Address: 75 Hargreaves Street
Phone: (03) 5442 2821
Opening Hours: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
|Tour||Adult||Conc.||Child||Family|| Book now
|Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram Tour||$17.50||$16.00||$11.00||$51.00|
|Depot and Workshop Tour||$10.00||$8.00||$5.00||$27.00|
|Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram
and Depot Tour
|Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram and Mine Experience Tour at Central Deborah Gold Mine||$43.00||$38.50||$24.50||$120.50|
|Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram and Underground Adventure Tour at Central Deborah Gold Mine||$92.50||$82.00||$57.00||$266.50|
|Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram and Bendigo Joss House Temple||$21.00||$19.00||$13.50||$62.00|
|Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram, Mine Experience and BendigoJoss House Temple||$48.00||$43.00||$28.00||$137.00|
|Bendigo Experience Pass||$56.50||$50.00||$31.50||$155.00|
|Bendigo Explorer Pass||$128.50||$116.50||$88.00||NA|
Please Note: Family = 2 Adults and up to 4 Children
Are you a local? Get your Bendigo Ambassador Pass from the Visitor Information Centre today and qualify for a FREE Vintage ‘Talking’ Tram tour and entry to many other Bendigo attractions when bringing along another full paying friend or relative. To find out more call the Visitor Information
Centre toll free on: 1800 813 153
The following concessions are accepted at Bendigo Tramways:
- Senior Cards (National and International)
- Carer Companion Cards
- Full-time students
- Centrelink Healthcare Cardholders
- All TPI’s
Tram TimetablesTimetables are on display at each of the tram stops and you will be provided with a timetable when purchasing your tram ticket. Click on the service links below to download the appropriate timetable.
- Daily Timetable: 60 minute service
- Spring School Holidays: 19 September - 4 October 2015: 30 minute service
- Melbourne Cup Long Weekend: 31 October - 2 November 2015: 30 minute service
- Summer School Holidays: 27 December 2015 - 26 January 2016: 30 minute service
Bendigo Discovery Centre
Address: 7 Railway Place, Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5444 4400
Opening Hours: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Hours and Admission
Discovery is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation
that is open daily from 10:00am-4:00pm.
Discovery is closed on Christmas Day and for the month of February.
|Child under 5:||Complimentary|
- Family is 2 Adults and up to 4 Children
- Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by someone over 16 years of age.
- All shows and activities are included in Discovery’s general admission price.
- Each admission allows you to come and go as often as you like within one day.
- From time to time Discovery host special events and activities which may incur an extra charge. These events will be communicated in advance on our website.
- Discovery is a not-for-profit organisation. Entry fees to visit Discovery directly support its exhibits and educational programs. We value and encourage your support.
Sit back, relax on a bean bag and immerse yourself in the world above as we take you on a guided journey around the solar system, opening up the universe in a whole new way.
With shows daily, you will be guided through the cosmos, venturing to places you’ve never seen. Each 20 minute show explores the wonders of astronomy and showcases the limitless phenomena in the sky above.
- Weekdays: 1:30pm
- Weekends: 11:30am and 1:30pm
- Victorian School Holidays: 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm
Entry to the Bendigo Planetarium is included in Discovery general admission.
If you would like any more information about the Bendigo Planetarium please contact our Planetarium Coordinator, Craig Kendal, at [email protected]
Address: Sidney Myer Place (Rosalind Park end of Williamson Street), Bendigo
Opening Hours: 9.00 am-1.00 pm 2nd Saturday of Every Month
AboutProviding the Bendigo community with fresh, regional and seasonal produce.
The Bendigo Community Farmers Market is on the 2nd Saturday of each month, right in the middle of the CBD, in Sidney Myer Place. With a traditional market square atmosphere and VFMA accreditation, the market is held from 9.00 am-1.00 pm. Enjoy gorgeous produce, support your local Farmers and Producers, and really connect with your food and its growers!
