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Bendigo is a regional city in central Victoria, Australiamarker, located in the City of Greater Bendigo. It is approximately 131 kilometres (82 mi) from the state capital of Melbournemarker. With a steadily growing urban population estimated at 88,031 Bendigo is currently the fourth most populous city in Victoria and the state's second largest inland city. The Greater Bendigo municipality includes some nearby towns and is home to around 110,000.

Originally known as Bendigo's Valley (Sandhurst was the official designation before a plebiscite in favour of Bendigo settled the matter), 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).

Bendigo is notable for its Victorian architectural heritage and gold mining history.

Residents of Bendigo are called Bendigonians.

History

Wood engraving of Sandhurst Post Office receiving mail from Melbourne in 1856
Pall Mall in 1861
Lithograph of central Sandhurst and Pall Mall from above in 1884
Pall Mall and Charing Cross in 1909.
Bendigo had become a bustling city with a large transport network.
Fire threatening houses near Dean Street in Long Gully, west of Bendigo.


Bendigo

population by year
1891 34,089
1901 39,141
1911 36,127
1921 30,401
1933 29,131
1947 30,779
1954 36,918
1961 40,335
1966 42,208
1971 45,936
1976 55,152
1981 58,818
1986 65,134
1991 72,083
1996 74,192
2001 79,673
2006 85,080


Before European settlement, the area covered by today’s City of Greater Bendigo was occupied by the clans of the Dja Dja Wrung people. They were regarded by other tribes as being a superior people, not only because of their rich hunting grounds but because from their area came a greenstone rock for their stone axes. Early Europeans described the Dja Dja Wrung as a strong, physically well-developed people and not belligerent. Nevertheless the early years of European settlement in the Mount Alexander area were bloodied by many clashes between intruder and dispossessed.

Following the footsteps of explorer Major Mitchell, the Victorian countryside was opened up by squatters who established vast sheep runs. Bendigo Creek was part of the Mount Alexander or Ravenswood sheep run.

The name of Bendigo Creek derives from an employee of the Mount Alexander Run, an ex-sailor or bullock driver who was handy with his fists and nicknamed Bendigo after the Nottingham prize-fighter, William Abednego Thompson, generally known as “Bendigo Thompson”. Bendigo Creek was named after him, and the Bendigo Goldfield after the creek.

In the late spring of 1851 two women from the Ravenswood Run, Margaret Kennedy and Julia Farrell, found gold in ‘The Rocks’ area of Bendigo Creek, in what is now the suburb of Golden Squaremarker. They were seen with gold by a journalist who reported what he saw to Melbourne and the rush to Bendigo started.

The Post Office opened on 1 July 1852 as Bendigo Creek (the first Victorian post office to open in a goldmining settlement), was renamed Sandhurst in 1854 and Bendigo in 1891.

In 1853 occurred the Red Ribbon Agitation by surface miners against the amount of the gold licence fee and the frequency with which it was collected. Unlike the later Eureka event in Ballarat, this was a peaceful protest, because of the ability of the miners' leaders and the young Scots Police Commissioner, Joseph Anderson Panton.

Numerous pit mines later exploited the underground ores which are found in elongated saddle quartz reefs in corrugated sedimentary rock. Since 1851 over 22 million ounces of gold have been won from Bendigo’s goldmines, making it the largest goldfield in Australia in the nineteenth century and still the largest in Eastern Australia.

Although the goldfield was always known as Bendigo, the first official name was Castleton, which was quickly replaced by Sandhurst, after the British military establishment Sandhurstmarker. The city was not officially called Bendigo until 1891.

Bendigo quickly grew from a “city of tents” to become a substantial city with great public buildings. The first town plan was developed by 1854. Bendigo was connected to Melbourne by telegraph in 1857 and it was from here that the first message reporting the deaths of Burke and Wills was sent in 1861. Frequent Cobb & Co coaches ran to Melbourne until the railway reached Bendigo in 1862. Local trams began in 1890 and were used for public transport until 1972, after which a tourist tram service began on one of the lines.

The first Town Hall was commissioned in 1859 and from 1878 to 1886 the architect William Charles Vahland transformed it into a grand building which has recently been restored internally, with its ornate plasterwork gilded with gold leaf. Vahland designed over eighty public and private buildings, including the Alexandra Fountain, the Masonic Temple (now the Capital Theatre) and the Mechanics Institute and School of Mines (now the Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE). The first hospital was built in 1853, with a new building on its present site established in 1858, designed by Vahland. The Bendigo Benevolent Asylum, now known as the Anne Caudle Centre, was erected in 1860. Other substantial buildings in Bendigo include ‘Fortuna Villa’ in Golden Square, (which was the home of ‘Quartz King’ George Lansell), the Law Courts, former Post Office (now the Visitor Information Centre) and the Shamrock Hotel in Pall Mall.

