PALL MALL could become a center for the preservation of history under one idea circulating to deal with sweeping changes in the area.
It is one of many potential plans swirling for the wider stretch of road from Sacred Heart Cathedral to Bendigo TAFE's McCrae Street campus.
All are in very early stages and many are being prompted as lawyers, judges and TAFE students prepare to move into newly constructed buildings around Hargreaves Street.
Greater Bendigo's mayor Jennifer Alden said one idea was to create a centre for education on conservation and preservation.
"There's a question about whether particular heritage buildings and institutions in the area could lend themselves to those sorts of activities," she said.
The location could be ideal giving its proximity to the Bendigo Tramways restoration sheds, as well as multiple museums and galleries, Cr Alden said.
If you remove the cenotaph, I promise you that the Eureka Stockade would likened to a Teddy Bear's Picnic compared to the battle that would rage in Bendigo.- Max O'Halloran, then-president of the Bendigo RSL in 1991, reacts to a later-abandoned proposal
Meanwhile, a question mark hangs over the future of the Bendigo Law Courts, which will empty out once when construction works finish on a new building in Hargreaves Street.
"It is a great opportunity for us to look at this as a wider precinct, because we have this backbone going right along High Street and Pall Mall," Cr Alden said
"If you look at what we [already] promote to tourists you have all these attractions like the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Soldiers Memorial Institute, Golden Dragon Museum and a range of others.
"So the question becomes what we do to complement all of those offerings."
Multiple groups are eyeing other opportunities in several of Bendigo TAFE's historic McCrae Street buildings, which are quickly becoming surplus to student needs.
The Bendigo Historical Society is considering moving its archives there.
The group needs to move its extensive collection out of an overflowing Nolan Street building but is yet to work out where its fragile collection will be stored.
The TAFE idea is still in its infancy and a lot of questions remain over the site's suitability, the group's president Jim Evans said.
"But let's put it this way, we are very interested in that site," he said.
Moving the archives to the TAFE buildings could complement the museum that the Friends of the School of Mines are currently considering for the same buildings.
That museum would be housed on the same campus where an illustrious natural history collection once stood before it collapsed into wrack and ruin in the mid-20th century.
Historical groups have previously considered installing a museum at the law courts but hold a number of concerns including over the layout of the heritage building, which was not designed to display collections.
Other ideas include making it easier for people to cross Pall Mall on foot or bicycles, especially through the civic centre Charing Cross.
That will likely include "priority crossings" across Pall Mall, according to a 2020 city centre strategy. The council says many people feel the road is a "barrier" to them walking and cycling through the area.
Some past ideas would likely still be a bridge too far.
A 1991 proposal to replace the fountain intersection's traffic lights with a roundabout prompted a heated reaction from the then-Bendigo RSL president, who was furious that anyone would contemplate relocating the area's cenotaph to Rosalind Park.
"If you remove the cenotaph, I promise you that the Eureka Stockade would likened to a Teddy Bear's Picnic compared to the battle that would rage in Bendigo," then-president Max O'Halloran said after the Bendigo Trust's idea was revealed in the press.
Mr O'Halloran declared he did not want to see the cenotaph's prominence undermined, or as he put it, to "rust away behind some trees".
The roundabout was never installed.
There is no suggestion that anyone is considering reviving that idea today.
The story merely illustrate some of the planning challenges that can arise along a stretch of road with so many culturally and historically significant structures.
Cr Alden said change without controversy was possible.
"Some people are fans of restoring verandahs," she said, referring to the push to bring back structures taken down in the mistaken belief it would make the street safer for cars.
Others had plans to expose the original facades on a building at the corner of Pall Mall and Mitchell Street, which is currently covered in controversial cream cladding.
Still more had found creative ways to extend buildings.
"A good example of that is at the Soldiers Memorial Institute building. The new gallery area out the back is a wonderful example of an environmentally sustainable design, and the possibilities for adaptive reuse," Cr Alden said.
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