Blues & Roots for the whole family

After two stupendous Showcase/Fundraiser events in 2016 for Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival (at the Rifle Brigade Hotel and Golden Vine Hotel respectively) the crew’s Spring edition will be staged back where it all began.

13091971_1066219210118500_608456846738041251_n“We staged our first fundraiser in October 2010 at the beloved Newmarket Hotel and we’re stoked to be staging this event at the newly renovated Newmarket Hotel & Bakery.” explains festival director, Colin Thompson.

The final BB&RMF fundraiser for 2016 will be staged this Sunday 18 September, with the live tunes kicking off from 12pm and finishing around 7:30pm.

The packed list of acts confirmed to perform across two stages includes some of Bendigo’s best, along with some fresh faces from the Victorian blues circuit, who’ve all put their respective hands up to support the not-for-profit community music festival. The line-up includes: This Way North (Melb), Cameron Holmes & The Blues Dudes (Kyneton), Mon Shelford Duo (Melb), Sean McConnell from White Lightning (Melb), Luke Watt (Castlemaine), Phil & Trudy Edgeley (Ballarat), Andrew Watts & Seed, Midweek Blues, Tulli, Andy Garlick, Sherri Parry, Four Lions (Duo), Dark and Gravy Boat (featuring young guns Rhyley McGrath & Geordi Scarce).

To continue to fund this predominantly free festival, your support and assistance is needed. Spread the word and take a posse to the Newmarket this Sunday and keep supporting Bendigo’s music scene which has seen a heartening resurgence over the last half decade.

Tickets for this event are available at the door on the day and are $15 for adults, $5 for under-18s, and under-12s free.

Date: Sunday 18 September 2016
Attraction: Up to 8 hours of quality live music in a family friendly atmosphere
Ticket price: $15 for adults, $5 for under 18s, under 12s free
Venue: Newmarket Hotel & Bakery, 133 Charleston Road Bendigo

The Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival will take over the town from
November 2016, with hundreds of performances staged across more than 40 of Bendigo’s finest live music venues and public spaces.

As always, these artists are generously donating their time and talents, as do the Festival’s volunteer committee and crew, to help pay for the Festival itself.

For more information, visit the festival website.


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Council election candidates

Forgive us if we’re wrong but it seems like there are HEAPS of new candidates for the upcoming City of Greater Bendigo council elections on Saturday 22 October 2016. The Bendigo Weekly has estimated 26 candidates, now 27 but as many as 30, but we only know of 18 19 21 26 so far…

The final list here.

Here are the candidates (in alphabetical order, per ward):

Eppalock Ward

Lockwood Ward

Whipstick Ward

  • Cr Peter Cox ( 5446 1274  / is re-contesting his seat.
  • Michelle Goldsmith   0439 465 589
    She has been endorsed as the Greens candidate for Whipstick. The St John of God critical care unit nurse said ‘diversity and inclusion’ would underpin her electoral platform- article here
  • Wayne Gregson    0417 379 007
    He has nominated traffic and the arts as priorities if he is successful – article here and here.
  • Julie Hoskin   0428 143 078
  • Andrea Metcalfe   0472 770 893  – article here.
  • Gordon Moore   0403 034 812
  • Malcolm Pethybridge   0417 444 041
    He is a self-funded retire who has worked in and around Bendigo in the engineering industry, all his working life and has also owned and ran a farm successfully. Malcolm will talk to the people first and research projects in person not just on google earth and push the citizens views of Bendigo, Whipstick Ward and the needs of the municipality of Bendigo.
  • Thomas Prince   0437 928 361
    He wants to help Bendigo move forward in a positive direction through:
    Making a stand on unacceptable social behaviours, encouraging healthy lifestyles and supporting the CoGB residents wellbeing and by providing better avenues to keep the community connected. article
  • Cr Lisa Ruffell will not be re-contesting her seat and we thank her for her valuable contribution since 2008.
  • Stuart Symes (0400 347 203/ residents deserve more.
  • Cr James Williams ( is re-contesting his seat.

