Bendigo is Victoria's fourth largest city, located around 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.
Bendigo has a rich and prosperous heritage dating back to the days when gold was discovered in the area in the 1850s. Since then, Bendigo has been the second highest producing goldfield in Australia and remains the seventh largest in the world.
Bendigo's rich gold history has produced a city of unparalleled opulence and grandeur. Stunning architecture and manicured gardens are all symbolic of Bendigo.
One of Bendigo's most elegant streets is Pall Mall in the city centre. At its southern end stands the grand Alexandra Fountain which was built in 1881 out of granite. Further along Pall Mall is the elaborate old post office (built between 1883 and 1887) which now houses the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre, and next door are the law courts (built between 1892 and 1896), also of similar architecture. On the corner of Pall Mall and Williamson Street is Bendigo's most famous hotel, the lavishly adorned Shamrock, which was built in 1897.
Bendigo's shopping precinct extends along Pall Mall, Hargreaves Street (including the Hargreaves Mall), Queen Street, Williamson Street and tree-lined Mitchell Street.
Attractions for visitors include the Central Deborah Mine complex which offers underground mine tours and the Talking Tram which takes passengers on an almost 5 kilometre journey passing many of the city's attractions. Rosalind Park, in the city's centre, features a lookout tower offering impressive views across Bendigo, while Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral, built in 1896, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the southern hemisphere. Other attractions include several art galleries and the Golden Dragon Museum which is a tribute to the city's long history with Chinese people and culture.
Bendigo city is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded by a number of hilly suburbs featuring wide tree-lined streets, bushland, and a several large reserves, creating a pleasant and green environment for residents and visitors. In fact, with natural bushland entirely surrounding Bendigo, it has been referred to as "a city within a forest". A number of lakes and reservoirs are located within the city, including the most central, Lake Weeroona, which features gardens and parkland.
An interesting suburb of Bendigo is Eaglehawk, located in the north-west. Originally a gold mining town in its own right during the Gold Rush days, the growth of Bendigo eventually extended out to and surrounded Eaglehawk. Historic landmarks in Eaglehawk include the opulent town hall (built in 1901), the red-brick courthouse (1869) and the old Bank of Victoria (1881). Canterbury Park, once a barren ruin of alluvial gold workings, has been transformed into botanical gardens and recreational facilities overlooking picturesque Lake Neangar.
Bendigo was the city in which penniless Russian immigrant Sidney Myer opened the first Myer store in 1900. Today, Myer department stores can be found throughout Australia's capital cities and regional centres.