Chinese Joss House

Major Landscaping and rejuvenation project, project specification and project management

Client City of Greater Bendigo Property Department

Budget Design and implementation $50K

Design Brief

The Chinese Joss House is a highly significant place of worship dating from the 1850’s. Saved from demolition in the 1970’s, it was refurbished and operated as a successful tourist attraction until the late 1980’s when declining visitor numbers, a lack of maintenance and declining volunteer numbers saw the building all but close. Taken over by the Council in 2007, an injection of capital funding was intended to improve the external appearance and attractiveness of the property. Works included replacement of fence with a replica of the original fence, construction of a path from the nearby tourist tram stop, new artwork and signage, earthworks and gravelling of the car park, landscaping and planting works to the property and general improvement of the appearance.

Design Solution

While the project went some way to improving the appearance of the property, I identified other areas that would increase the impact of the rejuvenation, including external painting, renovation and stocking of the ceremonial fish pond, exterior lighting, additional tree planting and placement of street furniture along the path. Significant savings were obtained in the civil works including the car park, path and heavy earthmoving associated with the landscaping, and a sympathetic property manager was able to channel some additional funds to the project. I was also able to obtain funding to stabilise the external murals on the building which were deteriorating significantly, and a conservator was employed to undertake these works.

Additionally, a three-year plan was established to undertake further works to complete the rejuventation, and funds were budgeted from the property department.