Down the Mall: Bendigo's growth still well behind Melbourne's

GROWING: Bendigo's population is now expected to pass the 200,000 mark by the year 2050. In 2016 it was put at 111, 783, with nearly two per cent growth in the year.
GROWING: Bendigo's population is now expected to pass the 200,000 mark by the year 2050. In 2016 it was put at 111, 783, with nearly two per cent growth in the year.

It is very common these days to hear folk muttering about growth in and around Bendigo – and not always in complimentary terms.

We see housing developments flowing over nearby paddocks like Golden Syrup on a hot crumpet, and what was once peak minute in Bendigo CBD traffic is now peak 2.7 minutes.

But, it could be worse. Our chums at Domain this week reported that there is/was/isn’t or could be a housing/apartment bubble in our capital cities. This has been a popular subject for at least the past decade.

What caught Down The Mall’s attention was the comment from the managing director of BIS Oxford Economics (yes, I know, it’s a snappy title) Robert Mellor. He said while some capitals had a glut of apartments, Melbourne had a shortfall of 5800.

Last year, the company had predicted a glut in Melbourne too, but our capital’s population had grown by 109,000 people more than expected.

Think about that. It’s like waking up in, say, Essendon and find someone’s shifted the entire population of Greater Bendigo next door. In one year!

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According to Bendigo’s Mayor Marg, our population is expected to pass 200,000 by the year 2050. Three years ago, The Age predicted we’d get to 200,000 by 2041. And the city’s official prediction is that our population last year was 111, 783 with nearly two per cent growth in the year.

We found a compound interest calculator which indicates we’ll hit the magic 200,000 in 2047.

If we’d had a steady two per cent growth rate since Federation, we would have reached 289,000 by the year 2000!

In 1901, Bendigo City had 31,020 and Eaglehawk had 8130. Interestingly, there were 89.2 blokes for every 100 women.

In the first decade of nationhood, we shrunk by 40 per cent to 17,800. Seven years later, in 1918, a State Parliamentary inquiry met here to discuss the “drift of population” to Melbourne.

The inquiry was told that we feared we were losing our “best, brightest and brainiest”.”