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Bendigo
Victoria
Bendigo View 2022.png
View of central Bendigo from Camp Hill
Bendigo is located in Victoria
Bendigo
Bendigo
Location in Victoria
Population 100,632 (2021) (19th)
 • Density 350.15/km2 (906.9/sq mi)
Established 1851
Postcode(s) 3550
Elevation 213 m (699 ft)
Area 287.4 km2 (111.0 sq mi)(2016 urban)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEST (UTC+11)
Location
LGA(s) City of Greater Bendigo
County Bendigo
State electorate(s)
  • Bendigo East
  • Bendigo West
Federal Division(s) Bendigo
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
20.7 °C
69 °F
7.5 °C
46 °F
550.7 mm
21.7 in

Bendigo ( ben-DIG-oh) is a city in Victoria, Australia, located in the Bendigo Valley near the geographical centre of the state and approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) north-west of Melbourne, the state capital.

As of 2019, Bendigo had an urban population of 100,991, making it Australia's 19th-largest city, fourth-largest inland city and the fourth-most populous city in Victoria. It is the administrative centre of the City of Greater Bendigo, which encompasses outlying towns spanning an area of approximately 3,000 km2 (1,158 sq mi) and over 111,000 people. Residents of the city are known as "Bendigonians".

The traditional owners of the area are the Dja Dja Wurrung (Djaara) people. The discovery of gold on Bendigo Creek in 1851 transformed the area from a sheep station into one of colonial Australia's largest boomtowns. News of the finds intensified the Victorian gold rush, bringing an influx of migrants from around the world, particularly Europe and China. Bendigo became eastern Australia's largest 19th century gold-mining economy, and the wealth generated during this period is reflected today in the city's Victorian architectural heritage. From 1853 until 1891, Bendigo was officially named Sandhurst.

Bendigo's boom period lasted until the early 20th century and after a temporary decline in population and employment, renewed growth occurred from the 1930s as the city consolidated as a manufacturing and regional service centre. Although gold mining continues, recent population growth has been most heavily concentrated in suburban areas. With the completion of the Calder Freeway linking Melbourne and Bendigo in 2009, and the region's proximity to Melbourne, Bendigo has become one of the fastest-growing regional centres in Victoria.

History

The original inhabitants of the Mount Alexander area that includes Greater Bendigo were the Dja Dja Wurrung (Jarra) people, who exploited the rich local hunting grounds. These grounds were eventually noticed by white settlers, who established the first of many vast sheep-runs in 1837. The Mount Alexander North sheep-run was bordered by a creek that came to be known as Bendigo, after a local shepherd nicknamed for the English bare-knuckle prizefighter William Abednego ("Bendigo") Thompson.

Gold was discovered in the area in September 1851, just after the other significant goldfields in neighbouring Castlemaine, from where many diggers migrated, bringing the total to 40,000 in less than a year. (Many of these were Chinese, whose descendants are still living in the area.) In 1853, there was a massive protest over the cost of the licence fee for prospectors, though it passed off peacefully, thanks to good diplomacy by police and miners’ leaders. From being a tent-city, the boomtown grew rapidly into a major urban centre with many grand public buildings. The municipality became a borough in 1863, officially known as Sandhurst until 1891, but always unofficially as Bendigo.

The railway had reached here by 1862, stimulating rapid growth, with flour mills, woollen mills, tanneries, quarries, foundries, eucalyptus oil production, food production industries and timber-cutting. When the alluvial gold ran out, the goldfields evolved into major mines with deep shafts to mine the quartz-based gold. Bendigo was declared a city in 1871. Rapid population growth brought a water shortage, partially solved with a new viaduct that harnessed the Coliban River. The architect William Charles Vahland left an important mark on Bendigo during this period. He is credited with the popular cottage design with verandahs decorated in iron lace, a style that was soon adopted right across the state of Victoria. Vahland also designed more than 80 buildings, including the Alexandra Fountain, arguably the most prominent monument in Bendigo, with its granite dolphins, unicorns, nymphs and allegorical figures. A tram network was in use by 1890.

After a temporary drop in population, there was renewed growth from the 1930s, as the city consolidated as a manufacturing and regional service centre, though gold mining continued till 1954. Recent growth has been most heavily concentrated in areas such as Epsom, Kangaroo Flat, Strathdale and Strathfieldsaye. In 1994 the City of Bendigo was abolished and merged with the Borough of Eaglehawk, the Huntly and Strathfieldsaye shires and the Rural City of Marong to form the larger City of Greater Bendigo. The population of the city increased from around 78,000 in 1991 to about 100,617 in 2012. Bendigo is currently one of the fastest growing regional centres in Victoria.

