Population: City of Greater Bendigo 115,025 (fourth largest inland city in Australia and fourth most populous city in the Victoria). The Loddon Mallee region has a population of 317,875 .
facts & figures - Bendigo
Main towns: Bendigo, Castlemaine, Maldon, Heathcote
Key industries: Health care, retail, education and training, manufacturing, accommodation and food, construction, finance and insurance services
Key geographical features: Lake Eppalock, Campaspe River, Mount Alexander
Climate: Dry and temperate with warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. Snowfalls are virtually unknown; however frosts can be a common occurrence during the winter months.
Best time to visit: The Easter break in Bendigo is a magic time, with imperial dragon Sun Loong, the longest dragon in the world, woken up to oversee all the festivities of the Easter parade. In August the city welcomes the best of Australia’s authors as they present to huge audiences at the three-day Bendigo Writer’s Festival. The Bendigo Swap Meet in November is a rusty delight as over 30,000 visitors prepare to trade and swap at the Bendigo Showgrounds.
- George Lansell is credited with introducing the diamond drill to quartz mining in Australia. With his two brothers, Wootten and William, George first settled in Adelaide and worked at his butchers, soap and candle manufacturers trade. In 1854 the three brothers walked to Bendigo and set up their trade again. The business grew so much they had to move the boiling-down works to a less offensive position away from the developing town. George began investing in small quartz-mining companies, learning as he went but generally losing on his investments. George realised that the methods of quartz-mining were inefficient but he persisted in the industry. The tide turned in 1865, a disastrous year for Bendigo. George bought up shares in the old Advance Co and the Cinderella mine and instructed his miners to “keep sinking”. His persistence paid off with new-found reefs. In the early 1870s he made a fortune from the Garden Gully mine, where he pushed his mine shafts down to over 3750 feet (1143 m) and found lode after rich lode and became a millionaire.
- Sir John Quick was a lawyer, Arbitration Commission judge and politician who saw the importance of the Australian colonies uniting to form a single nation. His great contribution was to cut through the tangled webs of politics and self-interest, and to point the way to an appropriate conclusion. He was a key figure in getting Australian Federation underway, a self-made man and a very active freemason.
- William Charles Vahland designed many of Bendigo’s landmark buildings. In 1858, Vahland was one of the founding members of the Bendigo Land and Building Society, the institution that was eventually to grow into the Bendigo Bank. For about 38 years he served as its chairman and managing director; supporting the radical intentions of the founders - to provide the thousands of miners and families of Bendigo with the chance to live in their own home.
- Bendigo claims Frank McEncroe as the inventor of the Chiko Roll, and Sydney Myer founded his emporium from a street cart he used to take from door to door in our streets.
- AFL players Nathan Brown, Wayne Campbell, Nick Dal Santo, Troy Selwood, Adam Selwood, Joel Selwood, Scott Selwood and Geoff Southby have all come from Bendigo.
- The Bendigo Art Gallery is one of Australia's oldest and largest regional art galleries. In 2012, it hosted a royal visit from Princess Charlene of Monaco, and set a record-breaking attendance for the exhibition about Grace Kelly.
- The Capital Theatre was saved from demolition in the 1980s. Located next to the art gallery in View Street, it is one of Bendigo treasured buildings.
- The Ulumbarra Theatre was opened in 2015. It used to house prisoners of the Sandhurst/Old Bendigo Gaol, but has been renovated to become a stunning theatre, retaining some of the original architectural features in the process.