Bendigo is a city in Victoria, Australia, located in the Bendigo Valley near the geographical centre of the state and approximately 150 kilometres 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 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.