Land use

The City of Greater Bendigo includes Victoria's fourth largest city in Bendigo, as well as a significant rural hinterland. Smaller townships are located at Axedale, Elmore, Goornong, Heathcote, Marong and Redesdale. The city encompasses a total land area of 3,000 square kilometres, of which a significant proportion is national park, regional park, reserve or bushland. Much of the rural land is used for agricultural purposes, including poultry and pig farming, sheep and cattle grazing and vineyards. Most of the city's retail space is in the Bendigo CBD or along the main roads. There is some industrial land use in the suburbs around the CBD.

Major features

Major features of the City of Greater Bendigo include the Greater Bendigo National Park, the Heathcote-Graytown National Park, the Bendigo Regional Park, Lake Eppalock, Lake Weeroona, Ironbark Lookout, One Tree Hill Lookout, the Bendigo CBD, Lansell Plaza, Bendigo TAFE (Clinical Training Centre and BTEC, City and Charleton Road campuses), Monash University School of Rural Health (Bendigo Regional Clinical School), La Trobe University (Bendigo Campus), Bendigo School of Nursing, Bendigo Hospital, Bendigo Art Gallery, Central Deborah Gold Mine, Discovery of Gold Monument, Campaspe Run Rural Discovery Centre, the Discovery Science & Technology Centre, the Bendigo Tramways Museum, the Golden Dragon Museum, the Chinese Gardens, Bendigo Pottery, Sweenies Creek Pottery, Goldfields Mohair Farm, Hartlands Eucalyptus Factory, White Hills Botanic Gardens, Bendigo Racecourse, Diamond Hill Historic Reserve, the Campaspe River, the Great Stupa and numerous wineries.

Urban centre

Hargreaves mall bendigo
Hargreaves Mall, Bendigo's main shopping area

The central area (CBD) of Bendigo consists of approximately 20 blocks of mixed use area. The main street is the Midland Highway, the section running through the CBD is also known as "Pall Mall" while the main shopping area is centred around Hargreaves Mall.

Suburbs

The contiguous urban area of Bendigo covers approximately 82 km2 of the local government area's 3048 km.

Bendigo has several suburbs some of which (such as Eaglehawk) were once independent satellite townships and many which extend into the surrounding bushland.

Bendigo's suburbs include Ascot, California Gully, Eaglehawk, Eaglehawk North, East Bendigo, Epsom, Flora Hill, Golden Square, Golden Gully, Longlea, Junortoun, Kangaroo Flat, Kennington, Long Gully, Maiden Gully, North Bendigo, Quarry Hill, Sailors Gully, Spring Gully, Strathdale, Strathfieldsaye, West Bendigo and White Hills.

Architectural heritage

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo November 2011
Sacred Heart Cathedral is Bendigo's tallest building and a major landmark of the CBD
BendigoShamrockHotel
Shamrock Hotel (1855 rebuilt 1897 with an added balcony)

As a legacy of the gold boom Bendigo has many ornate buildings built in a late Victorian colonial style. Many buildings are on the Victorian Heritage Register and registered by the National Trust of Australia. Prominent buildings include the Bendigo Town Hall (1859, 1883–85), the Old Post Office, the Bendigo Law Courts (1892–96), the Shamrock Hotel (1897), the Institute of Technology and the Memorial Military Museum (1921) all in the Second Empire-style.

The architect Vahland encouraged European artisans to emigrate to the Sandhurst goldfields and so create a "Vienna of the south". Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral, a large sandstone church, is the third largest cathedral in Australia and one of the largest cathedrals in the Southern Hemisphere. The main building was completed between 1896 and 1908 and the spire between 1954 and 1977.

Fortuna Villa is a large surviving Victorian mansion, built for Christopher Ballerstedt and later owned by George Lansell. Many other examples of Bendigo's classical architecture rank amongst the finest classical commercial buildings in Australia and include the Colonial Bank building (1887) and the former Masonic Hall (1873–74) which is now a performing arts centre. Bendigo's Joss house, a historic temple, was built in the 1860s by Chinese miners and is the only surviving building of its kind in regional Victoria which continues to be used as a place of worship. The historic Bendigo Tram Sheds and Power Station (1903) now house Bendigo's tramway museum. The Queen Elizabeth Oval still retains its ornate 1901 grandstand.

Parks and gardens

Bendigo rosalind
Rosalind Park featuring statuary and flanked by ornate Second Empire-style buildings

The central city is skirted by Rosalind Park, a Victorian-style garden featuring statuary and a large blue stone viaduct. The main entrance corner of the park is on the intersection known as Charing Cross, formerly the intersection of two main tram lines (now only one). It features a large statue of Queen Victoria.

