Our Story



From the discovery of alluvial gold in the Bendigo area in late 1851, it took only two years for the earliest breweries to be established in the rapidly growing town.

By 1853, James Lawrie and Company was operating the Sandhurst Brewery from this site which, at the time, extended to Bridge Street, but in August 1854 it was purchased by Charles and James Sayer and renamed the Norfolk Brewery. In 1858, prominent Bendigo architects Vahland and Getzschmann designed a new building for the Norfolk Brewery, which appears in a series of photographs taken by Benjamin Pierce Batcheldor in 1861.

In 1874, William Bruce, who had been involved in brewing in Bendigo since arriving in 1852, purchased the Norfolk Brewery and renamed it BB Brewery, although it appears to have been known as Bruce's Brewery. The operations of the brewery were merged with the City Brewery in 1894 and the Bridge Street site closed soon after. 

By 1911 Reed Brothers had moved to the old Bruce cordial factory in Bridge Street, Bendigo. After Joseph Reed died the business became known as J. L. & P. Reed Pty. Ltd. The company grew rapidly and they bought out Darby Brothers of Shepparton in 1946. Reed Brothers continued until they were bought out by Cohn Bros in 1966. During this period, the three storey brewhouse was demolished and new buildings constructed along the Uley Street side of the site.

Photos courtesy of State Library of Victoria.

These are images taken by Benjamin Pierce Batchelder b. 1826

        Artist (Photographer)

Benjamin Pierce Batchelder arrived in Australia with two of his brothers, both fellow photographers, in 1856. He established a successful business in Bendigo where he worked for nearly a decade before returning to the United States.

Top:             View from Bridge Street

Bottom:     View from Bayne Street

I long had the desire to upgrade to a new purpose built facility to enable a number of improvements to the services we could provide.

The timeline for this was epic. After three false starts in 2009 with properties that had promise we finally identified a property that fitted the brief. Discussions were undertaken with Bendigo Council in early 2010 and the property was bought on the basis of a favourable report.

The site chosen is described as 34-36 Uley St (corner of Bayne and Uley Streets). It is the site of one of Bendigo’s earliest breweries and has had a number of names and operators over the years with building and demolition and rebuilding on the site since the 1850’s. Whilst the 1940‘s and later building was sound, sadly the earliest buildings on the site were in a very poor shape and beyond repair.

Then followed detailed design and planning of the development by Glenn Eastwood and his team at Planwise Design with a Planning Permit being issued in December of 2010. There were some considerable restrictions in the permit, none the least of which included the need to perform site archeology and historical documentation of the areas of the building that were to be demolished. These were done and then detailed planning and specification was done to enable the job to be put out to tender in late 2011.

Luke Drummond Builders was the chosen as the contractor and final revisions and planning was conducted to enable the project to begin in late 2012.

Completed and occupied in September 2013, The Norfolk Centre won the BDAV award for Excellence in the Use of Steel in 2014.