Not sure what ward you’re in? Check the ward maps here or more info from the VEC here.

Are missing information, or do we need to link to an article or website?
Let us know or comment below.

Updated 20 September 2016
Thanks to the Bendigo Advertiser for the candidate contact details.


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Bendigo Burger Adventures – Part II

13879319_10154053062684039_1334303757256646287_n (1)by Paul Waldron

The quest continues to find ‘Bendigo’s best sub $10 burger’, supporting Bendigo’s vast array of independent food localities (no franchises allowed as a part of my quest).

Sunday night’s adventure led me to the Daggy Varandah. I ordered ‘the verandah’ complete with all the trimmings (iceberg lettuce, tomato, beetroot, onion, beef patty, pineapple and cheese). A larger-than-life burger, it is not for the faint-handed (yes, handed. Mouth and heart also appropriate, though). Well cooked and the epitome of fresh, in a good soft bun. What sets this burger apart is their special mayo – slightly spicy slightly sweet, like any family recipe will have eaters wondering about the secrets within.

Coming in at $9, the addition of a $2 serve of chips will require more than that blue note burning a hole in your pocket, but well worthwhile as the chips are crisp, and hot – generous with chicken salt (if like me, you’re into that), so no need to ask for extra or peer over the stainless steel countertops to see if they’re putting enough on.

The three serviettes the burger came with were well used and had me reaching for a fourth by the end of it, after already licking the fingers.

Where shall my quest take me next?

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Local theatre, that won’t let you down…

A new theatre production holds a mirror up to the real life of new parents, and asks “Why doesn’t anybody tell you what it is going to be really like?

The Let-Down Reflex is an original theatre production that explores how parents constantly find their reality falls short of society’s unfairly optimistic expectations surrounding pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenthood.


The Let-Down Reflex tells personal stories of parenthood, many of which are based on real-life experiencesMrs Riedl, was asked to stop breastfeeding in the foyer of her Bendigo workplace in October last year.

I came up against an ingrained culture of conservatism at the top level, and their refusal to admit that they hurt my feelings was tough to handle. It made me so angry, anxious and eventually depressed,” she says, “so in the end, I just channelled that negative energy into something creative.”

The result is both a biting satire and an emotive piece of playwriting. The play draws together poignant stories from other parents, proving that negative experiences are not unusual in the first few years of parenthood. Scenes include a scathing beat poem addressed to the her former boss, and a Monty Python-esque medical Professor whose lecture on the pregnant body is both hilarious and sickening.

The Let-Down Reflex is reflective of Tripwire Theatre’s aim to provide high quality, affordable performing arts that reflects our local values, celebrate our successes and critique our failures. The upcoming production certainly has Bendigo at its heart. It stars Strathfieldsaye actress Sharon Newth, and is directed by Principal of Bendigo’s Helen O’Grady Drama Academy, Alise Amarant.

7:30pm, Thursday 1 September 2016 

The Old Church on the Hill,
36 Russell St, Quarry Hill

Tickets from
$12 concession / $15 adult
NOT suitable for children. Occasional coarse language. 

The Let-Down Reflex is the first public presentation of work by the new theatre group, Tripwire Theatre Inc. “Tripwire is the culmination of everything I have done in my career thus far”, says Megan Riedl, group founder and first Artistic Director. 

Tripwire Theatre Inc. is a not-for-profit group who develop new theatre projects in regional Victoria. The groups’ members are collaborative professional theatre-makers and arts managers who don’t have the time, resources or opportunities to earn a living full time from their theatre practice. 

TRIPWIRE logo new

Tripwire Theatre Inc. presents

The Let-Down Reflex.
Written by Megan Riedl & Bjorn Worpel. 
Directed by Alise Amarant.
Performed by Sharon Newth, Bjorn Worpel & Megan Riedl.
Original Music by Bill Elder.

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Local history and collectables

Well, we’ve discovered a great way to explore the Bendigo region, get your hands on amazing pieces of local history and support local business. 

