Appy days for Vahland fans

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 03-Jun-2016

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Architect William Charles Vahland was a definitive character in Bendigo’s history and now his grand designs are open 24/7 in virtual form to the public in the city.

The City of Greater Bendigo this week launched an app that once downloaded will send an alert, a location guide and information about the building or structure when you are in its vicinity.

The app, developed by South Melbourne digital innovator Isobar, is activited by beacons set high on city light poles near the building.

Isobar chief executive Konrad Spilva said it was the first time the technology had been used at a city-wide scale.

Vahland’s architecture – in the virtual tour, the app includes information on the Town Hall, the Alexandra Fountain, the Bendigo Art Gallery and the Rifle Brigade Hotel – is the starting point for what tourism manager Kathryn McKenzie described as a new way to explore the city.

Councillor Peter Cox, who sits on the council’s Heritage Advisory Committee, said Vahland was among Bendigo’s most inspiring characters.

“If there was anyone I would like to go back in time and meet, it would be William Vahland,” Cr Cox said at the launch.

Bendigo Bank chairman Robert  Johanson also supported the choice and has put the bank’s support behind fundraising efforts to restore a Vahland drinking fountain that will be placed adjacent to the historic law courts in creekside Bull Street, to be renamed William Vahland Place.

Mr Johanson said Vahland also designed cottages and was a influential board member on the building society that was a precursor to the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

His innovation made it possible for settlers living in tents to buy their own home.

The app is available on iPad and iPhone devices. Search for Vahland’s Bendigo in the app store. Donations to the fountain restoration can be made at Bendigo Bank branches.

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