The Charing Cross road junction features the large ornate Alexandra Fountain (1881) and is built on top of a wide bridge which spans the viaduct. The park elevates toward Camp Hill, which features a historic school and former mine poppet head.

Further from the city is Lake Weeroona, a large ornamental lake adjacent to the Bendigo Botanical Gardens, which opened in 1869.

The gardens are home to many native species of animal including brushtailed and ring-tailed possums, ducks, coots, purple swamphens, microbats (small insect eating bats) the grey-headed flying fox, several species of lizard, owls and the tawny frogmouth.

Demographics

Bendigo Cathedral
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Australia's third tallest church building

According to the 2016 census of population, 92,379 people were in Bendigo Urban Centre.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 1.8% of the population.
  • 84.6% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 1.6%, India 0.7%, New Zealand 0.6%, Myanmar 0.5%, and Thailand 0.4%.
  • 88.1% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Karen 0.9%, Mandarin 0.5%, Malayalam 0.2%, Punjabi 0.2%, and Hindi 0.2%.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 36.2%, Catholic 22.0%, and Anglican 12.9%.

According to the City of Greater Bendigo Community Profile, the population estimate for 2019 for this area was 118,093 (0.39 persons per hectare).

Religion

In the 19th century, Catholicism was the predominant Christian faith in Bendigo. Catholic priest and pioneer George Henry Backhaus established a site in 1852 for the first Masses at Golden Square, and by the end of the year, he was camping at the site of Bendigo's first church, St Kilian's Church, completed in 1858. A wealthy man, Backhaus left his estate for the benefit of the church, which, in 1897, enabled the construction of Sacred Heart Cathedral. Completed in 1977, it is the largest church building in provincial Australia. As of 2016, Catholicism is still practiced by 22% of the population. 36.2% reported having "No Religion" in the 2016 census.

The Sandhurst Methodist Circuit (1854), serviced five Wesleyan churches which had been built in previous years. There were several church schools, but they were attended by one-fifteenth of Bendigo's school children.

The Chinese, who in the mid-19th century constituted 20% of Bendigo's population, built the heritage-listed Bendigo Joss House Temple dedicated to Kwan Tai or Lord Guan, where they practised syncretic beliefs involving ancestor worship and the three main religions of China: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Bendigo is also home to the largest stūpa in the Western world, the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, which houses the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, the world's largest gem-quality jade Buddha statue. As of 2016, Buddhism was followed by 1.4% of Bendigo people, and Islam by about 0.5%. In 2019, despite protests by several far-right and anti-Islam organisations, construction began on Bendigo's first mosque and Islamic community centre.

Culture and events

SunLoong
Sun Loong, the world's longest Imperial dragon and a major drawcard of Bendigo's Easter Festival procession

The Bendigo Art Gallery is one of Australia's oldest and largest regional art galleries. In March 2012, it hosted a royal visit from Princess Charlene of Monaco at the opening of an exhibition about Grace Kelly.

The Capital Theatre, originally the Masonic temple, is located next to the art gallery in View Street and hosts performing arts and live music. It also hosts the annual Bendigo Writers Festival, founded in 2012, which runs across the second weekend in August each year.

The Ulumbarra Theatre was opened on April 16, 2015. It was originally the Sandhurst/Old Bendigo Gaol. The renovated theatre retains some original architectural features of the gaol. The venue hosts performing arts and live music. It also acts as a ceremonial and teaching space for local secondary schools and universities.

The city hosts the Bendigo National Swap Meet for car parts every year in early November. It is regarded as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere and attracts people from all over Australia and the world.

The city hosts the Victorian event of the annual Groovin' the Moo music festival. It is held at the Bendigo Showgrounds and is usually held in late April or early May. The festival regularly sells out and brings many big Australian and international acts to the city. It also attracts thousands of people from around Victoria to the city for the weekend.

The Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival has been taking place each November since 2011. With over 80 artists from all over Australia, the not-for-profit festival is hosted in many of the venues around Bendigo, and is headlined by a large family-friendly free concert held in Rosalind Park.

The Bendigo Easter Festival is held each year and attracts tens of thousands of tourists to the city over the Easter long weekend. Attractions include parades, exhibitions and a street carnival.

The Bendigo Queer Film Festival (BQFF) is one of Australia's few regional annual festivals celebrating the Queer film genre. The BQFF started in 2004 and takes place in the second half of April.

The Festival of Light is a multicultural celebration of peace and harmony inspired by the Buddha's birthday held in May each year since 2013 at the Great Stupa. The festival's program includes dancing and musical acts followed by a fireworks display at night.