P5220146Visitors to the Bendigo region know only too well the enjoyment of hunting through antique or collectable stores trying to find great pieces. So much so that antique fairs and other collectables fairs are now common place in the region, bringing in thousands of visitors and the vital tourism dollars, but are we making the most of these great opportunities that are at our fingertips all year round?

There are many antique and collectable stores across Bendigo and Central Victoria from Castlemaine to Maldon, and Inglewood to Daylesford. Many small towns rely on these businesses to bring visitors into help the micro economy of their towns.

We set ourselves the challenge to purchase small items from antique or collectable stores in the area, to highlight the amazing long history of Bendigo and Central Victoria. This not-so-arduous task involved going for leisurely country drives to explore our vastly beautiful countryside. We are truly spoilt and it only takes a short drive out from our home to remind us of this. We stopped at these towns and either bought a coffee or lunch while walking through the towns to find their antique or collectable stores. Then with our small set budget, we hunted to find and buy small items of our local rich history.

miss maldon xHere a just a few historical things we found just waiting for us:

  1. A 1951 City of Bendigo Centenary Medal
  2. A Bendigo Anzac Day 1921 Medal
  3. A Commemorative Medal from 1920 for The Prince of Wales visit to Bendigo
  4. The 1971 ‘Miss Maldon’ badge for the Maldon Easter Charity Fair

What we have in Central Victoria is a long history (by Australian standards). It’s great personally to have just a few small pieces of Bendigo history at home and to share with family and friends. Moreover, the time spent driving across our beautiful region was worth the effort in and of itself, let alone doing our small bit to spend a few dollars to help out small local businesses.

We highly recommend you take advantage our countryside and the history at our fingertips. When you do so, please tell us and show us what you found on Twitter or Facebook to show off your local history. Happy travels!

Thanks for the submission and account of your weekend Bendigo Sommelier.

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Election Sausage 2016


Image stolen from the Bendigo Weekly

Voting in the Bendigo electorate? You need an election day sausage, so we’ve been on a quest…

…to find the sausages! Election sausages! They help the voting go down a treat.

Where to go to vote in the Federal Election on Saturday?
As all polling booths in Bendigo are in the Bendigo electorate, we have many choices:

Sausage sizzle, cake stall AND breakfast bbq
Eppalock Primary School
Opening at 8am they’ll be serving a hot breakfast bbq, then the usual sausages later on. A delicious cake Stall with LOTS of country homemade goodies on offer and the local CFA will have a stall so you can chat to them & ask questions. Accessible for wheelchairs.
Corner of Patons Road and Axe Creek Road

Sausage sizzle AND cake stall
Axedale Hall
Spring Gully Primary School 
St Monica’s Primary School, Kangaroo Flat
Tyledon Primary School

Sausage Sizzle
California Gully Primary School
Creek Street Christian College
Junortoun Community Action Group
, Bendigo Baptist Centre – 757 McIvor Highway

Quarry Hill Primary School (sausages, hamburgers, drinks)*
Lightening Reef Primary School

* vegetarian options available!

More here via the Federal Election Sausage Sizzle Map and Democracy Sausage.
Here are all the other places you can vote in the Bendigo electorate. Polling places are open from 8am-6pm.

Let us know if we need to add to the list.

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Bendigo Burger Adventures – Part I


McIvor Road Takeaway’s Deluxe Burger

by Paul Waldron

Paul’s first contestant in ‘Bendigo’s best sub $10 burger’ quest comes to you from McIvor Road Takeaway. (Thanks for the suggestion Gus)

A strong contestant at $7.25 with an optional $3 ‘upgrade’ to include chips and a can of drink. May I present The Deluxe… I’m assuming it’s the McIvor’s take on the lot. Only this time, possibly the only place where pineapple is inclusive and not extra. Definite vantage points there.

The shop presents a range of different burgers of different names without any pretentiousness e.g. ‘The Chicken’. One can only imagine what type of burger that might be referring to.

