IT WAS interesting to read this week about forecasts that Melbourne could soon outpace Sydney in jobs and population.
I don’t think it made much of a headline in Sydney.
It reminded DTM of the traditional Bendigo/Ballarat rivalry.
And – having lived and worked in both cities – we’re reminded of the old Soviet philosophy: Every citizen is equal … to the one above him.
Speaking of which … this weekend is the fabulous Bendigo Heritage Uncorked when we are encouraged to wallow in our area’s wine, food and heritage architecture.
But we’re still prickling about one thing. The Wines of Australia website remarks: “Bendigo is second only to Ballarat as a gold town.”
Ahem. Officially, Bendigo produced more than 25 million ounces (777 tonnes of gold) and Ballarat produced 12 million, less than half ours. Just saying.
No time to wine
Now we are in a totally parochial mood, our wine is also still ranked among the world’s best.
We say 'still' because one of the great stories of wine in Australia concerns John Theodore deRavin’s establishment of the Chateau Dore vineyard at Mandurang in 1866.
Six years later, our wines were winning gold medals at the Viennese Exhibition, but when the judges found these were NOT French wines, but wines made by Antipodean savages, they tried to declare Australians cheats. We still won.
Sadly, that came to an end for more than 70 years after our Bendigo vineyards were destroyed to stop phylloxera.
Thanks to the dedication of Bendigo’s current crop of winegrowers – such as the superbly named Pam and Wes Vine, also from Mandurang – we are now back on top of the world and cheers to that.
Can't woof this down
At a spiffing combined Bendigo area Rotary Clubs dinner at the Schweppes Centre this week, Disaster Aid Australia team leader Darren Mayne was chatting about conditions he faces when he’s dropped into world trouble hotspots.
Some deployments, like a recent one in the Philippines, were okay as he was working in a fishing village and had to “endure” fresh crabs, crays and shellfish.
Some others were not so, umm, palatable. After one posting to a village destroyed by earthquake, he remarked he’d found the food at a certain road-side stall quite nice.
“Ah, yes,” his enthusiastic local minder told him with great seriousness. “they’re very famous for their delicious cat and dog stew.”
Constructing a laugh
We were showing a visitor around town the other morning and drove down View Street and up Mitchell.
In just a few blocks there were council crews working on View Street near Catholic College, View street near the Rifle Brigade, some signs going up near the fountain, the Mitchell Street reconstruction going on and more council trucks parked in Hargreaves Mall.
“Should be a nice city,” the visitor remarked, “…when it’s finished. What’s that big building over there?” he asked, pointing to the Bendigo Bank HQ.
“Dunno,” we replied. “Wasn’t there last night.”