Bendigo Magazine - Issue 61 - Summer 2020/2021

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ISSUE 61 | SUMMER 2020/2021





ISSN 1833-1289 AUD $5.95 (Inc. GST)

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MANAGING EDITOR Dustin Schilling PHOTOGRAPHERS Leon Schoots and AJ Taylor WRITERS Geoff Hocking, Mark Kearney, Jennie Mellberg, Lauren Mitchell, Kate O’Connor, Raelee Tuckerman and Marina Williams

There’s such optimism in the air this summer. Many of the local folk we caught up with for this season’s issue shared tales of preparing for the future. Many spent the dark days of 2020 hatching plans and putting in place steps to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions brighter, bolder and better equipped for the days, months and years ahead.

CONTRIBUTORS Beau Cook, Lisa Chesters and Ashley Raeburn

A number of the city’s creative practitioners, like Reece Hendy on the cover, took part in the Emporium Creative Hub’s first incubator program, which aims to foster creative ideas into successful businesses.


Jordan and Emma at Huntly Organics defied the odds this year to increase production on their new farm at Huntly, with further plans to add to the acreage under crops, for the health and wellbeing of all.

PO Box 5003 Bendigo, VIC 3550 Phone: 0438 393 198


The Bridgewater Hotel’s new owners spent their lockdown time renovating the riverside town’s only watering hole, now welcoming locals and holiday makers, and securing the heritage icon’s future. Artist Chris Duffy is emerging from his studio with a collection of eye-popping artworks, inspired by the year that was. Plus, Bendigo’s cultural offerings are opening up again, just in time for the holidays… may yours be full of fun with your loved ones.


ON THE COVER: Reece Hendy, of Nacho Station, spent part of lockdown learning to work on his business, thanks to The Emporium Creative Hub’s new incubator program. 4

Bendigo Magazine takes all care but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Bendigo Magazine holds copyright to all content unless otherwise stated. ISSN 1833-1289. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in this publication. The views expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editor or the publisher.

Artist: Cassandra Hansen

A Bendigo Christmas

Shop local this Christmas at Uniquely Bendigo.

Unearth locally produced and grown delights, one-ofa-kind pieces from designers and artists in the Bendigo region and treasured mementos to gift your loved ones. Shop in-store or online and let us help you find the perfect gift. Gift wrapping available in-store with free click and collect available.

Table Matters

r Alp on Artis i t: Shar


Living Arts Space exhibition

NOVEMBER 15, 2020 – JANUARY 31, 2021 The Table Matters exhibition is a celebration of the art of dining. Ceramists Sharon Alpren, Cassandra Hanssen and Emma Jimson have come together with Libertine Florists to set the table in the Living Arts Space. A breath-taking floral installation sets the scene to appreciate the ceramicists’ skill in realising the texture, aesthetic and form of an object that enhances the experience and ceremony of enjoying a meal together.

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Together to innovate - Emporium Creative Hub


The great escape - Breakout Bendigo


Artist, unmasked - Chris Duffy










Vegging out in Huntly - Huntly Organics


Ham it up - Beau Cook


Take one pav - Daniel Treacy


Christmas cheers - Ashley Raeburn


Bridgewater beckons - Bridgewater, Victoria Top care - Lisa Chesters Engineering his future - Chris Stoltz Looking through the lens of nature - Sol Musk Building our community - Bendigo TAFE Tales from the Camp - Ray Wallace All aboard - Miniature railway Start your engines - Bendigo Kart Club

A city oasis - Landscape feature





Bendigo’s Creative Industries Coworking Community

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local loves

Bendigo businesses support the community for good.

CHRISTMAS APPEAL TO HELP KIDS BRIDGEWATER HOTEL WELCOMES ALL Situated just a few steps from the banks of the Loddon River, the Bridgewater Hotel has been the ideal place to while away a sunny day. On cooler days and nights, open fireplaces offer an equally warm welcome. The hotel, with its stunning art deco features, has been integral to the Bridgewater community since 1940. Throughout the years, it has adapted to be either a destination venue or stop-off point as people tour the region. It has recently undergone a renovation inside and out. The revitalised beer garden overlooking the river is the ideal place to host festivities this summer, says owner Virginia Hyland. Virginia and her partner Greg McKinley purchased the hotel about 18 months ago, keen to step in and revitalise the popular landmark. It’s very much a family affair, with the couple’s children a familiar sight working in the kitchen and running meals out to diners. “We purchased a tired hotel and made it an amazing business again,” she says. Today, the business employs 14 local people. The Bridgewater Hotel is open seven days for lunch and dinner, with local wines featuring on the menu. To book a table or your next event, phone 5437 3576.

Rehabilitate: The process of helping a person who has suffered an illness or injury restore lost skills and so regain maximum selfsufficiency. Four-year-old Amelia Pinchbeck was born with cerebral palsy after suffering a stroke in the womb. Now a bubbly youngster, Amelia has attended regular rehabilitation sessions at Bendigo Health her entire life. Like most children, having fun is the most effective way to hold her interest, especially during therapy. Bendigo Health’s Christmas Appeal this year will raise funds for valuable paediatric rehabilitation equipment to support children like Amelia. Donations will help fund a specialised and permanent rehabilitation therapy space for children from across the Loddon Mallee region. More than 100 children are treated by Bendigo Health’s rehabilitation services at any one time and for them, the best therapy happens during play. Bendigo Health Fundraising & Foundation manger Rachel Mason is urging the local community to support the annual Christmas Appeal. “Having therapy locally is extremely important to families,” she says. “The impacts of COVID-19 have highlighted the need to have quality medical care and treatments available in our region, limiting the need to travel to large metropolitan centres like Melbourne.” Bendigo Health’s rehabilitation services aim to help children to improve their function following major injury, illness or medical procedures so they can enjoy physical play at home, in playgrounds and at school. Donations to the Bendigo Health Christmas Appeal can be made at or in any local Bendigo Bank branch.


ELLIS WINES CELLAR DOOR Ellis Wines is situated on the rich red Cambrian soil in Colbinabbin. It was in 1999 that the Ellis family planted their first vines. After a decade of supplying grapes to other wineries, winning many awards with their fruit, the urge to create their own label became too hard to resist. In 2009, their first vintage was released, complete with the signature of the family name signed with a quill. Today, Ellis Wines sell their vintages in the heart of Bendigo, with a new cellar door open at 52 Garsed Street.

MCKERN FOUNDATION FRESH FRUIT FRIDAY The McKern Foundation proudly sponsors the Fresh Fruit Friday program, which delivers fresh fruit to primary and secondary schools throughout Central Victoria. The foundation recognised that not all students have access to fresh fruit, so with the help of partners, Fresh Fruit Friday was created. Now in its sixth year, the foundation believes it’s the biggest and best of its kind in the country. At one point, the program was delivering 1080kg of produce to 11,375 students in 39 schools across the Bendigo area. “We are really proud of what we are achieving with this program and couldn’t do it without our fantastic partners,” says founder Michael McKern. “We have calculated that in the six years the program has been running, we have delivered over 2.5 million pieces of fruit to local students.” The youngsters love it too. Blake, from St Monica’s Primary, says: “You get hungry at break and then you can eat it while it is there. The apples are juicy and crisp, just the way I like it.” Since its inception 25 years ago, the McKern Foundation has proudly supported the following organisations and charities: Metricon My Home, Henly Homes Charity House, Royal Children’s Hospital, Kids Under Cover, BSE College Athletes Development Program, Community Grants Program, and many local sporting groups.