The Deluxe is complete with all trimmings: beetroot, lettuce, tomato, well-melted cheese, egg, bacon, onion, and, of course, a bit of ‘dead horse’ as the iconic Australian saying goes. The neat stack of almost cookie cut pieces is worthy of advertising but every bit as authentic and fresh unlike certain fast food restaurants would have you believe.

Still leaves me hunting for that perfectly cooked, ever-so-slightly runny egg yolk, though. Wherever shall I go next?

McIvor Road Takeaway 5441 1615
91 McIvor Road, Bendigo

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Bendigo quilters and patchworkers!

CraftAliveBendigoLocal quilters and patchworkers in the Bendigo area are being asked to donate their time and skills to produce patchwork blocks, all in the name of charity.

The blocks will form completed quilts to be auctioned off at the Bendigo CraftAlive Expo (17-19 June 2016), as part of the Quilts of Hope initiative that supports children living with cancer and other life threatening blood disorders.

For 27 years, CraftAlive has run Australia’s premier regional craft shows. Through Quilts of Hope, CraftAlive has united hundreds of crafters across Australia for a worthy cause.

“This month we need more participants to reach our goal of completing 20 quilts for the charity auction. We’re calling on craft enthusiasts of all ages and skill level in the Bendigo community to bring some local artistic flair to Quilts of Hope.” says Tess Gutknecht, from CraftAlive

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for amateur and professional crafters to show off their beautiful quilt designs while giving back to a worthy cause,“ adds Tess.

Quilts can also be made from start-to-finish as part of Australia’s largest Quilt-a-Thon at the Bendigo CraftAlive Expo next week, and will either be donated to children entering hospital or auctioned off to raise funds for Challenge, the recipient charity.

Jane Rainey, from Challenge, says “Quilts of Hope is remarkable initiative – every quilt sold can make a difference in benefiting the lives of kids living with cancer and their families.”

Individuals and local groups can visit for more information, and to reserve their Quilt-a-thon spot at the Bendigo CraftAlive Expo. For those who are unable to attend but would still like to make a difference, a FREE kit can also be ordered online.

Since launching earlier this year, over 500 crafters across Australia have contributed patchwork blocks to the Quilts of Hope initiative, with hundreds of volunteers turning them into quilts. Nearly $10,000 has been raised from the sale of the completed quilts or auction items and donated to Challenge.

Quilts of Hope will be travelling the country with CraftAlive shows throughout 2016. The next stop will be Ballarat in July, with the next big event night in Tamworth in September

Craft Alive
Bendigo Showgrounds (Holmes Road, North Bendigo)
Friday 17 June – Sunday 19 June
10am – 5pm
For further information and to purchase discounted tickets to the Bendigo CraftAlive Expo, visit

We have a double pass to give away for Craft Alive – Bendigo 2016.
Head over to our Facebook page and tell us your favourite kind of craft – that’s all you have to do.
Entries close at 5pm on Monday 13 June 2016.


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Bendigo 2020: Collaborative, Innovative, Abundant

by Karen Corr, Social Entrepreneur at Make a Change Australia
Originally published by the Bendigo Weekly on 3 June 2016 

2020: It’s official, Bendigo has made it to a world leadership city.

Key challenges have been addressed and Bendigo has been awarded the most creative and socially innovative city in Australia. The lines between government and community have disappeared.

In the past five years true collaborative partnerships have been forged through a shift in attitude and produced the most extraordinary results.

As a community we respect our leaders – at all levels. We have expanded the concept of leadership to beyond the elite and those in authority to recognise that leadership is a generous contribution at many levels of society.

People who are passionate about creating positive change in their community and have the skills and drive and commitment to do so have been key to creating effective social change and in turn a thriving, livable city for all. Whether labelled changemakers, social entrepreneurs, volunteers or innovators, it is acknowledged that these people are crucial in the future development of the city and their time is valued.

Ample cross sector support has been given to these community leaders who have been recognised as highly educated, resourceful, caring people working tirelessly and often in an underpaid or voluntary basis to make a difference in their community.

