In November 1977 an outdoor display of bonsai was arranged at Pam Caswell’s then recently opened Crusoe Nursery in Bendigo. This display was held to gauge the interest in forming a bonsai club in Bendigo, and trees were provided by Pam, and Lorna Smith and Mary Wilkinson, bonsai growers who had met through visiting the nursery, but had been unaware of each other beforehand. About 200 people came, despite century heat on the Saturday and soaking rain on the Sunday, and about 30 were interested enough to attend an inaugural meeting in March 1978 at which the Bendigo Bonsai Club was formed. Unfortunately Pam and Lorna are no longer with us, but Mary and her husband Eric are still actively involved with the club.
The number of members has fluctuated over the years from over 70 to less than 20, in a bit of a downturn several years ago. Our current membership is about 70, and we average 25 to 30 members at our meetings. We have quite a few distant members, some from Melbourne and Geelong, and from as far away as Robinvale, and even some interstate members from Adelaide, S.A. and Deniliquin and Hay in NSW.
The club is affiliated with Australian Association of Bonsai Clubs, Bonsai Federation of Australia (Southern Chapter), and the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria.
Today monthly meetings are held on the fourth Saturday afternoon of each month from February to November at the Community of Christ Hall in Havlin St West, Bendigo, and an informal social gathering and workshop is held at a member’s home on the fourth Saturday in January. Our meetings take the form of talks, demonstrations and workshops, or some combination of these. We aim to cater for beginners, as well as having some stimulus for more advanced members. We have visiting speakers and demonstrators from time to time, but most demonstrations and talks are by members. The club is fortunate in having several very experienced bonsai growers as members. David Allen, Don Deluca, Quentin Valentine and Mary Wilkinson are our principal demonstrators, but other members are also being encouraged to improve their bonsai skills, and to do demonstrations. At present the club is represented by three of the bonsai on display at the National Bonsai Collection in Canberra.
Current Committee Members and contact details:
|Vice President||David Allen|
The group meets at the Community of Christ Hall at 60 Havlin St West, Bendigo at 1.30 pm on the fourth Saturday of each month from February to November.