ESE CONSULTING KEEPS IT LOCAL Over 16 years ago, Katie and Michelle Johnson launched ESE Consulting. They had a vision of opening a recruitment company that truly respected and cared about the work they carried out. They wanted to build a workplace that possessed a culture that aligned with their strong values of integrity, respect, empathy and transparency and to develop genuine, longstanding business relationships with both clients and candidates. The aim was to create a workplace where staff enjoyed coming to work. Fast forward to 2020 and ESE Consulting is one of our region’s leading recruitment companies, supplying many local Bendigo businesses with outstanding employees, both temporary and permanent. All ESE consultants are Bendigo locals and have graduated with business degrees from La Trobe University. Michelle and Katie love doing business in Bendigo and are very appreciative of the continued support from the Bendigo community. ESE Consulting is 100% locally owned and operated and committed to the Bendigo region. Their ethos is about ‘keeping it local’. They buy from local businesses and support local organisations. ESE Consulting is passionate about contributing within our community and continue to donate money and ‘pro bono’ services to many important social and community initiatives. For more information and to discuss your recruitment needs, contact the friendly team at ESE on 03 5442 6676 or today.


With its earthy decor, complete with bluestone floors and a separate barrel room, the urban cellar door offers a fresh and inviting space to sample their wines, says Raylene. “We’ve created a relaxing space in the heart of Bendigo, where guests can visit and have the option to taste our estate-grown range, while relaxing with friends,” she says. Wines to sample include the Premium, Signature and Rebel Range Shiraz, Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rose and Viognier. “If you are looking for a unique gift for a connoisseur, we have in-store gift vouchers available.” There’s also the Ellis Connoisseurs Club, with members receiving special wine offers and loyalty discounts. Pop in and see Raylene from 11am to 4pm weekdays and on Saturdays. Discover Ellis Wines at 52 Garsed Street, Bendigo, or visit

KOMBI KEG CENTRAL VICTORIA Need some inspiration to shake up your next event? Talk to the team at Kombi Keg Central Victoria, as they could have your drinks service covered. Kombi Keg is a unique mobile bar that can roll up to almost any event. Whether it’s a birthday, wedding, corporate event, family get-together or just about any kind of party, Kombi Keg Central Victoria can provide keg hire for serving beer and other drinks. It’s probably the only time that beer and vehicles can mix; and Kombi Keg Central Victoria is a first for the region. It’s a family business, owned by Rodney Burns and Jaime Townsend, and part of a global franchise with businesses in more than 50 locations worldwide. Yet, the concept is true blue because it was initiated in Australia in 2015, when founder Phil Hoken bought a 1976 VW Kombi van and had the idea to transform it into a mobile bar. It blends practicality and classic style, with a sophisticated twist of vintage. The keg on wheels is delivered to the event, and can be set up to pour any type of drink from the cold taps that run down one side of the van. Think, icy-cold beer, water, soft drinks, ciders, cocktails, spirits, wine and more. As part of their service, the Kombi Keg team will organise the pickup, delivery and return of supplies before and after your event. To make your next event that little more memorable, talk to Rodney and the Kombi Keg Central Victoria crew on 0407 767 299 or visit

THE GO-TO LOCALS FOR BUSINESS ADVICE Thinking differently is a must for any business, especially in this rapidly changing world. The team at Fortem Business Solutions are specialists in adapting to change, having grown from a start-up five years ago to become a leading boutique advisory service with clients across Australia. Fortem’s experienced team partners with businesses and individuals to deliver integrated, tailored business and advisory services to build wealth solutions. The group was formed when founders Lisa Willis, Tim Croke and Gerard Horan recognised a gap in the market for a business able to offer high-quality business advisory, finance and wealth management services under the one roof. They know what it’s like to build a business from scratch and understand what’s needed to support clients and move them towards their business and personal goals. “Adapting to the environment around you whilst having your goals met as a business owner is a difficult task, which is where we can help,” says Lisa. “We can work with you to refine your business processes and take care of the details; acting like your own professional finance department, allowing you more time to focus on business growth and strategy. And, if you need it, our experts are also able to guide and support you through more complex business decisions, such as mergers, acquisitions and sales.” With a team of 10, Fortem Business Solutions offers banking, finance and strategic financial advice services tailored to meet the specific needs of each client’s business. “We can help you work on your business, rather than in it. This could range from helping resolve issues with existing systems, improving reporting to fuel better decision-making, or implementing processes, systems and software better-suited to today’s environment. We can make a difference.” Contact Fortem Business Solutions on 5441 3377 or visit



Contact us today to discuss your business goals. Our services are tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. Whether it’s help resolving issues with existing systems, improving your reporting to fuel better decision making, or implementing processes, systems and software better suited to today’s environment, we can make a difference.

TALK TO US ABOUT: Mergers and aquisitions Business planning for growth or downsizing Finance restructuring Back office services including: payroll, human resources and bookkeeping Cashflow management Board reporting and investor relations Grandeur Private Pty Ltd (ABN 64 613 155 025), trading as FORTEM Business Solutions. Certified Public Practice Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ.

GASTRONOMIC DELIGHTS! A wonderful feast for the senses awaits you in Castlemaine at Oakwood Smallgoods – a boutique manufacturing business that offers a unique experience from the moment you step through the doors, where the fragrance of smoked and cured meats will make your mouth water.

TINY SPROUT POPS UP For the past five years, Tiny Sprout has been offering awardwinning customer service and providing gorgeous goodies for little ones. They are excited to open their latest pop-up shop at 3 King Street, Bendigo. The bright and open wonderland is filled to the brim with clothing from newborn to size 10, high-quality toys, beautiful gifts and unique keepsakes. Plus, there’s a colouring table to keep children entertained while adults browse. Tiny Sprout is proud to stock over 60 of the most sought-after brands, including Jamie Kay, Mushie, Nature Baby, Sapling, Quincy Mae, Two Little Ducklings, BIBS Dummies and Write To Me. The store also stocks a range of local Victorian brands, including The Rest, Josie Joan’s, and Olive and the Captain. Keeping little people looking great, helping customers choose gifts, and offering fantastic customer service are some of the fun things a shopping experience at Tiny Sprout is all about. If you are short on time, you can pick your goodies online and collect in-store. If you can’t make it in, Tiny Sprout offers free local delivery in Bendigo. In addition, Tiny Sprout can send items Australia-wide and internationally. Visit Tiny Sprout in-store: 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, or 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.


Ralf Fink is happy to pass on his knowledge and passion as he is a trained German fleischmeister – one of only six in Australia. Ralf wants people to experience real honest food by sharing his expertise with visitors or any business interested in stocking or cooking with his wonderful selection of goods. These include bacon, ham, salami, prosciutto, black pudding and the list goes on. In fact, there are more than 120 products available. Quality free-range Large Black pork, Te Mania Angus beef and Dorper lamb – all local – are prepared with attention to detail before using traditional methods via the old-fashioned wood-fired smokehouses for curing. Depending on its destined finish, there are also brine or hot water vats for cooking prior to smoking, as well as the dry curing room and the aged-beef cabinets. Good old-fashioned service is offered with a smile by Ralf and Raksi, with an explanation of the meats given along with tastings if possible. After all, they take pride in making their produce the way smallgoods should be – full of meat, spices and tradition! The shop, situated behind the brewery in the courtyard area at the Mill Complex in Walker Street, is open Thursday to Monday with plenty of parking available. Or phone Ralf on 0449 857 212 with any query you may have.