Respect is given to those that give up their careers and give their time so generously to create new innovative approaches / initiatives / enterprises for the benefit of the community.  In particular, government and local agencies have worked hard to remove the road blocks allowing us to foster effective partnerships and create collaborative and innovative solutions.

Investment in skill development and ongoing support for emerging leaders has significantly expanded the capacity to make positive change in Bendigo too. More people are willing to have a go at making good stuff happen and are rewarded in their efforts.

Risk taking in backing social enterprise is now encouraged and there are adequate seed funding programs to enable this. The word ‘failure’ has been replaced with ‘learning’ in our common discussions, which allows us to benefit fully from all innovative processes, irrespective of their immediate outcomes. This has been and continues to be, our foundation for long term sustainable improvement.

We have achieved extraordinary results in the way consultation occurs within communities. Rather than governments talking to communities about what they want and need, it is now standard practice that communities talk to each other about what they want and need and outcomes are produced that are community driven and owned with the support and partnership of government agencies.

This is a much more powerful and long lasting approach for those communities. 

A direct link between creativity, community and economic development has been achieved. Investment to drive cross sector collaboration and partnerships for community benefit, utilising and respecting the resources that already exist in our community has made a huge difference in outcomes for the city.

As a result of all this, Bendigo has transformed itself. Local businesses are thriving. There are many more micro businesses and social enterprises creating local employment whilst at the same time addressing key social issues.

The city is alive with creativity – festivals, participatory events and pop-up shops. There has been a shift in thinking and action when it comes to the purchase of local art, locally made, locally grown. The creative industry is alive and well in this town.

Neighbourhoods have become vibrant hubs of activity, they are more connected and there is much less social isolation of individuals and groups.

Our most disadvantaged are supported and empowered.

Health and well being statistics have improved.

Education is considered crucial to the overall wellbeing and development of the city – programs of education, not just through schools, but for the general public, and particularly those who are in most need, are invested into by business, community organisations and government.

Our environment is respected and people are aware of the many benefits a healthy and nurtured environment provides and are actively working to not only lessen the impact but restore and regenerate it.

Young people are included in decision making and seen as contributors and listened to as our next generation of leaders. More and more innovative housing models are being developed giving more people options to have a secure and affordable home.

Our indigenous culture is acknowledged and respected, included and celebrated. Multiculturalism is celebrated. Fear of the unknown has, in the past, caused angst, upset and divide. Community led initiatives have been supported. These initiatives have built connections, understanding and respect between different cultures and backgrounds.

The strategic approach to build a culture of collaboration and innovation via effective partnerships has paid off, and Bendigo whilst it was good before, is now the most livable, inclusive city in the world.

“Now it’s the age for the translator. It’s the age for the bridge builder. It’s the age for Velcro. It’s the age for Lego. It’s the age for combining what we already have into what we need.” Van Jones

KarenCorr2Karen Corr is passionate about creating positive change.
Karen has a background in environmental engineering with over 10 years experience in water management and sustainability consulting.
She left her career to start a life in community sustainability and social entrepreneurship. She has been involved in numerous other social change initiatives: the Bendigo Sustainability Group, Goldfields SolarHub, Reposer Bendigo, WiserAustralia and the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance
Karen set up Make a Change Australia to work with local people to create effective social and environmental change.

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Bendigo 2020: Faith in our city’s great future

by Margaret O’Rourke, CEO Aspire Cultural and Charitable Foundation
Originally published by the Bendigo Weekly on 27 May 2016

It is 2020 and I’m driving north into Bendigo along the High Street Boulevard. The Sacred Heart Cathedral with its established Aspire Precinct comes into view. I never tire of this glorious vista. The magnificent cathedral is like the guardian of our city; representing the gateway to what lies ahead in beautiful Bendigo.

Despite your religious beliefs, this commanding building defines Bendigo’s goldfields past and a ‘can do’ attitude of never giving up. It also offers a promise; a promise of a city with a great future.

