Bendigo is a regional city in central Victoria, Australia, located in the City of Greater Bendigo. The Greater Bendigo municipality is home to around 100,000 while the city has a steadily growing urban population of about 80,000 people which places it as the third largest regional centre in Victoria after Geelong and Melbourne. Residents of Bendigo are called Bendigonians.
Originally known as Sandhurst, the city grew quickly out of the Victorian gold rush and became established as a major provincial hub and minor financial centre, being home to Australia's only provincially headquartered retail bank, the Bendigo Bank, and the Bendigo Stock Exchange (BSX).
Official town planning commenced in 1854 and by 1857, Sandhurst was connected by telegraph to Melbourne. The grand Town Hall was commissioned in 1859 and the Melbourne to Sandhurst railway commenced operations in 1862. Less than a decade later, in 1871, Sandhurst was proclaimed a City. By the 1880s, the city was considered the richest in the world due to the size of the local goldfields, with a start made on the local tram network made in 1890.
It was not until 1891 that the city's name was changed to Bendigo, in honour of the bare knuckled boxer, William "Abednego" Thompson, whose name had been lent to the creek where gold was first discovered.
Architect Vahland, encouraged European artisans to emigrate to the Sandhurst gold fields and so create the Vienna(Wien) 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 1896-1908 and the soaring 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.
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.
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 the 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 Weroona, a large ornamental lake, adjacent to the Bendigo Botanical Gardens.
Bendigo history was heavily influenced by its prominent Chinese community. The Golden Dragon Museum showcases a living history of the Chinese people in Bendigo from the goldrush of the 1850s to the present day. Having become the hub of Chinese cultural activity in Australia, the museum allows visitors to experience first hand Chinese arts and crafts with visiting artisans and tradespeople.
The city is the home of the headquarters of 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, which is a major employer in the city (it also has a regional office at Melbourne Docklands).
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. There is a relatively small eucalyptus oil industry.
Until overtaken in the 1880s by the Western Australia goldfields, Bendigo was the most productive Australian gold area, with a total production of over 20 million ounces (622t). There is a large amount of gold still 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. With modern technology, Bendigo Mining NL has resumed mining and will likely be a large producer within 10 years.
Regular rail services to Melbourne operate over the Bendigo railway line that was upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Rail project completed in 2006. There are also additional train services to and from Swan Hill, and Echuca.
Bendigo is serviced by Bendigo Airport, which is just north of the city.
As a regional city Bendigo also includes the following suburbs and localities: Ascot, Big Hill, California Gully, Deborah Triangle, Eaglehawk, Eaglehawk North, Epsom, Flora Hill, Golden Square, Ironbark, Jackass Flat, Junortoun, Kangaroo Flat, Kennington, Huntly, Maiden Gully, Mandurang, North Bendigo, Quarry Hill, Sailor's Gully, Spring Gully, Strathdale, Strathfieldsaye, West Bendigo and White Hills that are served by buses.
Each year Bendigo Art Gallery presents an exciting program of exhibitions and events. This includes guided tours, workshops, talks by arts professionals, films and much more.
Bendigo Art Gallery's collection is constantly growing and the Gallery enjoys the support of an enthusiastic Friends of the Bendigo Gallery membership, the City of Greater Bendigo and Arts Victoria. The Bendigo Art Gallery hosts Australia's richest painting prize, the Arthur Guy Memorial Prize, worth $50,000, which was launched in 2003.
The Capital Theatre is located next to the art gallery in View Street and hosts performing arts and live music.
The city hosts the Bendigo National Swap Meet every year in early November. A must for all car enthusiasts, it is regarded as the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and attracts people from all over Australia and the world
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.
Hard Rockers Darb Lee, Jim Dennis Rick Moyle & Mark Pecos of The JR Baker Band hail from Bendigo. Australian Idol Winner Kate DeAraugo grew up in Bendigo where her family still live.
There also several adult choirs and a notable children's choir which often performs overseas, a community Symphony Orchestra, several brass bands and two pipe bands.
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. The Bendigo Bombers are a semi-professional Australian Rules team that competes in the Victorian Football League. The Bendigo region is also home to the historic Bendigo Football League, a strong local Australian rules football competition. Two teams from Bendigo, Sandhurst and South Bendigo compete in this league. The Bendigo Cup is a famous horse racing event. The Bendigo and District Cricket Association is the controlling body for ten senior cricket clubs within the Bendigo area. The Bendigo Madison is a large prestigious cycling event, attracting international calibre cyclists.
Bendigo hosts the richest prorunning 400m in the world called the Black Opal. It is held early in the year and usually sees thousands of people at the venue with professional running races as well as cycling events over a 3 day carnival. The Bendigo Madison is held over this period.
Tennis is popular in Bendigo with the Bendigo Tennis Association (BTA) hosting local and national tournaments at its many court locations throughout the city. The Bendigo Indoor Sports & Leisure Centre (BISLC) (5 synthetic hard courts) in Strathdale is the only indoor tennis complex in the region, and the huge 30 synthetic hard court Coca-Cola Tennis Complex, next to Lake Weeroona, being one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. The Bendigo Lawn Tennis Club also boasts 16 natural grass courts, one of the largest in the region.