Media

Bendigo is served by two newspapers: the Bendigo Advertiser and the Bendigo Weekly. There are also seven locally based radio stations; EasyMix Ten71am and 98.3FM, Star FM, 3BO FM and ABC Local Radio as well as the community radio stations Radio KLFM 96.5, Phoenix FM, 101.5 Fresh FM and Vision Australia Radio 3BPH Bendigo 88.7 FM

Regular network television is broadcast in the Bendigo region by WIN, Prime, Southern Cross Ten, ABC and SBS. Local programming consists of 30-minute weeknight news bulletins on WIN and short news updates on Southern Cross Ten. Prime Television maintains a sales office in Bendigo.

On 5 May 2011, analogue television transmissions ceased in most areas of regional Victoria and some border regions including Bendigo and surrounding areas. All local free-to-air television services are now being broadcast in digital transmission only. This was done as part of the federal government's plan for digital terrestrial television in Australia, where all analogue television transmission is being gradually switched off and replaced with DVB-T transmission.

Music

There are several live music venues with local independent bands and artists performing on a regular basis. These venues include the Music Man Megastore, the Gold Dust Lounge at the Hotel Shamrock and the Golden Vine hotel. There also several adult choirs and the Bendigo Youth Choir which often performs overseas, the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra, the Bendigo Symphonic Band, the Bendigo & District Concert Band, several brass bands and three pipe bands. Musicians originally from Bendigo include Patrick Savage – film composer and former principal first violin of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. Australian Idol winner Kate DeAraugo grew up in Bendigo where her family still live.

Sport

Queen Elizabeth Oval Bendigo VIC
Queen Elizabeth Oval's grandstand

Cricket and Australian rules football are the most popular sports in Bendigo. The Queen Elizabeth Oval (referred to locally as the "QEO") hosts both sports. Bendigo Gold were a semi-professional Australian rules team that competed in the Victorian Football League until 2014. The Bendigo region is also home to the historic Bendigo Football League, a strong local Australian rules football competition.

The Bendigo Cup is a prominent horse racing event. The Bendigo and District Cricket Association is the controlling body for 10 senior cricket clubs within the Bendigo area. The Emu Valley Cricket Association organises matches for 13 clubs around the Bendigo district, from Marong in the north to Heathcote is the south. The Bendigo Madison is a large and notable cycling event, attracting international calibre cyclists.

Bendigo hosts the richest professional running 400m in the world. Called the Black Opal, it is held in March each year and usually sees thousands of people at the venue with professional running races as well as cycling events (featuring the Bendigo Madison) over a two-day carnival. The 400 m Black Opal and 120 m Bendigo Gift finals are conducted before the Bendigo Madison on the second night (Sunday) of the carnival.

Tennis is popular in Bendigo with the Bendigo Tennis Association (BTA) hosting local, state, national and international tournaments at its many court locations throughout the city. The 30 synthetic hard court Bendigo Bank Tennis Complex next to Lake Weeroona is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Bendigo Lawn Tennis Club also has 16 natural grass courts, one of the largest in the region.

Swimming is a popular year-round sport in Bendigo. There are two competitive clubs, the Bendigo Hawks Aquatic club and the Bendigo East swimming club.The home of the Bendigo Hawks Aquatic is located at the Peter Krenz Leisure Centre in Eaglehawk in the city's north-west. Among many other fitness and leisure facilities the centre boasts Central Victoria's only 50m, heated indoor swimming pool. During the summer months the Club also train and compete in their 50m outdoor pool at the Bendigo Aquatic Centre located in the heart of the city. Both pools provide for year-round training and competition for swimmers of all ages across the City of Greater Bendigo. A competition-class 50m pool can also be found at the Bendigo East Aquatic Centre.

Basketball is popular in Bendigo with professional men's and women's games played at the Bendigo Stadium. The stadium hosted basketball during the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Bendigo's men's team is called the Bendigo Braves and the women's team is called Bendigo Spirit. In both 2013 and 2014 the women's team won the Women's National Basketball League championship. The city is also home to the Bendigo Basketball Association. It co-hosted the 2003 FIBA Oceania Championship.

Bendigo was the host to the second Commonwealth Youth Games, held from 30 November to 3 December 2004.

Soccer: The Bendigo Amateur Soccer League consists of 10 teams which organise and manage soccer for over 3000 juniors and seniors in Central Victoria. Bendigo is also home to the largest junior soccer club in Victoria, the Strathdale Soccer Club. Their home ground is Beischer Park. Bendigo along with Swan Hill, Echuca and Mildura have a team in Football Federation Victoria's summer league. The team is the Loddon Mallee FC.