The forecourt surrounding this gateway is the Aspire Precinct, a civic space to rival the cathedrals of the world. It is the final piece in the cathedral’s long history… and it captures the light of another autumn afternoon in downtown Bendigo 2020.

I never expected when I left Bendigo in 1993 to follow career aspirations, that my passion would ultimately be for my community. Growing up in Bendigo where the population sign never changed from 48,000 for so many years; I yearned for the brighter, bigger lights, to work and live in large cities, as well as regional, rural and remote Australia.

Ten years ago my family brought me home; my husband Ray enjoyed Bendigo and wanted our girls to grow up in an inclusive regional community with all of the opportunities of a big city. My passion led me in the direction of connecting communities through digital economic development in education, health and tourism.

Bendigo’s gateway is stunning; no other regional city in Australia has the presence that we have, and on the menu of delicious Bendigo offerings, this gateway really is a great entrée.

The civic open space of the Aspire Precinct is a regular site for markets, boutique concerts and family events and families and diners enjoy the casual cafe and retail experience of the boulevard area. Inner city living on both sides bustling with offices and shops frame this recreational area with its attractive green space and tram stop.

At the main course of Charing Cross, a sweeping suite of historic architecture opens before me, with eateries and shops making use of the Beehive building and other historic gems. The green respite of Rosalind Park is a hub for share bikes allowing residents and visitors to move leisurely around the city. Along Pall Mall past the majestic Shamrock, Old Post Office and Law Courts into the dessert of our city where the restored Vahland Fountain presides with grandeur over this space.


St Killian’s Church, Bendigo

Continuing north on our goldfields history and faith tour we come to the bookend to the city, St Killian’s Church, the largest wooden church in the southern hemisphere and the site of the original 1850s slab and canvas chapel.

I must mention I am following this tour on my augmented reality device powered by a free WiFi mesh over the whole City of Greater Bendigo.

At this intersection we see the entrance to Bendigo’s Health precinct with its world class hospital which has been open now for more than three years and bustling Bridge and Chapel streets with a myriad of allied health businesses. On the opposite corner, the re-purposed TAFE city campus site is now an energetic hub for our youth with the Centre of Excellence in Health educating local, state and international students.

All of these activities are taking place on a stretch of road no more than a kilometre long. These outcomes have taken vision, guts and determination to make them happen.  Another example of the ‘can do’ attitude our goldfields were built on, and known for.

Bendigo continues to evolve and grow – it is an innovative city, a smart city, a thinking city, a welcoming city – this is not new it has been happening since the goldrush.

Faith tourism is bringing new economies to Bendigo with faith tours reinvigorating our tourism assets as Aspire shares stories of our goldfields past. Faith tourism is real and in fact the fastest growing tourism sector in the world. Bendigo faith communities are working together to drive this new economy.

The Faith on the Goldfields Interpretative Centre welcomes locals and visitors to experience the many faith assets our region is home to: The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Chinese Museum and Joss House, Karen Monastery, Islamic Mosque, Greek Orthodox Church, Jewish Community, Coptic Monastery, and the many varied Christian churches built in the goldfields.

The Aspire Precinct’s Library Learning Resource Centre and business innovation hub attracts different people to work together to socialise and communicate in an inclusive environment. They work on social projects to make real change with support of large and small partnering businesses in a think tank approach that is generating strong economic and social outcomes.

Education is a large part of the precinct, with year five and six students from across Australia experiencing an immersive program in the Faith on the Goldfields interpretive centre. As part of their curriculum they are learning from the stories of our past and relating this into their current day and how it will help create their future.

I relax after this satisfying three course dinner, with a coffee, of course. Bem_o_rourke_250pxndigo’s coffee culture is still thriving in 2020. I reflect on the great strides Bendigo has made in the past four years with the culmination of iconic projects in tourism, education and health.

I also say a quiet thanks to the men and women of the past who started the building of our great city from the mud of the goldfields, to the citizens today who are working together to pay homage to this past and create an inspired future.

Marg O’Rourke is an active member of the Bendigo community, involved in a variety of organisations and charities.

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