Basketball is popular in Bendigo, the city is home to the Schweppes Centre, home of the Bendigo Braves. The stadiums hosted basketball during the 2006 Commonwealth Games. The city is also home to the Bendigo Basketball Association. Bendigo also has a team in the WNBL, the premier national female basketball competition, The Bendigo Spirit.
Soccer Bendigo Amateur Soccer League organises and manages soccer for over 3000 juniors and seniors in Central Victoria. Bendigo is also home to the largest junior soccer club in Victoria, Strathdale Soccer Club.
Rugby Union - The Bendigo Fighting Miners are the only team in Bendigo, it completes in the Victorian Country Rugby Union Competition and has won the premiership for the last four years in a row.
Hockey - The CVHA Blazers represent Bendigo at State level in both male and female competitions. 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.
The ice rink in Bendigo is one of only two running in Victoria and has reopened after refurbishment by the Bendigo Ice Skating Association driven by ice sports volunteers and ice users groups. The facility was stripped down to the sub sand level with pipes repaired, sand relayed and ice built up from water spray. Surface flooding commenced within six weeks of volunteers engaging in the project and skaters set blades to the ice on 13th June, 2008. The aim is to sustain use at this stadium for a period of 4 -5 years while a new ice sports development is built to ensure that Bendigo becomes the heart of Victorian Ice Sports. For renovation images, visit the photo gallery at the website
Ice Skating - Bendigo also has a very active and dynamic figure skating club; the Ice Skating Club of Bendigo which is instrumental in organising Regional and State skating competitions. The 2008 Bendigo competition recommenced on the new ice August 3rd, 2008 with 250 people attending the 17 event card including skaters from Melbourne and the ACT. The event was a huge success with organisers agreeing to reconvene an additional competition meet on October 18th, 2008. Many of the skaters are coached from tiny tots through to senior levels through the skate development program of Aussie Skate. After school skating programs are growing in numbers with regular Friday and Saturday night skate discos and come and try family fun days catering to the family and youth sector. Affiliated organisations are Ice Sports Victoria and Ice Skating Australia. In addition to ice skating education and tuition, the Ice Skating Club of Bendigo also facilitates off ice training specialising in building core strength and, stretching and correct warm up regimes.
Baseball - There are 5 running clubs in the Bendigo area: Eaglehawk Falcons, Bendigo East, Maiden Gully Scots, Bendigo BLS Bushrangers and Strathfieldsaye Dodgers. All of these clubs have been struggling for players for the past 5 years in both senior and junior sides. There has been two inclusions into the Bendigo Baseball Association this year with the Colts and the Rich River Rebels ebtering due to the GVBA folding. Bendigo participates in the annual VPBL state championships held across the state. This year Bendigo has won the U/18 event held in Wangaratta, and the U/12s came 2nd in Mildura.
Volleyball - Bendigo has a very strong volleyball association, with 5 senior divisions, 5 junior divisions and 3 Spikezone (primary) divisions. Competition is played Thursday nights at the Bendigo Schweppes Centre and Sunday evenings (Spikezone.) The Men's Bendigo team are the current Victorian Country Champions. A number of players have represented Australia including Caitlin Thwaites and Erin Ross in the Women's Team. Juniors to have represented Australia in during 2007-8 include Jason Hughes, James Winzar, Rhianon Judd and Carly Hynes. Bendigo's Girton Grammar School is currently the third ranked volleyball school in Australia. 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.
The dryness of the area, drought and population continually puts pressure on the local water supply and the city has had some of the harshest water restrictions in Australia, with no watering outside the household, though two hours of watering are now allowed (December 7). Local water storages have fallen to the lowest levels ever recorded and this is forcing the Victorian state government to build a "superpipe" which will connect Bendigo and Ballarat to a larger supply of water before the town runs out of water. The superpipe was delivering water by September 2007 and work on the Ballarat section of the pipeline is due to be completed in June 2008.
|Mean daily maximum temperature (°C) (1961-1990)||28.7||28.8||25.5||20.8||16.1||13.1||12.1||13.8||16.4||20.0||23.5||26.5||20.4|
|Mean daily minimum temperature (°C) (1961-1990)||14.3||14.9||12.8||9.4||6.7||4.3||3.5||4.6||6.0||8.2||10.6||12.7||9.0|
|Mean total rainfall (mm) (1961-1990)||37.2||26.4||36.4||47.9||59.9||52.4||62.5||70.1||58.1||55.9||35.2||40.1||582.1|
|9am Prevailing Wind (1991-2008)||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSE||SSW||SSE||SSE||SSE|
|3pm Prevailing Wind (1991-2008)||SSW||SSE||SSW||SSW||NW||NNW||NNW||WNW||WNW||W||SSW||WSW||WSW|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|