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DANCE MOVES For 10 years, Z Fit Studios hasn’t missed a beat in Bendigo. It’s been setting the pace as an innovative and award-winning dance studio, scoring several regional and state accolades. To mark its anniversary milestone, in January the team will launch a new structured dance and creative program called Z Fit Studios Academy.

MAKING A STYLISH STATEMENT If there is one decor item that can change the look and feel of any room in the house, it’s the floor rug or hall runner. It unites furnishings and adds the finishing touch to elevate a space to a welcoming sanctuary, says Tamara Thompson, owner/ operator of Rug Addiction. With a creative eye for design and quality, Tamara has been helping people transform their homes with floor rugs and hall runners since she opened her store in 1993. Through the years, she has steered Rug Addiction to become a premier supplier of quality floor rugs and hall runners Australia-wide. The showroom features a diverse collection of woven treasures in a mix of colours and material to suit many lifestyles, and there is an online store too. “When you are wanting that special piece to complete a room, I want it to fit into your home as if it was always a part, while reflecting your tastes and catering to your needs,” Tamara says. Each piece in the store is meticulously sourced through leading Australian importers, which means every buyer can “have a slice of my fascination at home with you”. For the fifth consecutive year, Tamara has been the go-to supplier of floor rugs and hall runners for the hit TV show The Block.

Contestants have called on her expertise to source the best pieces to complete myriad spaces in their houses – with many of the weekly winning rooms featuring her products. “No matter who the person is or the home, I enjoy helping people find the right floor rug that will lift a room and complete the space,” Tamara says. “The right floor rug or hall runner can bring any room to life and renew its look, creating that magazine photo finish for an affordable price. Creating that stylish statement is what we are all about.” Rug Addiction is located at 129 High Street, Kangaroo Flat. Contact Tamara on 5447 0433 or view the collection online at

It will also be the region’s first dance and creative institute to be certified as a Keep Kids Safe in Dance childsafe organisation and a licensed Body Positive training institute. “We’re excited about what we have achieved in the past decade,” says executive director Saari FrochotChauhan. “And we’re equally excited that within a few more months, Z Fit Studios Academy will expand to add even more programs, making it one of the only places in Victoria to provide such a wide variety of structured programs under one banner.” Students can take classes in multiple dance styles, such as acrobatic arts, ballet, contemporary, hiphop, jazz, music theatre and tap. “The new curriculum will cover both technique and performance classes for all ages, based on syllabi designed by one of the world’s greatest international dance societies.” With a passion for dance, fitness and creative industries, Saari identified a gap in the Bendigo market. The business has grown to become one of the region’s most progressive organisations, with a passionate team of more than 15 people teaching and guiding students. Supporting Saari is Dave Chauhan as CEO and Jennifer McClean as head of the academy faculty. Graduates from the Victorian College of the Arts, who are Cecchetti-certified instructors and reputed performers within the industry, will provide additional teaching support. “It’s a talented faculty, and the team will be designing and teaching these programs in a highly professional, yet personalised, caring and collaborative style to all students,” says Saari. To enrol at Z Fit Studios, phone 0401 978 607 or visit



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TRUST, LEADERSHIP AND SUPPORT Patrick Leo is pleased to welcome Casey Wynne to our Bendigo Office. Joining Laini Schilling and Demi Keegan, forming one of Bendigo’s best property teams. Premium service is our standard. Contact us today to discuss your property managements needs.

Ph: 1800 728 536

Bendigo, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane

Photograph by Brendan McCarthy

arts on offer

Creative Bendigo is ready to shine again this summer. THE WAY BACK The Bendigo Venues & Events unit of the City of Greater Bendigo is charged with managing the city’s key performance venues, as well as delivering local arts programs to contribute to the city’s cultural development. In March 2020, its venues (The Capital, Ulumbarra Theatre, The Engine Room and The Bendigo Bank Theatre) and its meeting, function and exhibition spaces (Dudley House, Bendigo Town Hall, the Bendigo Bank Theatre and The Capital’s Banquet Room) were closed due to COVID-19. Immediately, the process of processing ticket refunds and rescheduling performances commenced. Venue ghost lights were lit (theatre tradition is to light a single globe and place on centre stage when a venue is unoccupied) and permanent staff were relocated or redeployed. From May, the annual RAW Arts Awards – showcasing the cream of performing, visual, literary and digital content from Bendigo’s younger artists – was moved online with great success. More than 100 artists’ work appeared in an online exhibition. At the same

time, the Play At Home program launched and saw 60 local performers playing from their homes to an online audience. Online exhibition What I Did Last Week received 780 works from 175 local artists, responding to lockdown conditions. BV&E presented a swag of local artists in the national online music festival Isol-Aid, and local arts stars were interviewed weekly for In The Wings. From July, an ambitious program of livestream performances and events was presented at (an empty) Ulumbarra Theatre, including: a local showcase concert series dubbed The Way Back; Dragon City Sounds, a major online concert for young people featuring Young Australian of the Year Baker Boy; and a headline concert for Bendigo’s Blues and Roots Music Festival. “On reflection, the forced ‘pivot’ for BV&E was relatively intuitive for an innately creative team,” says marketing co-ordinator David Stretch. “In a matter of weeks, our team had recalibrated work plans and was delivering programs to support local artists, audiences and workers reeling from the overnight shut-down of the industry.

“The path to return to live audiences and reopening of our venues is tricky, but there is a huge amount of work underway to ensure our audiences are protected, and able to fully appreciate the fantastic arts and entertainment experiences we expect to deliver from early 2021. “The reimagining of our business - the way we produce, present, engage and deliver - is evolving. We have described this period of innovation as ‘The Way Back – our new way forward’. “Despite the challenge and change of 2020, BV&E’s mission is as relevant now as ever – to enrich and delight. And while we are super-proud of our work to remain connected and supportive, we are very much looking forward to seeing live audiences return to Bendigo’s incredible theatres.”