Water supply was always a problem in Bendigo. This was partly solved with engineer Joseph Brady’s scheme to harness the waters of the Coliban River. Water first flowed through the viaduct in 1877. Bendigo is entitled to a portion of the water in Lake Eppalockmarker, an irrigation reservoir on the Campaspe River. Recent developments have led to the building of a pipeline from Warangamarker to Lake Eppalock and thence to Bendigo in 2007.

Bendigo has always been famous for its singers, musicians, brass bands and sports men and women, and boasts one of the finest regional Art Galleries (1887) in Australia, as well as a Performing Arts Centre. There was and continues to be a significant Chinese presence in Bendigo, starting with the gold rush and evident today in the Golden Dragon Museum and in the Easter Fair, which started in 1871.

As gold mining operations were reduced, Bendigo from the 1930s consolidated as a manufacturing and regional service centre and continued to grow steadily.

Bendigo was affected by the Black Saturday bushfires. A fire to the west of the city burned out . The fire broke out at about 4.30 pm on the afternoon of 7 February, and burned through Long Gullymarker and Eaglehawkmarker, coming within 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.

Features

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


Architectural heritage

As a legacy of the gold boom Bendigo has many magnificent ornate buildings built in a late Victorian colonial style, contributing to a picturesque "French" cityscape. 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), Post Office, Law Courts (1892-96), Shamrock Hotel (1897), Institute of Technology and Memorial Military Museum (1921) all in the Second Empire-style.

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 Hemispheremarker. 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.

Bendigo's Joss house, a historic temple, was built in the 1860s by Chinesemarker 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.

Image:Sacred heart cathedral bendigo.jpg|Sacred Heart CathedralImage:Sacred_heart_bendigo_interior.jpg|Interior of the Sacred Heart CathedralImage:bendigo post office.jpg|Bendigo Post OfficeImage:bendigo courthouse.jpg|Bendigo Court HouseImage:Shamrock hotel bendigo.jpg|Shamrock HotelImage:Bendigo buildings 1.jpg|A diverse range of 19th and early 20th Century building styles at Charing Cross

Parks and gardens

Bendigo Courthouse from Rosalind Park
Central Bendigo from Rosalind Park


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.

Industry

Bendigo is growing rapidly whilst small surrounding rural towns (such as Elmoremarker, Rochestermarker, Inglewood, Dunollymarker and Bridgewater) are in steep decline. The 2005 Bendigo Council Annual Report indicated about 13% of the workforce are employed in manufacturing.

Tourism

Tourism, based on the old gold industry, is important and includes prominent attractions such as the Central Deborah Gold Mine, Discovery Science and Technology Centre and the Bendigo Tramways (all three of which are managed by The Bendigo Trust, a council-intertwined organisation dedicated to preserving Bendigo's heritage).

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.

Commerce

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 is home to Australia's only provincial stock exchange, the Bendigo Stock Exchange (BSX), founded in the 1860s.

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 Docklandsmarker).

Telecommunications provider AAPT has its call-centre based here, as is the home of Bendigo Community Telco (founding subsidiary of Community Telco Australia).

Manufacturing

After the Victorian gold rush the introduction of deep quartz mining in Bendigo caused the development a heavy manufacturing industry. Little of that now remains but there is a large foundry which makes train and vehicle parts and there is also a rubber factory. The 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 bullet proof vests. Intervet (formerly Ausvac) is an important biotechnology company, producing vaccines for animals.

Human services

The major industry in Bendigo is now health, with a Base Hospital and a large old people's/rehabilitation home (The Anne Caudle centre) with about 600 beds. Psychiatric services are notably inadequate. The medium security gaol HM Prison Bendigo was located in the city until closure in mid January 2006.

Education

Bendigo Senior Secondary College is the largest VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) provider in the State. Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE. Catholic College Bendigo follows close after, which ranges from years 7-9 at the La Valla campus and 10-12 at the Coolock campus. Girton Grammar School is Bendigo's only private school. The Bendigo campus of La Trobe Universitymarker is also a large and growing educational institution.

Farming and agriculture

The surrounding area, or "gold country", is quite harsh rocky land with scrubby regrowth vegetation. This "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. There is a relatively small eucalyptus oil industry.

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

Gold mining

One of the major revolutions in gold mining (during the Victorian gold rush) came when fields like Bendigo but also Ballaratmarker, Ararat, Victoriamarker, and the gold fields close to Mount Alexandermarker turn out to have large gold deposits below the superficial alluvial deposits that were previously (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 2000 or even 3000 feet (Stawellmarker) were possible.

Until overtaken in the 1880s by the Western Australiamarker 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.

