Bendigo Goldfields


The Bendigo Goldfields includes the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung (west of the Campaspe River) and Taungurung (east of the Campaspe River) peoples.

This area, within the Goldfields bioregion, centred around the Calder highway and Bendigo, with residents more likely to travel to Bendigo for employment than Melbourne. Greater Bendigo is among the fastest growing regional Local Government Areas in Victoria, with a projected 1.6% increase in population between 2018-2036, which equates to an additional 37,700 people.  

Affordability, compared to Melbourne, is driving population growth including in rural residential development around Bendigo. A strong demand for rural blocks is leading to a transition from farming to rural residential across this area. Managing this growth whilst protecting natural values and resources, in a changing climate, is a key challenge.

Bendigo is not only a popular place live, but also an important regional tourist destination, with many popular cultural attractions. In 2019, Bendigo was designated a UNESCO Creative City, in the category of gastronomy.  

Box-Ironbark Forests and Woodlands once covered this landscape, but when gold was discovered in Bendigo Creek in 1851, attracting people from all over the word, the land was cleared, mined and developed. It produced the largest amount of gold in any field in eastern Australia. The area still includes large areas of remnant native vegetation dominated by Box Ironbark forests and including the Greater Bendigo National Park which is now jointly managed by Parks Victoria and Dja Dja Wurrung. Whilst these Forests and Woodlands support many unique and rare species they are generally in poor condition as a result of previous logging, gold mining etc.

This area spans the Loddon and Campaspe catchments, the upper sections of which are within a declared special water supply catchment area. It also includes Lake Eppalock which is an important irrigation and urban water supply.

When asked about their long-term vision during RCS renewal engagement, respondents from this Local Area spoke about; the importance of people connecting with and valuing nature, sustainable agricultural practices, working together to protect and restore waterways and habitat for future generations.

Map of Bendigo Goldfields Local Area, with RCS priority assets
Bendigo Goldfields Local Area, showing RCS priority assets