Rugby Union: The Bendigo Fighting Miners, founded in 1970, are the only team in Bendigo and compete in the Victorian Country Rugby Union Competition which they won four years in a row from 2003 to 2006.

Hockey: The CVHA Blazers represent Bendigo in hockey at state level in both male and female competitions. The Bendigo Raiders Ice Hockey Team competes at both junior and senior levels within the Victorian ice hockey Association and is the only team to play that is located outside Melbourne.

Ice Skating: Bendigo's ice skating club, the Ice Skating Club of Bendigo, was instrumental in organising regional and state skating competitions. The closure of the ice rink in 2010 has limited its activities.

Baseball: There are four running clubs in the Bendigo area: the Eaglehawk Falcons, Bendigo East, the Maiden Gully Scots, and the Strathfieldsaye Dodgers. Bendigo participates in the annual VPBL state championships held across the state.

Orienteering: The Bendigo Orienteers Inc have hosted a variety of international carnivals including the 1985 World Orienteering Championships (4–6 September 1985) and the World Masters Games orienteering events in 2002. Bendigo has also hosted several Australian Orienteering Championships including those held in September 2009.

Volleyball: Bendigo has a very strong volleyball association, with five senior divisions, five junior divisions and three Spikezone (primary) divisions. Competition is played on Thursday nights at the Bendigo Schweppes Centre and Sunday evenings (Spikezone). A number of players have represented Australia including Caitlin Thwaites and Erin Ross in the women's team. Juniors to have represented Australia in 2007–8 include Jason Hughes, James Winzar, Rhiannon Judd and Karley Hynes. Other juniors to have represented Australia outside of 2007-8 include Lauren McKenzie and Laura Roberts. All of these players were previously members of the Bendigo Bank Academy of Sport for Volleyball. In 2007 the Bendigo Volleyball Association was awarded the Event of the Year for 2006-7 by the AVL for its hosting of the Australia v Argentina volleyball test.

Lacrosse: The Bendigo Lacrosse Club is Australia's newest lacrosse club, having been officially formed in 2008. The club is based at the Latrobe University Bendigo Athletics Track. In 2010, the club participated in the Lacrosse Victoria competition for the first time, in the Division 3 (fourth grade) senior level. The club is also looking to establish a local junior competition and encourages anyone interested in lacrosse to get involved. It is the first time in over 40 years that a lacrosse club has been active in regional Australia.

Snooker: As of 2011, Bendigo has played host to a ranking World Snooker Tour event – the Australian Goldfields Open. The 2011 tournament took place from 18 to 24 July and was won by Stuart Bingham.

Bendigo has a horse racing club, the Bendigo Jockey Club, which schedules around 22 race meetings a year at its Epsom track, including the Bendigo Cup meeting in late October.

The Bendigo Harness Racing Club holds regular meetings at its racetrack at Lords Raceway on McIvor Highway, Junortoun.

The Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club also holds regular meetings at Lords Raceway.

Golfers play at the course of the Bendigo Golf Club on Golf Course Road in the suburb of Epsom TEN PIN BOWLING - Bendigo is a strong ten pin bowling community. Bendigo has produced many great bowlers, the most famous being Shamaya Moignard-Grylls.

Geography

The city is surrounded by components of the Greater Bendigo National Park, as well as the Bendigo Box-Ironbark Region Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for swift parrots and other woodland birds. A dozen species of insect eating bats and the pollinating grey-headed flying fox inhabit the area.

Climate

Bendigo has a relatively dry temperate climate with warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. Under Köppen-Geiger classification, it lies on a humid subtropical/oceanic transitional climate zone (Cfa/Cfb), due to its location being on the boundary of the hot, sultry inland areas to the north and the cool, damp southern ocean to the south. Bendigo gets 109.9 clear days annually.

The mean minimum temperature in January is 14.3 °C (57.7 °F) and the maximum 28.7 °C (83.7 °F), although temperatures above 35 °C (95.0 °F) are commonly reached. The highest temperature officially recorded was 45.4 °C (113.7 °F), during the early 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave. There is also a disputed recording of 47.4 °C (117.3 °F) (on 14 January 1862).

The mean minimum temperature in July is 3.5 °C (38.3 °F) and winter minima of below 0 °C (32 °F) are recorded 28 nights per year on average. Mean maximum winter temperatures in July are 12.1 °C (53.8 °F). Most of the city's annual rainfall of 582.1 millimetres (22.92 in) falls between May and September. Snowfalls are virtually unknown; however frosts can be a common occurrence during the winter months.

