“Bendigo struck it rich in Australia’s 19th-century gold rush,” explains Elaine Glusac in The New York Times. In its heyday, the town that’s 95km from Melbourne, discovered “the biggest gold strike in the world, financing ornate hotels, halls and civic structures.”
When they struck gold in Bendigo, says Lee Atkinson in Traveller, "the cashed-up locals decided to show off their wealth with a building spree and Bendigo has one of the finest collections of Victorian buildings of any inland city in Australia.” Within a century the mines were depleted and the economy shrank, “but recently the town of 85,000 has emerged as a cultural escape for Melburnians as a new wave of entrepreneurs and institutions has adapted the historic Victorian storefronts and grand bank buildings to new uses,” report Glusac.
Don't miss the Bendigo Art Gallery, which has woven the city into the country's cultural fabric," says The Weekend Australian. It attracts tens of thousands of tourists to blockbuster exhibitions that focus on textiles, costumes and fashion - which has led to the gallery being called "the frock gallery" – and is pivotal to Bendigo's growing prosperity. It has led to good restaurants and hotels opening up to cater for demand and is "the envy of galleries throughout regional Australia as the generator of $20 million annually to its local economy," writes The Sydney Morning Herald.