First Regional Centre for Culture event invites Bendigo residents to pen love letters to their hometown

Its proximity to Melbourne, neighbours’ smiling faces and child-friendly environments are among the things Bendigonians have lauded about their city in love letters to the place they call home.

Residents penned the letters in a writing workshop at the Old Church on the Hill this week, preparation for a Valentine’s Day event that kick starts the Regional Centre for Culture – a year-long arts program in Bendigo and three neighbouring shires.

On February 14, letters from the participants will be added to a sculpture erected in Rosalind Park.

All Bendigonians are welcome to contribute a letter, which can be “posted” in a temporary letterbox installed in the park this week. 

The Love Letters to the Heart of Central Victoria event, which will run from 6pm, will also feature live entertainment. 

Bendigo woman Tahira Zahir, who relocated to Bendigo from Pakistan in 2013, said in her love letter it was the city’s peace and beauty, as well as its welcoming residents, that she loved most.  

“I have met lots of friends here,” she said. 

Jacqui Hickey also attended Wednesday’s workshop, writing in her letter she was glad the city was not far from Melbourne. Her two children now called the state’s capital home. 

Bendigo was a perfect place to raise a family, she said, and she also celebrating the city’s transformation from country town to regional hub.

“Now it’s thriving,” Ms Hickey said.

Historic architecture and nearby waterholes were also things Ms Hickey adored about her central Victorian home. 

The state government’s Regional Centre for Culture programme will see more than 30 arts events held in Bendigo, Mount Alexander, Central Goldfields and Hepburn shires over the course of 2018.

Dja Dja Wurrung culture is a centrepiece of the programme and the large-scale artwork onto which the letters will be placed is the creation of Felipe Reynolds and traditional pwner Racquel Kerr. 

Entitled Heart, the sculpture is inspired by the rivers, country and mountains of Dja Dja Wurrung country.