A LOT on one of Bendigo's busiest roads could soon become a childcare centre, eight years after a heritage-listed building was demolished there.
A developer has asked the City of Greater Bendigo for permission to build a childcare centre near the intersection of the Eaglehawk and Marong roads in Ironbark.
The now empty land was once a foundry and precious link to Bendigo's gold rush, with clients including mining magnate George Lansell.
Then it became an "eyesore" according many, including one elected official.
"I'd be happy to see it turned into rubble," the then member for Northern Victoria Damien Drum said in 2012.
"I understand it's old, but it's ... a health hazard and it looks like it's within an inch of falling down."
By that time, the then-owners were reluctantly making plans to demolish the building in the interests of public safety.
The foundry began in 1872 and fueled Bendigo mines' insatiable demand for iron machinery, according to a Bendigo Advertiser article that marked its opening.
It gradually branched into farming equipment and other tools and in the 1910s then-owners renamed it the Golden City Implements Company.
The business never lost its sense of history, according to Yolande Collins and Mike Butcher's 2005 book Bendigo at work, an industrial history.
"To step through the doors of the Golden City Implement Works in the early 1990s was to step back in time," Collins and Butcher wrote.
"(It was a place of) massive tools, many still belt-driven by overhead shafts and pulleys. Around the machines were piles of wooden patterns, off-cuts and broken machinery parts, carefully put aside until another use could be found for them.
"Under foot was the same bare earth floor that had been trodden by generations of workers for 120 years."
Golden City closed on 24 December 1998 following the retirement of then-owner Charles Osborne.
At the time, the family hoped the City of Greater Bendigo would turn it into a major tourist attraction.
"This is one of the oldest surviving foundries in Australia, and would perfectly complement the city's other historical attractions," Charles' son Lance told the Advertiser in 2001.
"It's a fantastic reminder of Bendigo's industrial history. (However) the city or a similar community-based organisation hasn't appeared interested in purchasing it, which is a little disappointing."
Heritage Victoria listed the site and a host of equipment, tools and even rubbish at the site in 2001, about the time the Osbornes first put it on the market.
Vandals repeatedly targeted the foundry. Storms caused more damage. By 2012, Heritage Victoria had given the Osborne family permission to demolish the building to keep people safe.
"You could lean on it and it would fall over," Peter Osborne told the Advertiser.
The building was still revealing its links to Bendigo's past on its final day in 2012. The Osbornes salvaged a handful of souvenirs, including a receipt book from the 1940s.
Current owners want to build a 120-place childcare centre on the site, which Heritage Victoria "no longer (considers) to be of cultural heritage significance", according to the planning application.
The council is yet to decide whether to approve the application.
Special thanks to local historians Kay MacGregor and Darren Wright, who sourced historical documents for this story.