Climate data for Bendigo Airport (YBDG) since 1991
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.8
(110.8)
45.4
(113.7)
39.2
(102.6)
33.7
(92.7)
26.3
(79.3)
20.7
(69.3)
19.7
(67.5)
24.2
(75.6)
30.4
(86.7)
35.5
(95.9)
40.3
(104.5)
43.1
(109.6)
45.4
(113.7)
Average high °C (°F) 29.8
(85.6)
29.6
(85.3)
26.0
(78.8)
21.2
(70.2)
16.6
(61.9)
13.4
(56.1)
12.5
(54.5)
14.2
(57.6)
17.0
(62.6)
20.8
(69.4)
24.6
(76.3)
27.4
(81.3)
21.1
(70)
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.0
(71.6)
22.0
(71.6)
18.8
(65.8)
14.5
(58.1)
10.9
(51.6)
8.5
(47.3)
7.5
(45.5)
8.5
(47.3)
10.7
(51.3)
13.7
(56.7)
17.1
(62.8)
19.6
(67.3)
14.48
(58.07)
Average low °C (°F) 14.2
(57.6)
14.4
(57.9)
11.6
(52.9)
7.8
(46)
5.2
(41.4)
3.6
(38.5)
2.6
(36.7)
2.8
(37)
4.5
(40.1)
6.6
(43.9)
9.7
(49.5)
11.8
(53.2)
7.9
(46.2)
Record low °C (°F) 3.3
(37.9)
4.0
(39.2)
2.3
(36.1)
-1.3
(29.7)
-4.6
(23.7)
-5.3
(22.5)
-5.1
(22.8)
-5.0
(23)
-5.5
(22.1)
-3.5
(25.7)
-0.2
(31.6)
1.9
(35.4)
-5.5
(22.1)
Precipitation mm (inches) 34.6
(1.362)
33.9
(1.335)
29.4
(1.157)
30.5
(1.201)
44.9
(1.768)
53.3
(2.098)
54.2
(2.134)
51.3
(2.02)
50.7
(1.996)
40.3
(1.587)
46.6
(1.835)
41.1
(1.618)
509.1
(20.043)
Humidity 30 32 35 41 55 65 65 57 51 41 36 31 45
Avg. precipitation days 5.8 5.2 5.0 6.8 10.6 11.8 14.5 12.7 11.6 8.8 8.0 6.7 107.5

Extreme weather events

A series of great floods occurred in Bendigo in 1859. Substantial flooding also occurred in 1903.

Bendigo Fires 07022009 1
Fire threatening houses near Dean Street in Long Gully, west of Bendigo.

Tornadoes have been seen around the area of Bendigo and, although rare, the 2003 Bendigo tornado passed through Eaglehawk and other parts of the city causing major damage to homes and businesses.

Bendigo was in severe drought from 2006 to 2010 and during this time the city had some of the harshest water restrictions in Australia, with no watering outside the household. Heavy rains from the middle to later months of 2010 filled most reservoirs to capacity and only wasteful water use (e.g. hosing down footpaths) is currently banned.

Bendigo was affected by the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. A fire to the west of the city burned out 500 hectares (1,200 acres). The fire broke out at about 4.30 pm on the afternoon of 7 February, and burned through Long Gully and Eaglehawk, coming within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) of central Bendigo, before it was brought under control late on 8 February. It destroyed approximately 58 houses in Bendigo's western suburbs, and damaged an electricity transmission line, resulting in blackouts to substantial parts of the city. There was one fatality from the fire.

Flash floods occurred across Bendigo during 2010, the first in March and the most severe at the beginning of September.

Sister cities

  • United Kingdom Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom
  • United States Los Altos, California, United States
  • People's Republic of China Tianshui, Gansu, China

Economy

Bendigo is a large and growing service economy. The major industries are health, finance (headquarters of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank – Australia's fifth largest bank), tourism, commerce, education, food processing, and primary industries, with some significant engineering industries (see below under "Manufacturing").

Bendigo's growth has stimulated growth in small surrounding rural towns (such as Elmore, Heathcote, Rochester, Inglewood, Dunolly and Bridgewater).

Tourism

Bendigo talking tram
Tourist tram passing the Bendigo Post Office

Tourism is a major component of the Bendigo economy, generating over A$364 million in 2008/09. Bendigo is popular with heritage tourists and cultural tourists with the focus of tourism on the city's gold rush history. Prominent attractions include the Central Deborah Gold Mine, the Bendigo Tramways (both of which are managed by the Bendigo Trust, a council-intertwined organisation dedicated to preserving Bendigo's heritage), the Golden Dragon Museum, the Bendigo Pottery, and the Great Stupa.