PAUL GUEST COLLECTION With his eponymous art collection on display Bendigo Art Gallery, The Honourable Paul M Guest OAM QC has long been an advocate for Australian artists. Since the late 1960s, the former Family Court judge and Olympic rower has amassed a significant collection of modern and contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture with a particular focus on abstraction and conceptualism. Paul also encourages artists from across Australia to engage with the important medium of drawing in contemporary art practice through the biennial Paul Guest Prize. Both he and Bendigo Art Gallery are administrators of the drawing prize, which is open to Australian residents and offers a non-acquisitive cash award of $15,000. Previous winners include Laith McGregor, Peter Grziwotz, Heather B. Swann, Tom Nicholson and Belinda Fox. The exhibition will showcase the 42 finalists from 2020. Close relationships with artists have been a defining factor in his approach to collecting. Paul says he is drawn to the “tough painting” that talks to the philosophies and politics of life, and representational works that focus on explorations of humanity. “My abiding and passionate interest in art commenced several decades ago and from those early beginnings, I was introduced to contemporary art in a holistic way, which ran parallel to my professional career,” he says. “I appreciate that the journey for artists is, at times, a demanding and tortuous one and I trust that in some small way, I have and will continue to assist them to achieve their full potential.” Visitors to the exhibition can also purchase a richly illustrated catalogue featuring essays from Ashley Crawford, Kirsty Grant, Doug Hall AM, a biography by John Harry and more. The Paul Guest Collection is at the Bendigo art Gallery until February 7. Visit

BENDIGO CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL After a thrilling launch and sold out inaugural event, the second year of Bendigo Chamber Music Festival will have a slightly different feel – for obvious reasons. 2020 has been a very difficult year for musicians and audiences, and it is truly life-affirming to finally be able to play together again. In partnership with the City of Bendigo and Bendigo Venues & Events, the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival will bring some of Australia’s best artists together for 15 concerts from February 3-7, 2021. The five days will feature a huge cross-section of chamber music favourites alongside lesser-known masterpieces, which are sure to become favourites! From solo instruments to a sumptuous string orchestra, from Vivaldi to Gershwin, every program promises something enticing. The festival will again be divided into four different concert series: an 11am “Morning Recital” series; a 2pm “Inside and Out Conversations Series”; a 5pm “Dusk Series”; and an evening “Summer Nights Gala” series. But there will be some slight COVID-19 alterations. To maintain the balance between an intimate setting and social distancing, the 5pm concerts will only be available for festival pass-holders. The Summer Nights Gala concerts will also now feature 60-minute programs and be performed at 7pm, and repeated at 8.30pm each evening. In 2021, BCMF continues to be committed to its community engagement and educational concerts. Over 45 different events were conducted in 2020. There are also free events to be enjoyed by the whole community, including masterclasses and cushion concerts. Festival organisers look forward to welcoming everyone to their second festival, where they aim to make the extraordinary art-focused city of Bendigo sing, in the company of some of Australia’s very finest musicians. Join them in celebrating the re-emergence of live performances!


CLAY PLAY Ceramicist Prue Venables is an artist whose work explores the significance of everyday objects. Using myriad materials, such as porcelain, silver, wood and copper, the Central Victorian artist meticulously crafts delicate bowls, vases, jars, funnels, cups and saucers. Each item is gloriously stunning in form and function. Quite simply, they are stunning works of art. Visitors to the Bendigo Art Gallery can see her artworks first-hand at the Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft exhibition from the Australian Design Centre. The exhibition is open until February 7. Prue is the ninth artist in the ADC series, which celebrates the achievements of Australia’s most iconic crafts practitioners and the unique place they occupy in the national design culture. The ADC describes her sculptural artworks as possessing “clarity, luminosity and a quiet beauty”. “Prue Venables shows a true mastery of materials. The artworks demonstrate a profound understanding of porcelain, the most precious and temperamental of clays,

whose fine-grain and opaque qualities are expressed in rigorous works of refined detail. These are handmade functional artworks.” The artworks explore the significance of everyday objects through multiple sequences of forms in porcelain, with additional elements in metal and wood. Since 1977, Prue has devoted her time and energy to the mastery of porcelain,

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becoming one of Australia’s most skilled and lauded potters. Her work with fine porcelain has been celebrated through numerous national and international exhibitions, awards and publications. “The forms are simple and elegant, with a minimal colour palette, and create a distinctive visual language,” the ADC says. Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft\Prue Venables is at Bendigo Art Gallery until February 7. Entry is free.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

vegging out in Huntly Head to market, to market, with Huntly Organics, which is fostering Bendigo’s food revolution just north of the city. By Lauren Mitchell – Photography by Leon Schoots




Jordan and Emma Collin were just one month into trading their Huntly Organics produce this year when COVID-19 restrictions hit Victoria. They’d just harvested $1000 of fresh veggies when they got the message that their sole trading avenue, the local farmers’ markets, were being shut down. “We had no one to sell our produce to,” Jordan says. “I drove past Woolworths and the whole car park was full and I just cried. Suddenly, we were being told local food markets were just a novelty. But the public showed us that was not the opinion.” Organisers of the Bendigo and Castlemaine markets acted swiftly to advocate for stallholders, and their ability to provide COVID-safe outdoor markets. As such, they went from offering three markets a month to 10, and doubled the number of stallholders in the process. “All of a sudden we needed more produce for more markets, with people realising maybe the supermarket food isn’t the best,” Jordan says. “If you eat whole foods, you can pretty much do your whole shopping at the market – with a bit of planning and buying in bulk – there’s just that much food being produced locally in Victoria.” In November 2019, Jordan and Emma set about adding to the region’s foodbowl through establishing a new organic farm on the Bendigo-Tennyson Road. It was a natural progression of the obsession that started with the pair being Willing Workers on Organics Farms, or WWOOFers. Jordan, who grew up in Bendigo, and Emma, who hails from France, met at a share-house in Melbourne before travelling together. To ensure Emma’s second holiday visa, they chose to fulfil the government’s stipulation for visa-holders to work on farms. “We ended up working on an avocado farm and an essential oils farm to get Emma’s hours up and we found it was a lifestyle we actually enjoyed,” Jordan says. They began researching organic farming practices online and found Youtube clips of Curtis Stone – “not the Coles chef, the Canadian farmer”, an urban farming advocate who promoted the possibility of the quarter-acre farm. “We saw the model and thought, hey we could start that without first having a million dollars. We could spend a small amount of money to set it up and resell the infrastructure if it doesn’t work.” At that stage, they were living in New Zealand, where they found their 1000-square-metre plot in Kaiwaka, at the top of the North Island. They farmed the block for four years, selling organic vegetables in the region’s farmers’ markets. Then, they came to Bendigo on a 10-day holiday to see Jordan’s family, which changed the course of their farming endeavours. “We drove out to Elmore to see my father and saw all this wide, flat land, and wondered how much it would be to buy land out here. We ended up buying this property for well under $200,000. The same land in New Zealand would be $600-$800,000. It was the difference between a 15 and 30-year mortgage. Plus, it turns out there’s this massive food revolution happening in Bendigo and we arrived in the middle of it,” Jordan says of Bendigo’s new status as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.