ProducersYear Round Stalls
|Australian Pumpkin Seed Co||Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil and more. The FIRST and ONLY Australian grown pumpkin seeds! More info.|
|Avonmore Estate||Gorgeous certified bio-dynamic local wines from up the road in Elmore. Try their Shiraz! More info.|
|Ballarat Mushroom Farm||Fantastic fresh and marinated mushrooms, plus mushroom growing kits and mushroom compost. More info.|
|Bliss Blend||Great tasting organic tea blends… to invigorate, soothe and detox! Kathy has tastings and tea for sale at each market. More info.|
|Boosey Creek Cheese||Fantastic cheeses made by Ken Cameron in Boosey. Try their Grated Burramine Blue with some good bread. Divine. More info.|
|Brick Lane Curry||Handcrafted British Style Indian curries, made right here in Bendigo. More info.|
|Camboer Boer Goat Meat||Did you know that goat meat is the most eaten red meat in the world? Ian and Ruth bring all sorts of cuts (roasts, sausages, racks and chops) to us from nearby Echuca. More info.|
|Choclartiste||Hand crafted chocolates made using fine Belgian chocolate here in Bendigo. Susan Schrieber makes individual works of chocolate art that are almost too impressive to eat. (But you won’t be able to resist!) More info.|
|Cooper’s Hand Made Pies||Cooper’s delicious pies are baked fresh in Yarrawonga using the freshest quality local ingredients, which makes them the tastiest pie you will ever eat. More info.|
|Dawson’s Honey||The real deal, this beautiful honey is produced by Chris & June Dawson from bees that feed on carefully selected flowers around Victoria. It is very carefully treated so as to bring you the purest and best honey flavours.|
|Dhaba at the Mill||The simple authenticity of fresh Indian curries served from the famous Dhaba Food Truck. More info.|
|Erindale Farm||Erindale Farm is a fifth generation, family owned property 25 minutes from Bendigo, specialising in lamb and beef production. They do everything themselves, which means you receive tender meat of the highest quality and freshest flavour – guaranteed. More info.|
|Golden Triangle Hydroponics||From Bagshot, these are gorgeous hydroponic tomatoes that sell like hotcakes.|
|Golden Yolk Eggs||Genuine free range eggs: tastier, healthier, more environmentally friendly and more humane. Kristy Kean lets her chickens be chickens!|
|Goldfield Treats||Gluten free, raw bliss balls and dukkahs, produced in Castlemaine. More info.|
|Goldfields Farm Baked Goodies||Christine Sheahan offers a gorgeous and extensive range of cakes and meringues.|
|Hey Presto Espresso||The all-important stall – coffee! Nigel and Bec use Jonesy’s milk and organic coffee beans, as well as teas and hot chocolate. They also have a range of the lovely mineral water from Daylesford & Hepburn Springs Mineral Water Co. More info.|
|Ilinka’s Country Delights||Home cooked traditional burek, baklava and bagels: just what you need to keep your strength up while you’re shopping.|
|Jamie’s Fine Dressings||Jamie’s Fine Dressings are made from fresh and local ingredients from the Swan Hill Region. Handmade, using local, regional and other Australian products, they are produced in a caring, environmentally friendly & home style manner. More info.|
|Just Jams||Homemade artisan jams made with love in Bendigo Victoria. Real fruit flavours and enticing combinations make these jams rather special.More info.|
|Kangaroo Hills Organic Farm||Fresh vegetables and wine from a small mixed organic farm at Blampied near Daylesford in Victoria. A a fourth generation farm, it is managed using sustainable farming practices and has been certified organic since 1989. More info.|
|Kingfisher Citrus||These are the kids’ hit of the market! With fantastic fresh oranges, orange juice squeezed before your eyes and the ever popular juice icypoles, make sure you visit Kingfisher.|
