WHEN international film crews approach you for your insights you must know a thing or two about history.
But Darren Wright says it is a thirst for Bendigo's forgotten past that drives him.
The Bendigo Joss House supervisor is considered one of the foremost authorities on the city's history and is among a group of locals regularly approached for insights.
Those historians include British actor Tony Robinson (who played Baldrick on Black Adder), who contacted Mr Wright for a television series in 2011.
Mr Robinson and a television crew visited some of the quirkier, hidden stories from Bendigo's history.
"Tony said to me that (he and the crew) were pretty convinced we would have just enough stuff to do an episode. By the time they left he said to me they could do a whole series on this place and still not do it justice," Mr Wright said.
Mr Wright even had a chance to act with Mr Robinson for a reenactment of Mark Twain's 1890s visit to the city - one of many notable 19th century visitors.
"He (Mark Twain) did this major lecture circuit because he had unwisely invested and been left in a bad financial position," he said.
"Lots of famous people have come here. A lot of people don't realise the nexus that Bendigo was. It was a big attraction for various reasons, not just mining. They came here for lectures, for performances, to invest and just to see the sites.
"The wine industry here ... was huge in the 19th century ... we were the wealthiest city in the world at one stage."
The reenactment covered an uncomfortable moment for Mark Twain, when a member of the audience revealed themselves to be the president of a fan group.
In Twain's telling, he had received so much correspondence from the group he had struggled to keep up and had taken to burning it as it arrived.
Twain wrote that he eventually admitted it to the man, who then came clean and said the group and its eccentric characters were figments of his imagination.
More history stories
Mr Wright is currently a board member of the National Trust's local branch and the City of Greater Heritage advisory committee.
His passion for the past began early in life.
"I was fascinated by where my ancestors had come from, why things were the way they were and basically the past became one of those little mysteries that I wanted to solve," he said.
"When you come from old farming families they don't tend to talk so much about their history. The fact they didn't talk about their forebears fueled the fire and I wanted to know more."
Mr Wright discovered his family had been in the region longer than most who can trace their histories back to colonial times.
His father's side of the family stepped off the boat in 1840s Melbourne and soon began moving goods in and out of the region, even setting up a farm close to what is now called Eddington.
"Heritage and history belongs to all of us. It's very important we know where we have come from, as a society. It gives us better clues as to where we are going," Mr Wright said.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.