Right now, Huntly Organics has 2.5 acres in production, with plans to build up to four acres of herbs and vegetables, another four acres of nut and fruit trees, and 12 acres of heritage grain crops. “Pretty much anything that can be grown in Central Victoria,” Jordan says. “Bendigo can feed Bendigo. Aside from subtropical crops, we can produce anything here. Why are we relying on unstable food distribution networks when we can be producing local food?” And there lies the ethos of their work. “The old distribution networks aren’t working, and we saw that when COVID hit and we saw produce missing from the supermarkets after a few days,” Jordan says. “Farmers’ markets are about people voting with their dollars. They’re voting for a local, sustainable food system that’s affordable, profitable and good for the environment.” Good for the people who grow the food, too. Jordan describes himself and Emma as coming from the ‘Disillusioned Youth Club’. “When you find something like farming, it can be really fulfilling,” he says of landing on their feet out here north of Bendigo. “Australia was a farm-based economy not that long ago. That lust for labour and problem-solving is still in the bloodline of a lot of people. It’s physically fulfilling – you’re not sitting in an office all the time. It’s mentally fulfilling – you’re always problem-solving. We have 60 different crops, all with their own chemistry, biology, water needs and pest challenges to overcome. “A regenerative approach to farming is the opportunity for a lot of people who want an intelligent job and not just to be a cog in the wheel of a corporation. We go to farmers’ markets with crates of stuff and people come and give us money for it. It’s such a pure, fulfilling sort of trade.” He says organic farming is more than just not using chemicals; it’s about understanding soil microbiology, regenerating the earth’s natural processes and working with them. They’re in good company in Bendigo. Emma describes swapping some bok choy and dill for cherries at a recent market. “They were from a guy with an orchard in Harcourt,” she says, later naming Ant from Tellurian Orchards. “He grew them, we can trust them, and they taste even better. It’s important to know where our food comes from.” Emma says scratch the surface of many common food labels and you’ll find multinational companies using child labour, stolen water and contributing to environmental degradation. “We need to ask, where has this come from? Why is it not made in Australia? Who are these companies and what are their values?” You just need to look around this place to see Huntly Organics’ values. In the year Jordan and Emma have been here, they’ve enlisted Bendigo Landcare members to help plant 500 trees along Reedy Creek. They’ve abolished chemicals from the property. They’re nurturing a thriving market garden for themselves and the community to benefit from. Keen to learn more? Meet them at the Bendigo Community Farmers Market each Thursday afternoon at The Good Loaf bakery, and on the second Saturday of the month at the Bendigo Pony Club site. 28

“I enjoy being able to have a diverse career and the ability to hone my skills in my area. I’ve worked in Melbourne and London but there is just as much on offer in Bendigo. The Allied Health leadership are strong drivers of a supportive team environment so it is a great place to work.” Susie Ellis OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST

“Bendigo Health has a multidisciplinary Allied Health team that works across all areas of health. It is a supportive work environment, where leaders actively listen to you to support your career goals and I enjoy being encouraged to engage in research.” Mel McIntyre SPEECH PATHOLOGIST

ALLIED HEALTH OPPORTUNITIES A career in Allied Health at Bendigo Health offers many diverse and exciting opportunities. Bendigo Health has a large Allied Health team that works in a supportive environment closely with patients on their journey to help them achieve their goals. To apply and register for job alerts, visit Find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn

together to

innovate As one year closes, the doors are ready to open on Bendigo’s first creative industries coworking hub. Hello December 2020, physical collaboration is back from its enforced isolation. By Marina Williams Photography by Leon Schoots As the early weeks of 2020 ticked over, the team behind Emporium Creative Hub was, like thousands of other business operators, full of optimism and excitement for opportunities the new year was to bring. Key to the hub’s exciting business model was an open-plan coworking space that had been purposely designed to bring together a diverse group of individuals keen for personal growth, professional development and creative inspiration. But a pandemic was not aligned to those plans; instead forcing a global community to retreat to their homes. It was the distinct opposite to what the hub crew wanted to achieve for Bendigo. “Yes, it was a false start for us, but we weren’t alone,” says hub manager David Hughes. “Many other businesses haven’t been in a position to pivot like we have and ramp up an online offering to maintain connectedness with our creative community. We’re now looking forward to bringing people into the spaces to continue the collaboration they started online.” 30


ABOVE: Emporium Creative Hub coworking space. LEFT: Hub manager, David Hughes.

Coworking spaces are not a new concept, with many standalone facilities being an established place of innovation and creative activity in major cities across the globe. It is a business services provision model that sees several individuals working independently or collaboratively in a shared environment. They are great options for teams and start-ups, but also for individuals looking for inspiring places from which to work. Louise Fisher, a member of the hub’s advisory group, says: “Collaboration is what makes us human. We are creating a community that people are welcome to become part of and share, learn and be inspired about possibilities.” The hub has an emphasis on being “your place to create, connect, learn, and grow”. Funded by Creative Victoria and managed by ACMI, the hub is assisted by an advisory group of local small business entrepreneurs tasked with developing and building on its strategic direction and membership base. It is the first of its type in regional Victoria. “Its business model is based on the hugely successful ACMI X in Melbourne,” says fellow advisory group member Caleb Maxwell. “As an advisory group, our job is to make sure that what Emporium Creative Hub is doing is having the greatest impact. We’re also the sounding board and brains trust for new ideas. It’s a super exciting time for the creative industry in Bendigo and I love contributing to it.” The hub can be found in the iconic Morley Johnson building on Mitchell Street, in central Bendigo. Renovations of the site were completed in early 2020, and the interior purposely designed with desks available for rent to members. The outcome was critical not only for the business model, but also for respecting the heritage of the building. 32

RIGHT: Caleb Maxwell, Hebron Films creative director and Emporium Creative Hub advisory group member.

To achieve the desired outcome, Lucas Hodgens from e+ architecture says the design team created a series of moveable, operable walls that slide, swing and stack. The space can open into a series of small (one to two-person) pods, meeting rooms, casual breakout spaces and dedicated office space, or revert to one large event space. “Aesthetically, the architecture was kept very neutral, allowing the furniture and the occupants at any given moment to create the colour and atmosphere.” Then there’s access to traditional office items, such as a desk, highspeed internet and print facilities. A bonus is immediate access to like-minded peers for planned or impromptu networking events. Says Louise: “We have a vibrant creative community in the Bendigo region, but so many of us operate behind closed doors, in our own silos. Having a space like this – both physical and virtual – gives us a place to belong and to connect. What this means is that we can collaborate and achieve brilliant things together, as well as stave off the isolation that can be felt when working alone.” Success through connectedness is the name of the game, adds David. “While we are looking to meet the needs of the creative and their businesses, not all are alike, so we provide the foundational private and shared spaces in which a creative entrepreneur can grow their business, network with like-minded professionals and foster new opportunities. Our success will be measured in membership numbers, creatives enrolled in programs, the use of facilities, and feedback on that support and collaboration.”

LEFT: Louise Fisher, Design Pond art director and Emporium Creative Hub advisory group member.

As government-enforced restrictions on physical distancing and regional lockdowns continued throughout the year, the advisory group expanded its business model online. The team introduced new offerings, such as a mentor and incubator program and regular webinars. The inaugural Incubator program is proving popular with the first intake of participants, including regional artists Lauren Starr and Reece Hendy, immersed in a 12-week enterprise course that will help hone their business skills. “It’s an exciting program that offers a mix of education, support and advice through a series of workshops, mentor sessions and networking,” says David. “Participants can learn from established business owners in similar fields and gain insights and direction on how to harness their idea, develop strategies for success and then go on to grow their own business.” Famous incubator success stories include short-term accommodation marketplace Airbnb, and Dropbox, a file-hosting service. Both these companies started as a simple idea from a creator wanting to start something new. “It’s still early days for the programs and for the use of the space itself, but so far the response from participants, particularly in the incubator, has been phenomenal,” says Caleb. “Our goal is to ensure that the hub becomes a self-sustaining entity. We are keen to build new partnerships and get more people into the space… we’re hopeful that once the doors are officially open, we’ll have plenty of businesses itching to move in.” As another new year rapidly approaches, excitement continues to build for future possibilities. “As our members learn from experts and peers, we too continue to learn,” Louise says. “So far – thank you 2020 – it is to be and remain adaptable, as this brings opportunity. So I guess the lesson there is a) collaboration is the golden ticket, and b) there is so much that can be done with this simple idea of a creative hub.” 33

The opportunity to learn new skills and network with likeminded peers drew mural artist Reece Hendy, of Nacho Station, to the Incubator. “Having jumped into full-time self-employment in 2020, I was looking for a way to consolidate my ideas and develop a business plan that would give me direction moving forward. “Designating time each week to work ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it always suffers when we are trying to get through the long to-do list that comes with self-employment. I have become more clear on the ‘why’ I do what I do and being able to articulate my core brand message with conviction. The structured way of developing ideas to review their potential before investing time and effort is already paying off. “The main skill I am wanting to learn is how to evaluate different areas of the business to ensure I can create something that is meaningful, rewarding and sustainable.”