|Kyirong Emus||A beautiful skin care range made with emu oil, a traditional Indigenous Australian remedy. Emu oil is is naturally high in Omega 3, 6 and 9, Oleic acid (for skin repair) and Linolenic acid (an anti-inflammatory) and contains high levels of Vitamin K2, making our creams, moisturisers and soaps perfect for the most sensitive skin. More info.|
|La Dolce Vita Artisan Bakery||Beautiful, freshly baked sourdough breads from Shepparton.|
|Locheilan Cheese||Sue has a fantastic range of cheeses, and is a market favourite. Check out her fabulous feta or Stilton style blue. More info.|
|McIvor Farm Foods||McIvor Farm Foods is the passion of Jason & Belinda Hagan who farm naturally & ethically, respecting all living creatures on the land, farming Free Range Berkshire pigs and producing a premium quality, great tasting pork,smoked hams and bacon. More info.|
|Nashi||Fresh, lively and full of flavour, nashi pear juice (still and sparkling) and award winning nashi pear sparkling wine. More info.|
|Oak Farm||Homemade quiches, cordials, cakes, biscuits, relishes, flowers and vegetables; produced in the heart of the Macedon Ranges foodie belt, just outside Kyneton.|
|Olive Branch Preserves||Amanda Worth has taken over the reins from Ron and Laima Paine, making a fantastic range of preserves up the road in Taradale. Check out their wonderful Trampy Tomato relish at the Farmers Market Breakfast stall. More info.|
|Piper Street Food Company||Piper Street Food Company, based in Kyneton, specialises in charcuterie, the ancient French art of creating terrine, sausage, rillettes and pâtés. More info.|
|Pud for all Seasons||Makers of Traditional & Contemporary Gourmet Puddings, these are gorgeous. Not only for Christmas, their pud balls are perfect with coffee. More info.|
|Salutè Oliva||With multi -award winning olives and olive oil, Salute are a key stallholder at the market. Taste the kalamata olives and glimpse heaven now. More info.|
|Splitters Creek Olives||Taste locally grown table olives and olive oil by Marijke in Junourton. More info.|
|Spring Creek Organics||Lisa & David’s gorgeous freshly picked organic veggies. Their stall is not hard to spot as you walk into the market from Pall Mall with their wide range of bright, heirloom varieties.|
|Sweet Sisters||Scrumptious, sweet biscuits, cakes and other treats, made by Alexandria in Bamawm, Victoria. Try them and you’ll be back. More info.|
|Taste of the Orient||Delicious handmade dumplings and spring rolls – do not miss out! More info.|
|The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery||Bendigo’s very own cult bakery, the Good Loaf has fantastic breads, cakes and muffins, baked fresh. More info.|
|Verduci’s Fruit & Veg||Frank and Maria grow a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegies in Cobram, Victoria. Come by to see what’s in season!|
|Vintage Kitchen||A range of home made preserves, jams and sauces. Sue Gerdsen is a food forager who uses seasonal produce in her delicious range.|
|VJ & S Stasey||Fantastic fruit and veggies grown in Stanhope by Victor and Sophia. VFMA accredited, and very popular.|
|Warialda Belted Galloway Beef||Delicious heritage bred beef that has been reared and aged with care by Allen and Lizette Snaith. Fantastic beef, sausages and pies. Try the bresaola. More info.|
|Western Port Mussel Supplies||Seasonal mussels, scallops, oysters and wakame seaweed, harvested and packaged with care and attention. The company is owned by Mike Houghton and Ric Devries who have worked in Victorian commercial fishing and diving industries for many years. More info.|
|400 Acres||‘Paddock eggs’ (from chooks that follow behind a herd of grazing organic dairy herd) and creamy, unpasteurised ‘bath milk’, sold for cosmetic use. More info.|
|A & B Trees||Grown in nearby Heathcote, Liz sells veggie seedlings (including heirloom varieties) and indigenous plants. More info.|
|Alkira Organics seasonal||A wide range of flavoursome, organic fruits and vegetables, including stone fruits, grapes and melons. More info.|
|Alpine Cherries & Chestnuts||Delicious fresh and roasted chestnuts from the lower slopes of Mount Buffalo. More info.|
