Dear Bendigo: Hoo roo Ballarat

It was our own Elise Snashall-Woodhams who made the call. Bendigo is now officially cooler than Ballarat. Not temperature-wise, obviously.

As announced in parliament this week in Bendigo, when it comes to bums on seats, we’ve now taken over our old arch nemeses.

Picture: John Veeken

Picture: John Veeken

Think sandstone vs bluestone, Sovereign Hill vs Central Deborah, Lydiard St vs View St, the Ballarat Wildlife Park vs a few geriatric roos at the Botanic Gardens. 

OK, maybe they beat us on some fronts.

Bendigo has been announced as Victoria’s third largest city, behind Melbourne and Geelong. 

And a couple of weeks ago The Age newspaper also posed the question, Is Bendigo Victoria’s coolest town?

So, we started thinking about it around the office... what’s so great about this place? 

One bloke, who does live here I have to point out, had to hop on Wikipedia for an answer… 

At least he was pro-active. Everyone else started scratching themselves while staring off into the ether…

Gold, Sun Loong, trams and Easter is what the www will tell you. But that’s not what we mean. 

What’s great about living in a place is completely different to what’s touristy, what’s historic, what a city may be known for.

Ask most people what the best thing about this place is and they’ll tell you it’s that Bendigo is central. 

It’s within an easy drive to the city, the beach or the mountains. A couple of hours in any direction and you’re on holidays. 

I’m not kidding. Proof? 

Up until recently the Addy ran a fun q&a page each Saturday called Inner Sanctum, which included the question, what’s the best thing about living in central Victoria?

Nine times out of ten, or thereabouts, I’m a writer, not a statistician, the answer was our close proximity to other places.

C’mon, we can do better than that. 

To say the best thing about the place you live is that it’s close to other, better, more exciting places, is kind of dismal.

One of the chicks in the office suggested our inner city laneways, bars, cafes and undercover yarn bombers as things that trump other cities in the great stakes. 

She’s right, but what else? 

One of the newbies to town suggested what’s great is the fact that we’re a little bit country, a little bit city. A little bit business, a little bit party. A little bit like a mullet? Let’s be honest, they do still exist here.

What’s great about Bendigo? I reckon it’s the people. The melting pot. 

Most of us are pretty down to earth and we look after each other in times of need. Plus, there’s opportunities here for most things you might want to do in life.

What this little bit of wider publicity does is make us look at our own backyard with fresh eyes. It should make us value what we have here a little more. Because let’s face it, familiarity does breed contempt.

We live in a cool place. And the statistics say it all… there’s more and more people realising Bendigo is a terrific place to live... plus, we’re within just a two-hour drive of Ballarat. 

If you’re that way inclined.

What makes Bendigo great in your opinion? Post a web comment and share your thoughts.


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