Photography artist Lauren Starr says the Incubator program is providing her with much-needed guidance in her eponymous business. “As a small business creative opening an art studio in Bendigo, I knew I would need guidance and mentorship to bring my aspirations to life. When I heard about the incubator, I knew it was the perfect mix of business and soul to teach me what I needed to know. And it has exceeded my expectations over and over again. “I’m halfway through, and the mentors and peers within the incubator have been incredible in helping me to create a clear roadmap for my creative business journey with actionable steps to follow. Also, they’re pretty amazing at cheering me on and nutting through the bumps in the road. I’m extremely grateful to be a part of this initiative.” ABOVE: Incubator program participant Photography artist, Lauren Starr. LEFT: Incubator program participant, Reece Hendy, lead creative Nacho Station. 34


To arrange an appointment to view our venue and discuss your wedding or function requirements please call Jenny on 5448 4209 or email |

the great escape As the brains trust behind Bendigo’s escape room adventure games, this motherand-son team has found creating mind-bending missions for others has also helped them rediscover themselves. By Raelee Tuckerman – Photography by Leon Schoots Sue and Ethan Greene are not the type to give up easily. If they were, they would never have contemplated bringing the escape room phenomenon to Bendigo. After all, their first attempt at a roleplaying, riddle-solving game during a Hervey Bay holiday three years ago ended in abject failure.

Fortunes, buying the puzzles from a Mornington Peninsula operator who had finished with them; and Murder Hotel, which she and sons Ethan and Jesse created themselves. Many of the hotel props came from Sue’s late mother, who was “a bit of a hoarder and had a whole lot of stuff that fitted perfectly into the room”.

“We went through a Harry Potter-themed escape room and only completed about 65% of it, despite being given extra time,” laughs Sue. “We needed hints left, right and centre, and eventually got out but we had a really great time. We returned the next day and tried their psychiatric ward game with a much better idea of what we were supposed to do – completing it with a couple of hints and a couple of minutes to spare.

“Murder Hotel is based on the true story of Dr Henry Howard Holmes, who was America’s first serial killer in Chicago in 1890,” explains Ethan, 17, who is his mum’s right-hand-man and also responsible for many of the clever concepts in their more recent secret-agent-inspired Espionage room.

“I’d had a year of bad health, been in and out of hospital, and wasn’t working as I’d been made redundant. Everything looked bleak and dismal but it struck me that an escape room would be a good idea for Bendigo and a great part-time job for my younger boys.” After returning to complete much research and trying out “test games” on family and friends in her loungeroom, Sue opened Breakout Bendigo in Lyttleton Terrace in November 2018 with two escape room missions: the recently retired Madame Javier’s

So what is an escape room? Sadly, we can’t give specific examples without spoiling the fun. Suffice to say it involves small teams being given 60 minutes to exit a story-themed room by solving a series of puzzles and riddles, discovering the codes to combination locks, and overcoming other obstacles. The first modern room opened in Japan in 2007, and similar games have since spread around the world, arriving in Australia in 2014. Contrary to popular belief, players are NOT locked in the room and can leave at any time. 37


“Another misconception is that they are really hard and you have to have a lot of knowledge,” says Ethan. “But we give unlimited hints whenever people want them and it’s not about the difficulty or how far you get through the room, it’s about how much fun you have. Remember, we completely failed our first room but we had so much fun.” COVID-19 put the brakes on Breakout Bendigo for large parts of 2020, but the Greenes have now reopened with modifications to their premises and procedures to ensure COVID-safe operations. They have also launched a new escape room. Wizarding Wands is the result of a Facebook poll asking the local community what theme they wanted to try next. It won narrowly over Alice in Wonderland. “It’s based in a wizard school where there are four main wands that keep all the houses together,” says Ethan. “Unfortunately, they have been lost and the young wizards must find the wands to make the school whole again. It’s our best room yet and I’m very happy with it.” Some concepts for the latest project have come from the original escape room the family visited on their initial adventure. They traded puzzle ideas from their own murder room for those from the Hervey Bay wizard game, though they’ve been modified to be almost unrecognisable. Sue and Ethan say their business venture together has been a rewarding journey of personal growth. “Escape rooms practically saved my life,” says Sue. “I was in a very bad position financially, physically and emotionally. I raised the youngest three of my seven children on my own, lost my eldest son in 1997 and my eldest daughter in 2015, and things were really tough. It has been so good to have something so positive to work on.” For Ethan, who is in Year 11 at the Netschool arm of Bendigo Senior Secondary College, working with his mum has given him confidence and he’s keen to take over the business as soon as he can. “I’d had a lot of issues with school attendance and dropped out at one stage because I suffered from severe anxiety. Before this, I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do: no goals or dreams. But this has given me something to look forward to and strive for – and it’s done wonders for my anxiety.”


With a wide variety of skills, abilities and approaches required to succeed, co-operation is the key for escape room players. Not surprisingly, designing the rooms, producing the puzzles and acting as game masters (monitoring progress via CCTV, offering clues and debriefing) is a team effort, too. “We have such a special connection, my mother and I,” says Ethan fondly. “I think it’s rare because we get along so well and I’m not sure many mothers and teenage sons could do what we do without killing each other! People say we’re like an old married couple and we even finish each other’s sentences. We rebound a lot of ideas off each other.” It takes a quirky mind and a healthy dose of creativity to come up with the challenges contained within an escape room, though Sue claims to lack both imagination and artistry. “I don’t think Mum realises how creative she is,” insists Ethan. “She comes up with incredible ideas when she puts her mind to it, as well as encouraging and adding on to other people’s concepts. One of us creates an idea and the other will change or add to it. “We work together – and she’s a good team player!” Visit or the Breakout Bendigo Facebook page for more details.