|Bernie’s Potatoes||Fresh spuds from Trentham. With its rich red soil, it’s prime Victorian potato growing country.|
|Crossie’s Cardos||Beautiful avocadoes and corn. (Seasonal stall) Andrew & Sarah Crossman have over 1000 avocado trees planted in Torrumbarry, 20 minutes from Echuca. There are 11 varieties of avocados planted, with an aim of producing year round fruit.|
|Fritz Noggerath Proteas||Stunning protea flowers, cut fresh from the farm in Pheasant Creek, and sold in big bunches or as individual stems.|
|Goldfields Revegetation||Karin Harding brings selections from this specialist native plant nursery in Mandurang with over 2000 indigenous and selected native species for all your gardening, landscaping, farming and environmental needs. More info.|
|Greenvale Farming||Richie and Anne May hail from Kingston, near Daylesford and bring us the most beautiful potatoes. Stock up with a large bag to share with neighbours! Fresh as they come, these spuds have been grown in the well known rich soils of the region.|
|Harcourt Apples||The Peeler/Pollard family have been growing apples in the Harcourt region for generations, and are well known locally for their delicious apples and pears, grown just down the road in Elphinstone. Heather and Gary are with us mid-Autumn to mid-Spring.|
|Harcourt Ridge Farm||Cherries, garlic, plums, and seasonal veggies grown in Harcourt.|
|Holy Goat Cheese||Award winning handmade chèvre from Anne-Marie and Carla’s organic farm in Sutton Grange. More info.|
|Ig’s Figs||Beautiful fresh figs and yummy fig products, grown and produced by Ian and Glennis in Moama, NSW. More info.|
|KNM Berries||Seriously, the best strawberries you have ever tasted.|
|Martin’s of Tatalia Cherries||Fresh cherries and cherry ice cream in season. When it comes to cherries, more is better! More info.|
|Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens||A family-run business that prides itself on growing healthy certified organic fruit that tastes good. The farm, nestled at the foot of Mt Alexander, is planted like an old fashioned ‘garden’ with small plantings of more than 80 varieties, including apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums. More info.|
|Shambani Garlic||Hamish and Lindy grow some of the best garlic you’re likely to see. Grown in Junortoun, Victoria, where the climate is ideal for growing garlic. More info.|
|Somerset Park Walnuts||Fresh walnuts, just picked, from Strathfieldsaye. Colin saves some especially for us, as the rest of his quality produce is snapped up before it’s even picked! Nothing like the packaged nuts you get from the supermarket; these are fresh and sweet! (Seasonal stall)|
|Spring Hill Peony Farm||One of the loveliest of all cut flowers, Mac and Nickys’ peonies are a real treat for the Spring season.|
|Yapunyah Meadow Grazed Chickens||On their farm, Ian and Mandy McClaren raise good wholesome chemical and GM free chickens that are grazed on fresh green grass daily. You can taste the difference! More info.|
Ironbark Riding Centre
Address: 189 Watson St, White Hills
Phone: (03) 5436 1565
Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm Daily
|Riding Lessons available (per hour)||$45.00|
|Half Day (approx 4 hours)||$100.00|
|Full Day (approx 8 hours) and includes lunch||$150.00|
|* Visa, Mastercard & Bankcard accepted.|
AboutEnjoy the beautiful bushland Ironbark has a large range of horses, from Sally the old faithful who is great for kids and beginners to Max which will keep the experienced riders on there toes. Ironbark is fully insured and safety helmets are provided. setting of the Ironstone Reserve and the many tracks and trails of the Whipstick State National Park. Whether it's a early morning stroll or a late afternoon canter into the sunset we will make sure its a well enjoyed one. Fully stocked kiosk and licensed bar is always open for the thirsty rider! Sheltered & Outdoor BBQ Facilities are available! An open camp fire area is provided close by the kiosk and bar where groups of riders can gather to unwind & talk about there days adventure!
