THE City of Greater Bendigo will reveal a plaque commemorating 150 years since Bendigo was officially declared a city when councillors meet on Monday.
Victoria's governor proclaimed what at the time was called the Borough of Sandhurst a city in July 1871 in official recognition of how large the settlement had become in the two decades after gold was discovered.
By that time, Sandhurst (as Bendigo was officially known) qualified to be called a city because it was making at least £20,000 in rates every year.
The city's official birthday is actually on Sunday, but councillors will pay tribute to their civic forebears during an official council meeting at Town Hall the next evening.
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They will also specifically highlight Bendigo's rich Aboriginal past and thank members of the Dja Dja Wurrung for sharing this land.
Back in 1871 members of the Dja Dja Wurrung had been dispossessed of much of the land around central Victoria, including land in the Borough of Sandhurst's municipality.
No Indigenous people were in Bendigo on census night 1871, though there were some in the wider district and historical records show there were some living as far away as Healesville.
The 40,000 people who had arrived in Bendigo's valley in the first years of the 1850s gold rush brought a "profound disruption" to the Dja Dja Wurrung's traditional customs, language and wellbeing, a council officer report tabled ahead of Monday's meeting stated.
"Since this time, policies and practices have continued to limit the ability of the Traditional Owners to practice their traditional customs and to be able to access Country and its resources," it stated.
The report also highlights the role women have played in Bendigo leadership positions with special attention to its first female councillor, who was elected 51 years ago.
Christine Elizabeth Wiseman was elected unopposed to a casual vacancy on Bendigo's council in 1960.
"Her election followed a meeting of about 150 women from various organisations which agreed to support a woman candidate to fill the vacancy," council officers said in their report.
She retained her seat in 1961 and served until 1964.
The Bendigo Advertiser will celebrate the 150th anniversary with a special edition this Saturday. Online subscribers will get a series of stories first (including this one) over Thursday and Friday.
They will shed light on the extraordinary year 1871, including events that are still shaping our city and our lives today.
The latest article in the Bendigo Weekly's free "What Happened" history series will be published online on Saturday morning as usual.
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