Cultural & Charitable Foundation

Aspire Precinct moves a step closer

MEDIA RELEASE for immediate use

28 April 2017

Aspire Precinct moves a step closer

Bendigo's new tourist gateway moved a step closer with the lodgement of a planning application for the Aspire Precinct.

Aspire Foundation's submission to Bendigo Council yesterday proposed a $10-plus million multi-function development of the site adjacent to the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

The State Government has committed $5 million to the project, which features a large geodesic dome and is described as "a landmark development of Bendigo's major entrance".

Work on stage one, which will include a "world class" 4D cinematic experience as the centrepiece of the precinct, is due to start this year if approved.

Chairman of the Aspire Cultural and Charitable Foundation, Gordon McKern, said the 4D cinema would be a premier tourist drawcard.

"It will tell the stories of Bendigo's history in a quite thrilling way, with film, sound, movement and sensory stimulation.

"The content is being developed by some of Australia's top creative people who spent time here and were blown away with the depth and variety of Bendigo's stories.

"There will be no other experience like this in Australia and we believe it alone will attract many visitors to the city.

"For many years Bendigonians have lamented the lack of a museum showcasing our history; Aspire well and truly supersedes a static display and will build on recent innovations such as Marilyn to create a permanent major attraction."

Plans for the Aspire Precinct were developed collaboratively by Bendigo architects Y2 Architecture and Melbourne's Karl Fender. The project manager is Tierney Property Group.

The precinct will also feature indoor and outdoor areas for community gatherings and events. There will be an education and resource centre with programs for all age groups, as well as a business hub that will include a café, retail outlet, spaces for business meetings and events, parishioner and social gatherings and more.

The former Haymes Paint building will be transformed into a modern facade behind which features a prominent geodesic dome housing the 4D cinema. The precinct will connect to the cathedral via a landscaped serpentine pathway winding up the hill.

The plan submitted to Council shows the precinct being built in three stages.

The proposal complements the features of existing Short St parish hall building and the cathedral through selection of building and landscape materials and finishes.

The State Government funding has already been augmented with private donations and Mr McKern said his board would now ramp up its funding efforts to build on the momentum created.

"Our aim now is to get moving on the project and to present the Federal Government with a compelling case to join the State and invest in what is a very important project for the Bendigo community."

Aspire Foundation is now accepting donations towards its major project. Interested people can donate online at

Inquiries: Owen Davies, Aspire Foundation director 0418 521 817aspire precinct building
High Street elevation showing Artist's Impression of how the new dome will dominate the High St/Short St corner as traffic approaches central Bendigo.