Central Deborah Gold Mine
Address: 76 Violet Street, Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5443 8255
Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Central Deborah Gold Mine is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation open from 9:00am to 5:00pm every day except Christmas Day.
|Mine Experience Tour:
AM: 9:30am, 11:00am
PM: 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm
Click here for School Holiday Times
|Underground Adventure Tour:
Daily at 11:00am and 2:00pm
|Nine Levels of Darkness
10:30am Mon – Sat
Excl. Public Holidays
- Age Limits: Children must be at least three years of age to descend underground on a Mine Experience Tour, 8 years of age for the Underground Adventure Tour and 15 years of age to participate in Nine Levels of Darkness.
- Family: Two adults and up to four children.
- Mine Experience Tours operate more frequently during Victorian school holidays.Click here for tour times.
- Vintage ‘Talking’ Trams depart from Central Deborah Gold Mine every hour from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Tour and Package Prices:
|Nine Levels of DarknessTo book, please phone (03) 5443 8322l||$199||$199||NA||NA|
|Self guided surface tour||$15.00||$12.50||$7.50||$40.00|
|Mine Experience & Vintage Talking Tram||$43.00||$38.50||$24.50||$120.50|
|Underground Adventure &Vintage Talking Tram||$92.50||$82.00||$57.00||$266.50|
Vintage Talking Tram
& Joss House Entry
|Bendigo Experience Pass||$56.50||$50.00||$31.50||$155.00|
|Bendigo Explorer Pass||$128.50||$116.50||$88.00||N/A|
Level of Service
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Mine Experience Tour
Don a hard hat and miner’s lamp, descend 61 metres beneath the surface of Bendigo and walk in the footsteps of past miners!
Become enthralled by Bendigo’s underworld as you are guided through the honeycomb of underground tunnels with one of our friendly and knowledgeable guides.
With only the light on your cap to light the path you will discover what conditions as a miner were really like during the harsh gold rush era.
Afterwards, explore the surface of the mine with its treasure trove of vintage mining machinery, gold panning and interpretive museum.
Tour Duration: 75 minutes
Tour Depth: 61 metres underground to Level 2
Access: Via an industrial Lift
Fitness: All levels
Age Limit: 3 years and over. Visitors aged 3-15 must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years of age.
Accessibility: This tour is wheel chair accessible
Adult $30.00 Conc. $26.50 Child (5-15) $16.00 Family* $83.00
Daily Tour Times:
AM: 9:30am, 11:00am
PM: 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm
Public Holiday and School Holiday Tour Times:
Spring School Holidays: 19 September – 4 October
AM: 9:30, 10:15, 11:00, 11:45
PM: 12:30, 1:15, 2:00, 2:45, 3:30
- *Family = 2 adults and up to 4 children
- Everyone who takes part in this tour is required to wear a hardhat at all times
- Closed footwear is highly recommended
- It is an average of 16 degrees underground, don’t forget to bring a jacket
- Maximum of 20 people per group
- Food cannot be taken underground
- Don’t forget to bring your camera! You’ll want to remember this adventure!
- Please arrive 10-15 minutes early and make sure you go to the toilet before the tour commences
Translation Sheets: We have French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Spanish translations available for the Mine Experience Tour
For more information about our Mine Experience Tour or to make a booking just give our friendly Bookings Office a call on (03) 5443 8255 or send us an email.
Facilities and Accessibility
- Accessibility for wheelchairs and prams
Our reception area, surface of the mine and the Mine Experience Tour are all wheelchair accessible. Prams can be used in our reception area and on the surface of the mine. Unfortunately prams can’t be taken underground, however you are more than welcome to leave them with us at reception.
- Accessible Toilets
A disabled toilet and baby change facilities are located on the surface of the mine.
- Accessible Parking
Car, bus and disabled parking is available at the rear of Central Deborah Gold Mine in Creek Street North. Additional parking is also available across the creek on Creek Street South.