Commerce

Bendigo offices - panoramio
Bendigo Bank (left)

The main retail centre of Bendigo is the central business district, with the suburbs of Eaglehawk, Kangaroo Flat, Golden Square, Strathdale, and Epsom also having shopping districts.

The city was home to one of Australia's few provincial stock exchanges, the Bendigo Stock Exchange (BSX), founded in the 1860s.

The city is the home of the headquarters of the Bendigo Bank, established in 1858 as a building society. It is now a large retail bank with community bank branches throughout Australia. The bank is headquartered in Bendigo and is a major employer in the city (it also has a regional office at Melbourne Docklands).

Manufacturing

The City of Greater Bendigo Community Profile indicated that about 10.2% of the workforce were employed in manufacturing in 2011. After the Victorian gold rush, the introduction of deep quartz mining in Bendigo caused the development of a heavy manufacturing industry. Little of that now remains, but a large foundry (Keech Castings) makes mining, train, and other steel parts and a rubber factory remains (Motherson Elastomers, formerly Empire Rubber). Thales Australia (formerly ADI Limited) is an important heavy engineering company. Australia Defence Apparel is another key defence industry participant making military and police uniforms and bulletproof vests. Intervet (formerly Ausvac) is an important biotechnology company, producing vaccines for animals.

Education

Bendigo School of Mines
Bendigo School of Mines

The Bendigo Senior Secondary College is the largest VCE provider in the state. Catherine McAuley College follows close after, which ranges from years 7–9 at the Coolock campus and 10–12 at the St Mary's campus. Girton Grammar School, an independent school, provides education to students from years Prep-12. The Bendigo campus of La Trobe University is also a large and growing educational institution with nearly 5,000 undergraduates and postgraduates.

Farming and agriculture

The surrounding area, or "gold country", is quite harsh, rocky land with scrubby regrowth vegetation. The box-ironbark forest is used for timber (mainly sleepers and firewood) and beekeeping.

Sheep and cattle are grazed in the cleared areas. There are some large poultry and pig farms. Some relatively fertile areas are present along the rivers and creeks, where wheat and other crops such as canola are grown. The area produces premium wines, including Shiraz, from a growing viticulture industry. Salinity is a problem in many valleys, but is under control. A relatively small eucalyptus oil industry operates there.

Bendigo provides services (including a large livestock exchange) to a large agricultural and grazing area on the Murray plains to its north.

Gold mining

One of the major revolutions in gold mining (during the Victorian gold rush) came when fields such as Bendigo, but also Ballarat, Ararat and the goldfields close to Mount Alexander, turned out to have large gold deposits below the superficial alluvial deposits that had been (partially) mined out. Gold at Bendigo was found in quartz reef systems, hosted within highly deformed mudstones and sandstones or were washed away into channels of ancient rivers. Tunnels as deep as 900 m (3000 ft) (Stawell) were possible.

Until overtaken in the 1890s by the Western Australia goldfields, Bendigo was the most productive Australian gold area, with a total production over 622 tonnes (20 million ounces).

Over the 100-odd year period from 1851 to 1954, the 3,600-hectare area that made up the Bendigo gold field yielded 777 tonnes (25 million ounces) of gold.

A large amount of gold remains in the Bendigo goldfields, estimated to be at least as much again as what has been removed. The decline in mining was partly due to the depth of mines and the presence of water in the deep mines.

Infrastructure

Transport

Bendigo Tourist Tram
Tram on Pall Mall
A Vline train at Bendigo station
A Vline train at Bendigo railway station

Bendigo is connected via the Calder Freeway to Melbourne, which is fewer than two hours by car. The remaining section of highway nearest Bendigo has been upgraded to dual carriageway standard ensuring that motorists can travel up to speeds of 110 km/h (68 mph) for most of the journey. Many other regional centres are also connected to Melbourne via Bendigo, making it a gateway city in the transport of produce and materials from northern Victoria and the Murray to the Port of Melbourne and beyond.

Bendigo acts as a major rail hub for northern Victoria, being at the junction of several lines including the Bendigo line which runs south to Melbourne and lines running north including the Swan Hill, Echuca and Eaglehawk–Inglewood lines. V/Line operates regular VLocity passenger rail services to Melbourne with the shortest peak journeys taking approximately 91 minutes from Bendigo railway station, generally however services take two hours or longer. While there are several rail stations in the urban area, only three other stations currently operated for passengers: Kangaroo Flat railway station on the Bendigo Line, Epsom Railway Station on the Echuca railway line, and Eaglehawk railway station on the Swan Hill railway line. There are also additional train services to and from Swan Hill and Echuca. The Regional rail revival project will upgrade the Swan Hill and Echuca lines and build three new stations. On the Echuca line, Huntly station (for the outer suburb of Huntly), Goornong Station (A town in greater Bendigo) and on the Swan Hill line Raywood station (A town in greater Bendigo) All set to open between 2021 and 2022. Residents celebrated the opening of the new Goornong Railway Station at a community event on the weekend of December 11-12, 2021.