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Serve your next event in style


Bridgewater beckons The historic Bridgewater Hotel reopens its art deco doors just in time for the summertime swell. By Lauren Mitchell


Fisher folk, water skiers, grey nomads, and now, families from Bendigo and beyond are making the trip to Bridgewater, lured by the Loddon River, and the town’s local. The Bridgewater Hotel’s new owners, Virginia Hyland and Greg McKinley, have poured a whole heap of love into the art deco icon, having taken it over in September 2019 as the answer to their question, what’s next in life? Greg was no stranger to the township. He grew up on a farm at nearby Leichardt and had played football for Bridgewater – as have his sons. “I’ve done this for 34 years,” he says, pointing to the McKinley Electrical logo on his polo shirt. “And I was looking for something different to do.” “And I’ve been a hairdresser for 30 years, as of last week,” Virginia says. “I’ve now officially retired. It needed to be done, this has just gotten so much bigger than we anticipated. But I needed a new challenge.” Back in her early 20s Virginia worked at Bendigo’s City Family Hotel, and as it turns out, that’s like riding a bike. “The first beer I pulled I thought, ‘oh yeah, I remember this’. Now it’s just like second nature to me. There’s honestly a fine line between working behind a bar and being a hairdresser; in both, you get to stand around and talk to people all day.” The Bridgewater Hotel is the third pub on this site by the Loddon River, built in 1942 after the others burnt down. The architecture is said to be modelled off a pirate ship, and just as well. When the


township famously flooded in 2009 and again in 2011, the pub fared pretty well. “We’re hoping that doesn’t happen to us,” Virginia says, adding they did need to replace the kitchen floor. “Although nowadays we think the whole town would be out sandbagging for us, they don’t want to lose the pub again.” Virginia and Greg closed the doors during COVID restrictions and used the time to finish off the ad hoc renovations by previous owners, and to create what has to be one of the region’s best beer gardens, thanks to that rare water view. ABOVE: The Bridgewater Hotel’s new owners, Virginia Hyland and Greg McKinley LEFT: The Bridgewater Hotel Chef, Nate Place.

“It was just looking old and tired,” Virginia says. “Everyone before us had done bits and pieces but hadn’t finished it. We were really lucky when COVID hit because it meant we could renovate. We’ve brought it back to what it used to be.” This included reinstalling original etched-glass art deco doors, found behind a wall of the hotel, in the dining room. The other element to get a good overhaul was the menu, thanks to their “amazing chef” Nate Place. Nate hails from New York but now lives in Kyabram, a 75-minute drive each way to work. “It’s hard to find two great bosses and a great atmosphere, so it’s kind of worth the drive,” he says. “What they’ve done here and the atmosphere they’ve created is above and beyond.” Nate studied at the Culinary Institute of America for four years before working in fine dining in New York. Eighteen years ago, he came to visit a friend who was living in


Australia and loved the country so much, he’s never left. His soft American accent is not the only international addition to the kitchen. “We’ve done quite a few American-style barbecues, smoked salmon, brisket and ribs, that sort of thing,” he says. Greg believes Bridgewater is about to come into its own post-pandemic. Already there’s a steady stream of Victorian visitors, enjoying the environment in their own back yard. He says as Marong expands, Bridgewater feels even closer to Bendigo. Plus, regional real estate is experiencing a boom like no other time as Melbourne people look to invest and escape the city. The pub is in good company, too. The lovely Loddon River aside, there’s a number of new businesses and fresh enthusiasm in the town. The caravan park has new owners, the motel is primed for guests, there’s the gorgeous new Bridgewater Nursery, a couple of art galleries, nearby wineries “and everyone knows the Bridgewater Bakery”. But, let’s revisit the river, shall we? Where else can you take your kids to safely swim in a natural waterway? The beautiful Bridgey swimming hole, just a stroll from the hotel, beckons this summer.



Ph: 03 5441 5557 17 View Point, Bendigo

FROM PREP TO YEAR 12, LIFE CHANGING LEARNING, FRIENDSHIPS AND OPPORTUNITIES At Girton Grammar School, ensuring our students are happy and enjoy school life is at the heart of what we do. What strikes many visitors to Girton is the happy atmosphere throughout our School. We want all our pupils to look forward to coming to school, to relish the challenges on offer and to take advantage of the many opportunities and experiences Girton can provide. At Girton, a positive, nurturing culture opens the minds of children of all ages from Prep to Year 12 to learning and success both emotionally and academically. With a commitment to addressing the needs of all students, Girton Grammar School teachers meet students at their individual learning level and work with them to bring out their best. Discover the opportunities a Girton education could provide for your child. To find out more, contact the Registrar on: 5441 3114, or email:

Today’s graduates Tomorrow’s Alumni

It’s been a year like no other for Bendigo Senior Secondary College’s Class of 2020. While so many of the traditional rites of passage for Year 12s were either cancelled or changed dramatically, we’re so proud of the resilience and commitment shown by students in the face of uncertainty. Though it wasn’t a year we would wish on any cohort of students, we know the Alumni community will be even richer for the experiences of 2020, and that future BSSC students will benefit greatly from the Class of 2020 when they return to the college over time to share their stories and memories. The 2020 Graduation ceremony was one of the highlights of the year, despite the fact that it took place in an empty Ulumbarra Theatre. Graduates walked across the stage to receive their scroll, and the entire event was streamed later that evening for families and friends to celebrate. We wish the Class of 2020 all the success they deserve and welcome them to the BSSC Alumni community. Your stories can inspire, and we look forward to staying connected and sharing your journey in the years ahead. Like to find out more? Drop us a line...

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the artist, unmasked Bowie. Kylie. Marilyn. If you’ve spotted a pop culture paste-up on Bendigo streets, it’s probably the work of Chris Duffy. But his pantheon of pop stars and screen legends has competition from a new muse: COVID-19. By Mark Kearney – Photography by Leon Schoots Artist Chris Duffy usually baulks at the idea of painting scenes from contemporary life. More often than not, his interests lie in the nostalgic and the kitsch. Take his collage of electric-hued pop icons in Chancery Lane, for instance, where the likenesses of Dame Edna and David Bowie keep company with shoppers and diners. But the advent of COVID-19 has proved to be an exception for the 53-year-old artist, who also goes by the moniker, Ha Ho Art. Just as Victorians are emerging from Lockdown 2.0, propped up on his easel at The Avenue Studios in downtown Bendigo is a painting of a man and woman in a loving embrace, face masks dramatically tossed aside. It’s a moment of cathartic passion like the one in V-J Day in Times Square, the iconic photograph of an American naval officer and a nurse celebrating the end of World War II with a jubilant kiss. But it’s also a dangerous image in the age of social distancing.

“This should make some people shudder,” says the artist, who admits he was sceptical at the outset of the pandemic about how he would be impacted. “I thought, ‘It ain’t going to affect me’. I’m always on my own in the studio at the best of times.” But impact him it has. Not only has the mask motif made its way into his work, the past few months have seen his practice need to withstand everything from logistical interruptions – like not being able to source timber stretchers or being unable to transport work to and from his studio – to more serious consequences like jobs being postponed or cancelled altogether. It’s also meant being separated from his partner in the United Kingdom, where Duffy travels every year in a bid to escape the worst of Bendigo’s winter. He’s booked to return in April but isn’t convinced restrictions will be lifted in time. His relationship with the UK is an enduring one. The Australian-born Duffy first moved there with his family as a four-year-old. 49


One might think it was the street art scene of East London, where his family lived in the 1970s and ’80s, that inspired him to pursue a life of art. But not until Duffy returned to Australia as a 21-year-old did guerrilla artist Banksy and his contemporaries move in, transforming neighbourhoods like Shoreditch and Brick Lane into a labyrinth of murals. That’s not to say Duffy didn’t leave his mark back then. If left to linger long enough, his younger self would use whatever tool was at his disposal to carve the well-worn slogan “I woz ere” into the first available surface. When other kids wagged school to wander the streets, he skipped class to wonder instead at London’s galleries, impressed by the scale of their halls and the smell of the centuries-old works inside. Olfactory memories from childhood continue to leave an impression upon Duffy’s practice, particularly the smells from holidays spent at seaside towns like Hastings. It is where he returns to on his UK pilgrimages. “Kiss-me-quick hats, penny arcades, rock candy: these are the colours I use today,” he says, explaining his colour palette should look “good enough to lick”. His Australian-British perspective hasn’t always made sense to those around him. When studying visual arts at Bendigo’s La Trobe University in the late 1990s, Duffy says his style was sometimes criticised for being “too British”. “In England, I’ve always been an Australian. In Australia, I’m always English. And yet my mum’s Polish and my Dad’s Irish. It amuses me,” he says. But perhaps it’s that collage of experiences from a life split across two hemispheres that has helped Duffy hone his knack for meshing together different pop culture references into a single harmonious tableau.