- Carers and Companion Cards
Show your Carer or Companion Card to our reception staff on arrival to receive complimentary entry on our Mine
- Translation Sheets
We have translation sheets available in French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Spanish for our Mine
- Food and beverage
Enjoy our coffee, cold drinks and selection of cakes and chocolate bars. Or if you are looking for something a little bit more substantial, Beechworth Bakery, the National Hotel and Pizza Hut are all within walking distance.
- Booking Facilities
Need help planning and booking your visit? Just give our friendly Bookings Coordinator a call on (03) 5443 8255.
Our Bookings Coordinator can book tours at multiple attractions in Bendigo, so planning your next visit is easy!
Alternatively, click here to book online.
- Bendigo Ambassador Pass
Are you a Bendigo local? Sign up for a Bendigo Ambassador Pass when you are booking your tour and qualify for
a FREE Mine Experience tour and entry to many other Bendigo attractions when bringing along another full paying adult.
Joss House Temple
Address: Emu Point/Finn Street Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5442 1685
Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
|TIMES, PRICES AND PACKAGES|
|The Joss House is an ideal stop for touring groups wishing to learn about a fascinating aspect of Bendigo’s history. Up to 20 people can be taken on a tour at a time (but larger groups can also be accommodated). Our Bookings Officer will be able to tailor the tour to suit your needs.We understand that finding time to arrange group outings is often difficult, so we are happy to go the extra mile to reduce the time it takes and the stress involved in getting everything organised. Call us and book for any of the attractions below in one convenient place …
For more information about any of these attractions, or to receive a quote, just phone or friendly Bookings Officer during office hours on (03) 5443 8255.
Golden Dragon Museum
Address: 1-11 Bridge St, Bendigo
Phone: (03) 5441 5044
Opening Hours: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Hours & Pricing
Museum gallery opening times 9:30am – 5:00pm everyday except Christmas Day
Yi Yuan Garden and Kuan Yin Temple opening times 9:30am – 4:30pm everyday except Christmas Day
Golden Dragon Museum, Yi Yuan Gardens and Kuan Yin Temple
Children (5-14) $6
Family $28 (family inc 2 Adults and up to 4 children)
Adults $10 Concession $8
EXHIBITS AND COLLECTIONS
1880s textile collection of the Bendigo Chinese Association
The Bendigo Chinese Association imported costumes from Canton (Guangzhou) for the Easter Fair in 1882. More pieces were imported for the 1892 fair, and early in the twentieth century, the dwindling Beechworth Chinese community donated items dating from the 1870s. These historic processional costumes combine to create a rich and diverse cast of symbolic characters that originate from the highly theatrical world of Chinese opera.
Images of the collection
GDM Details (826 KB)
1880s textile collection of the Bendigo Chinese Association Book
On permanent display is Loong – the worlds oldest Imperial dragon from the 19th century. Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number 2120.
Sun Loong (New Dragon)
Sun Loong is the worlds longest Imperial Dragon. On display, his body stretches around the purpose built Sun Loong gallery. Sun Loong arrived in 1970, and appears every year in the Easter Festival Gala Parade.
Horrie Bridges Collection
Horrie Bridges was a local Bendigo man with a passion for collecting foreign currency. Over many years and several trips to China he amassed a comprehensive collection of Chinese currency. He donated this to the museum in 1991. The collection contains several Zhou Dynasty era pieces of knife money. The earliest round coins in the collection are two Qin Dynasty ones. From there the collection of ancient Chinese coinage is vast and comprehensive. Horrie Bridges also collected paper money. All of the paper items are from the 20th century. There are notes from the Republic of China era, 1912-1949, there are notes from the People’s Republic as well as some rare notes from Manchukuo. This collection is believed to be the largest collection of Chinese currency on display anywhere in Australia.
Dai Gum San Wax Works Collection
The Dai Gum San Wax Works closed down in the late 1980s. It contained a range of wax Chinese figures including a likeness of Dr Sun Yat-sen. All these figures were given into the care of the Bendigo Chinese Association and when the Golden Dragon Museum opened they were an important part of the displays. These wax figures were made in Hong Kong by Vivian Sun. They arrived in Bendigo in 1973.
