. ..
31-Aug-2017
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Keck on the council
James Lerk
Even before Herbert Keck had sufficient spare time, independent financial means and had become a well known public figure, he was thinking about the myriad ways in which he could serve the public. At different times ratepayers in the Shire of Strathfieldsaye had broached the subject of Keck ..
24-Aug-2017
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Water mattered
James Lerk
I have mentioned the keenness with which Herbert Keck had used irrigation in developing his orchard, horticultural and nursery activities on his site. The Bendigo business prospered under the drive and initiative that Herbert took, however he was also a great exponent of irrigation developm..
18-Aug-2017
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Gypsum at the lake
James Lerk
North of what is now the Terrick Terrick National Park lies Bald Rock, situated to the east of Pyramid Hill, the area has natural deposits of gypsum, a very useful soil improver, particularly for clays. The knowledge of the deposits at Timm’s Lake had caught the eye of Herbert Keck an..
04-Aug-2017
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Harvesting the crops
James Lerk
Mention has been made about the many different varieties of fruit and vegetables that were grown by Herbert Keck on a commercial basis. Keck grew melons in profusion as he did the Turk Caps or squashes, however the pumpkins were only for weightlifters to harvest as most weighed in at over 30..
27-Jul-2017
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Keck's original
James Lerk
Early in June when I began writing about Herbert Keck, I mentioned that he had at least one plant that bore his name. This plant was “Keck’s Special”, a camellia so named because it had been bred by Herbert Keck himself. The camellia originates from Southern China and has b..
20-Jul-2017
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