Transport

Bendigo's talking tourist tram is a reminder of Bendigo's formerly extensive tramway network.
Bendigo is connected to Melbourne via the Calder Freeway, which is less than 2 hours by car. The remaining section of highway nearest Bendigo was recently upgraded to dual carriageway standard ensuring that motorists can travel up to speeds of 110 km/h 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.

Regular passenger rail services to Melbourne operate over the Bendigo railway line that was upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Rail project completed in 2006. The line is owned and operated by V/Line. There are also additional train services to and from Swan Hillmarker, and Echucamarker. Bendigo, along with Ballarat and Geelong is to benefit from the Regional Rail Link, which will enable more passenger services to connect Melbourne and Bendigo, allowing for growing patronage to be accommodated in the future and providing Bendigo with a direct link with Southern Cross Stationmarker in central Melbourne.

Bendigo is also serviced by an extensive bus network which radiates mostly from the CBD towards the suburbs. The city is also serviced by several expansive taxi services.

Bendigo is serviced by Bendigo Airportmarker, which is just north of the city. Recent plans have been approved by council to extend the runway and upgrade building and infrastructure with the anticipation of larger planes and the possibility of regualar passenger services from Adelaide, New South Wales and beyond.

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 Squaremarker, 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 Hillsmarker that are served by buses.

Culture and events

Bendigo Art Gallery is one of Australia’s oldest and largest regional art galleries. The collections of Bendigo Art Gallery include Australian Art from the 1850s to the present day, a special collection of art from the Bendigo goldfields and 19th century European and British paintings, sculptures and decorative arts.

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 open 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.

Media

Bendigomarker is served by three newspapers: The Advertiser, The Bendigo Miner and the Bendigo Weekly, six locally-based radio stations:(EasyMix Ten71am & 98.3FM) Star FM, 3BO FM, ABC Local Radio, two national radio stations Triple J and ABC Radio National and the community stations Phoenix FM , The Fresh 895 and KLFMmarker and five television stations: WIN, Prime, Southern Cross Ten, ABCmarker and SBS. Prime and Ten maintain sales offices in the region, but do not produce any local programs.

Music

There are several live music venues with local independent bands and artists performing on a regular basis. Musicians originally from Bendigo include,Jimmy J.R Dennis, Rick Moyle and Mark Pecos of the JR Baker Band. 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.

Sports

Queen Elizabeth Oval's grandstand
Cricket and Australian rules football are the most popular sports in Bendigo. The Queen Elizabeth Ovalmarker (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. 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 Emu Valley Cricket Association organises matches for thirteen club around the Bendigo district, from Marong in the north to Heathcote is the south. The Bendigo Madison is a large prestigious cycling event, attracting international calibre cyclists.

Bendigo hosts the richest professional running 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) (five 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 has 16 natural grass courts, one of the largest in the region.

Basketball is popular in Bendigo, the city is home to the Schweppes Centremarker, 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.

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

Soccer Bendigo Amateur Soccer League[9845] 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. Bendigo along with Swan Hill, Echuca and Mildura have a team in Football Federation Victoria's Summer league. The team is the Loddon Mallee F.C.

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 Melbournemarker.

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 13 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 [9846]

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 3, 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 18, 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. [9847]

Baseball - There are five running clubs in the Bendigo area: Eaglehawk Falcons, Bendigo East, Maiden Gully Scots, Bendigo BLS Bushrangers and Strathfieldsayemarker 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 Wangarattamarker, and the U/12s came second in Milduramarker.

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

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, Rhiannon Judd and Karley 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.

Bendigo has a horse racing club, the Bendigo Jockey Club, which schedules around 22 race meetings a year at its White Hillsmarker track, including the Bendigo Cup meeting in mid-November. Elmoremarker Racing Club also hold their only meeting here in March.

Bendigo Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the city at Lords Raceway on the McIvor Highway, Junortoun.

The Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club holds regular meetings at the same location.

Golfers play at the course of the Bendigo Golf Club on Golf Course Road in the suburb of Epsom or at the course of the Quarry Hill Golf Club on Houston Street.

Climate

Bendigo experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), typically dry and mild with cold winters. The mean minimum temperature in January is 14.3 Celsius (57.7 degrees F) and the maximum 28.7 Celsius (83.7 F), although temperatures above 35 Celsius (95 F) commonly are reached, and the highest temperature ever recorded was 47.4 degrees Celsius (117.4 F) in January 1862. The mean minimum temperature in July is 3.5 Celsius (38.3 F), and winter minima of below zero Celsius (32 F) have been recorded frequently. Mean maximum winter temperatures in July are 12.1 C (53.8 F). Most of the city's annual rainfall of 582.1 mm falls during the winter half of the year. Snowfalls are virtually unknown, however frosts can be a common occurrence during the winter months.

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 Ballaratmarker 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.

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

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