The Great Stupa
Address: 25 Sandhurst Town Rd, Myers Flat
Phone: (03) 5446 7568
Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
A Little About Stupas
by Dr. Garrey Foulkes
Some 35 years ago at a monastery in Nepal a German man asked me if I could help him build a thing called a stupa on the top of a small hill. I knew nothing about stupas but had time on my hands and some building skills so I agreed to do this. After we had finished the foundations we went down one morning to find that all of the bricks had been stolen so we got no further and I continued with my travels, albeit with some strange feeling that there was something a little uncomfortable about abandoning this task; that some connection had been made and it was not being fulfilled.
About ten years later I was living with my young family in a Buddhist centre in Queensland when our teacher, Lama Thubten Yeshe passed away and the request came through that we should build a stupa in his memory. This was to become the first major Tibetan-style stupa built in Australia and quite possibly the Southern hemisphere and it was to be the beginning of a long and wonderfully fortunate journey that has kept me busily involved with stupas to this day.
Why I mention this lies in the interest I have relating to why did this all come about? What was it that made something so alien to a young Western traveller have such an effect on the whole of the rest of one’s life? Of course, as time went by, and more and more research was done into the meaning of stupas, it began to come clearer that these structures, that represent the fully enlightened mind of the Buddha, have immense power to influence our lives. It is said that every single sentient being that comes into contact with a stupa will benefit: it is like a subtle seed being planted in the mind- stream of those beings and sometime in the future, when the circumstances are right for that seed to develop, our minds will meet with conditions that give us the opportunity to connect with and follow the teachings of the Buddha in accordance to our pre- determined Karma.Maybe it was like this for me? Maybe I just got lucky?, or maybe, as I’m sure at least some of my friends think, I’m just another nutty person wasting my life building strange objects.
Given that I have been kindly asked to be a part of this important event and to say something about stupas I feel it would be helpful to give a very brief account about the symbolism and general meaning of these amazing buildings. Of course the subject is vast, covering many centuries of development; from simple mounds of earth all the way up to the great and elaborate stupas of Borobudur, Svayambhunath, Bodhnath, Gyantse and those throughout S.E. Asia. Countless others, ancient and modern, ruined and still standing, stretch from Afghanistan to Japan and more recently, with the spread of Dharma teachings, into almost all Western countries. Even in my own country Australia there are at least twenty large stupas including a same- size replica of the Great stupa of Gyantse which is rapidly nearing completion.
The Great Stupa will house a vast collection of sacred Buddhist relics including those of Shakyamuni Buddha, Kasyapa Buddha and the 16 Arhants. These relics have been offered from many Buddhist traditions including Chinese, Tibetan, Thai, Burmese and Mongolian.Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche has said that in order to make the stupa powerful and beneficial it is very important that many holy objects of Shakyamuni Buddha, Saints, Gurus, Bodhisattvas and Yogis be gathered.There is currently a selection of Holy Relics on tour with the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace.
“This tour touches the hearts of many and without doubt leaves positive imprints on their mind. Needless to say, the opportunity to make offerings, to pay homage to one relic is rare and let alone a collection from holy beings of many traditions. It is a great way of to promote non-sectarianism in Buddhism and bring harmony among traditions. For this, I trust you have pleased Buddhas of ten directions.”
“It was truly a privilege and an honour to support the Holy Relic Tour and be part of fulfilling Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wishes. I felt very joyful that I had the opportunity to offer a personal blessing of the relics to so many people on the last day. I offer my heartfelt thanks for making this and the Great Stupa Holy Relic Tour of Perth possible”
“The Monks were so happy to see the relics, they can’t believe that there are so many at one place.”
View a poem on the holy relics by Vietnamese Master Kim Tam Thich Hanh Niem
Over 120 Holy relics can be seen at the Great Stupa Exhibition Centre, Bendigo. Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang with Lan, Ian and Judy at the Quang Duc Temple stage of the 2008 tour.