Victoria's electronic ticketing system, Myki, was implemented on rail services between Eaglehawk and Melbourne on 17 July 2013.

Bendigo is also served by an extensive bus network that radiates mostly from the CBD with the main terminus at the railway station towards the suburbs. The city is also served by several taxi services.

Trams in Bendigo have historically operated an extensive network as a form of public transport, but the remains of the network were reduced to a tourist service in 1972. Short trials of commuter tram services were held in 2008 and 2009 with little ridership. The second, "Take a Tram", proved more successful, running twice as long as the previous trial. By the end of the "Take a Tram" program, ridership had increased and was increasing. However, due to lack of government subsidy or backing, the program ended.

Bendigo is served by the Bendigo Airport, which is located to the north of the city on the Midland Highway. The Bendigo Airport Strategic Plan was approved in 2010 for proposed infrastructure upgrades including runway extension and buildings to facilitate larger planes and the possibility of regular passenger services from major cities in other states. In 2016, Bendigo Airport was upgraded with a new taxiway system, new lighting, and a new 1.6-km north–south runway. On 10 December 2018, Qantas announced that they would fly between Sydney and Bendigo six times a week, the first of which commenced on 31 March 2019.

Utilities

Bendigo is entitled to a portion of the water in Lake Eppalock, an irrigation reservoir on the Campaspe River. Developments have led to the building of a pipeline from Waranga to Lake Eppalock and thence to Bendigo in 2007. In 1858 Bendigo water works hired Joseph Brady as an engineer and he designed nine reservoirs and a channel system called the Coliban main channel which provides water from the Malmsbury reservoir to customers in central Victoria.

Notable residents

Arts and entertainment

  • A. C. Bartleman (né Alfred Bottoms), baritone
  • Bunney Brooke, TV actress
  • Aaron Blabey (born 1974), author of children's books
  • Amy Castles, singer
  • Ola Cohn, sculptor
  • Kate DeAraugo, 2005 Australian Idol winner
  • Colleen Hewett, singer and actress
  • Russell Jack, founder of the Golden Dragon Museum
  • Sam Jinks, sculptor
  • Keith Lamb, lead singer of Hush
  • Ernest Moffitt, artist
  • William Moore, art and drama critic
  • William David Murdoch, concert pianist
  • John Bernard O'Hara, poet and schoolmaster
  • Pollyfilla, drag performer and costume designer.
  • Alfred Henry O'Keeffe, artist
  • Ian Rilen, bass guitarist with Rose Tattoo
  • Virginia Trioli, journalist and television host
  • Lincoln Younes, actor
  • Sarah McKenzie, jazz singer, pianist, and composer

Business

Military

Politics

Religion

Science

  • Martha Durward Farquharson, hospital matron
  • John Irvine Hunter, professor of anatomy
  • Frank Milne, professor of economics
  • Struan Sutherland, antivenom researcher
  • Geoffrey Watson, professor of statistics
  • Kirby White, general practitioner

Sport

  • Jim Mooring, Nathan Brown, Wayne Campbell, Nick Dal Santo, Jake Stringer, Eric Fleming, Trevor Keogh, Barry Mulcair, Troy Selwood, Adam Selwood, Joel Selwood, Scott Selwood, Geoff Southby, Colin Sylvia, Brian Walsh, Greg Williams, Australian Football League players
  • Don Blackie, Test cricketer
  • Christine Envall, professional bodybuilder
  • Hannah Every-Hall, rower
  • Kristi Harrower, Olympic basketballer
  • Stephen Huss, 2005 Wimbledon men's doubles champion
  • Faith Leech, Olympic swimming champion
  • Billy Murdoch, Australian Test cricket captain
  • Ricky Nixon, sports agent and former AFL footballer
  • Lisle Nagel, Australian Test cricketer
  • Glen Saville, Australian and NBL basketballer
  • Ben Hunt, NCAA and NBL basketballer
  • Craig White, English cricket player
  • Sharelle McMahon, Australian Netball Team captain, Melbourne Vixens captain
  • Sam Irwin-Hill, NFL punter
  • Chris Hamilton, professional cyclist
  • Rhein Gibson, PGA Tour Golfer and Guinness World Record holder for lowest golf round ever (55).

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