Bendigo's sporting heroes have been honoured with the installation of a Sports Star Hall of Fame at Bendigo Stadium.
Veteran sporting personality and founding Bendigo Sports Star Awards committee member Basil Ashman said the Hall of Fame was borne out of a conversation many years ago with a couple of boys who had just been in a lift with Olympic gold medalist Faith Leech.
"As they got out I asked them if they knew who the lady was. I told them her name and claim to fame and they replied 'never heard of her'.
It was Mr Ashman's determination to have the region's sporting heroes duly honoured that led to the Hall of Fame being added to Sports Star from 1993.
His original Hall of Fame committee included media and advertising executive Robert Cook, former mayor and sports commentator Dick Turner, Maxine Crouch from the Bendigo Sportswomen's Association and then-Bendigo Advertiser sports editor Richard Jones.
"We drew up a plan, and it worked, and it still does," Mr Ashman said.
Since then, 44 sportsmen and women have been inducted to the Sports Star Hall of Fame.
Sadly, their framed portraits have never had a permanent home throughout this time, and have instead languished in storage until the Wall of Fame concept was first explored few years ago, and now achieved at Bendigo Stadium with Thursday night's official opening.
Sports Star committee chairman Michael McKern said the launch of the Hall of Fame was a special occasion not just for those involved, but for the broader community.
"I congratulate and thank the Bendigo Stadium board and their executive for their generosity with this very important partnership.
"It is great to finally have a permanent home for our local legends."
Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Sports Star of the Year winner Greg Goodall was a special guest of honour at Thursday night's opening. The celebrated yachtsman joined Mr Ashman to cut the ribbon and officially open the installation.
Sports Star committee member and Hall of Fame coordinator Morrie Hesse thanked those associated with the development of the Hall of Fame, including businessman and philanthropist Steve Bright, graphic designer Stephen Brown and Bendigo Stadium CEO, Nathan O'Neill.
"When you get the chance to view the Hall of Fame shortly, you will see an amazing collection of Bendigo's sporting greats, along with a great range of sports which shows the diversity that we have in this fantastic sporting city."