Bendigo set to welcome new motorcycle attraction

A new motorcycle-themed cafe is set to open in the heart of Bendigo, the brainchild of local collector and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Dugal James.

The former Black Swan Hotel in Bendigo is about to be transformed into a motorcycle themed attraction

Dr James has had a vision of his upmarket cafe/restaurant for nearly ten years and after some delays due to COVID, and the usual tribulations such projects endure, seems set to open in the new year.

With the working title of ‘Indigo’ (a word combo of Indian and Bendigo) the former Black Swan Hotel on McRae St will be transformed into Dr James’ vision with hope that it will become a major tourism drawcard for riders and tourists alike.

With the historic and ornate city of Bendigo less than two hours from the centre of Melbourne, the former gold rush hub is a no-brainer for day rides, especially in the generous daylight saving season.


Dr Dugal James with one of his prized Indian motorcycles [The Weekly Times]
Dr Dugal James with one of his prized Indian motorcycles [The Weekly Times]
Dr James is a well-known aficionado of Indian motorcycles with what is almost certainly the largest private collection of the marque in Australia. With around 100 mainly early- to mid-20th century restored and preserved machines to display, there’s plenty to attract those with just a passing interest in motorcycles. The cream of the collection is his priceless 1901 model, one of only three survivors from the first years of production.

“It’s a very important find that I bought at auction, which was inserted into the catalogue at the last minute, so maybe didn’t attract as much attention as it normally would have,” said Dr James, who declined to reveal exactly how much he paid for it.

“I do plan to exhibit a variety of marques and styles and to also have friends’ bikes on display with the intention of having a variety of themes every two or three months to inspire repeat visits,” Dr James told ARR.

With renovation work progressing well, it is hoped the new venue will open in early 2022.