The self-described “image vulture” uses his computer much like others would a sketchbook, trawling the internet for images that fit neatly into the vision he’s dreaming up. “Then it’s a complicated system of adjusting, making colour notes, sketching freehand, scanning, tweaking the composition and so on – whatever it takes within the realm of picture-making principles and practices,” Duffy explains. He then projects, sketches and paints the image onto canvas, a process he self-deprecatingly calls “elaborate colouring-in”. Duffy scoffs at the idea of artists who turn their noses up at technology, pointing to a noticeboard inside his studio from which a printed-out question asks: “What would Da Vinci do?” “Every time I look at it I go, ‘I know what he would do’,” Duffy says. “He’d use a bloody computer and he’d show us how to do it brilliantly!” That spirit of innovation has been called upon again during the global pandemic, which has ultimately offered Duffy the time and space to push his art further than usual. Large-scale canvas works now cover almost every available surface in the studio complex, the fruits of a challenging but prodigious period. “The fear of not knowing what was coming next or what was around the corner (meant) I decided to paint what and how I have always dreamed,” he says. He hopes Bendigo will open its doors – and its wall spaces – to artists as the city and its economy start to bounce back. It’s about more than money, though. Duffy says he’s counting on art to put smiles on the faces of people who have had more than enough tumult for one year. “If I can just stop someone for 10 or 15 seconds, maybe get them to lift their head up from their phone and say ‘wow’, I feel like my job is done. It’s something I really crave and love – and miss. But it will happen again.”


top care

Advocating for affordable childcare so skilled parents can to return to work. By Lisa Chesters, Federal Member for Bendigo - Photograph by AJ Taylor As parents, we all want our children to grow up well, enjoying success at work and in life. But with high-quality early learning straining family budgets, we often wonder if it’s worth the cost.

mothers, have told me they’d like to work more but it’s not worth it because of the cost of child care.

Access to quality early childhood education or child care is important.

Recently, I’ve learnt about a local nurse, Lauren. She’s a mum-of-two who can only work two shifts a week because the cost of extra child care is too high for her and her family. Additionally, during the peak of the pandemic, a pharmacist spoke to me about how it was costing her more to work than it was to stay at home with her children, but how she felt it was her duty to continue working because of her profession during a health emergency.

We know that a child’s participation in an organised early childhood education program assists in the development of their cognitive abilities. It also helps with enhancing social and emotional skills while interacting with their peers. In fact, children’s brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives. This is the time when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down. Locally, families have many options when it comes to child care, with council, community, not-for-profit and for-profit early childhood education centres across the region. The National Quality Framework ensures all centres are providing a high-quality educational experience with qualified educators and teachers delivering a national curriculum. Quality early learning, guided by skilled and qualified educators, makes a huge difference to outcomes for children. At a time when one in five children start school developmentally behind their peers, access to early learning has never been more important. Despite this, access to early childhood education is not universal. For many families, the cost of early childhood education is more expensive than primary school, particularly if there is more than one child enrolled. The cost of child care is a barrier for many families. A number of parents, in particular 54

I’ve heard this story locally far too many times.

I can also recall talking to a university academic who said that now her youngest has started primary school, her family was going to save thousands of dollars because of the out-ofpocket costs associated with almost-full-time child care. The current system has significant financial barriers that prevent many Australian parents from returning to work full-time. Whilst the sector is subsidised by the Federal Government, there’s a point where the outof-pocket cost of child care is more than the wage of the second parent who is working, particularly if multiple children are enrolled. Recent research from the Grattan Institute shows under the current childcare system, unfortunately, there are many families where the second income-earner is working the fourth and fifth day who are not better off. For a family with two children in child care and a primary earner earning $100,000, the gain in disposable income for the secondary earner to work a fourth day in the week is zero. That means women who would like to go back to work can’t and businesses that want to use

their talents and skills don’t get the productivity they could. The current childcare system punishes parents who choose to work full-time and, for many, blocks the idea of returning to full-time work. For millions of working women, it’s simply not worth working more than three days a week. More than ever, families need accessible and affordable child care as many continue to face financial strain and a reduced earning capacity. One solution would be to increase the maximum childcare subsidy from 85% to 90%, and remove the annual cap on subsidies for families earning more than $189,390 per year, which often sees them lose money for working extra days. These changes would ensure families have more options. For those where both parents work full-time, or almost full-time, these measures would save thousands of dollars per year. They could also make it more affordable for parents needing or wanting to work more and having to increase their childcare hours as a result. It would also be a huge step towards universal access to early childhood education. One of the things we need arising out of this recession is not to just try and go back to what was there before, but to ask the question, how do we have a recovery in which we strengthen Australia’s economic position? A good way we can do that is by boosting women’s workforce participation. Right now, we have high-skilled women who have not returned to work: not because it’s their choice, but because of the cost of child care. That’s simply wrong. Just like primary school, access to child care should be affordable and universal.


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engineering his future He’s had an esteemed career leading big organisations across Australia, but La Trobe University’s Professor Chris Stoltz keeps getting drawn back to his first two passions – engineering and Bendigo. By Kate O’Connor - Photograph by Leon Schoots Professor Chris Stoltz can’t even wait for a train without critiquing the surrounding infrastructure.

was the obvious choice. My mum drove me across, and I loved the place from the moment I saw it.”

the Fraser Government announced it was closing three significant government-owned businesses in Bendigo.

“Why doesn’t the roof of Bendigo Railway Station’s Platform 2 have downpipes? It has gutters, but it doesn’t have downpipes. So the water flows off the roof into the gutters, but then it just overflows. And I look at that and think, ‘Gee it wouldn’t take much to fix that’.”

Graduating as a civil engineer in 1972, Chris landed a job in a Melbourne-based engineering and IT consultancy, Computer Sciences Australia.

“Bendigo had already been hammered by the clothing and textiles industry winding down. So I led a number of delegations of council and business people lobbying Canberra.

This fascination with the built environment and ‘doing things better’ has underpinned Chris’s entire career – including appointments as chief executive of Sunraysia Rural Water Authority, Victorian president of Engineers Australia, and chief executive of his own company, Spatial Partners. Now Professor of Practice in Engineering at La Trobe University, Chris is focused on getting students as excited about engineering as he is. “My job is to connect the thriving engineering and manufacturing industries in Victoria, including in Bendigo, with the university. I do whatever I can to get the university in front of employers, to get students excited about engineering, and to bring the three together.” The father-of-six grew up on a dairy farm in Benalla, where he discovered a passion for making and fixing things. “I loved tinkering with machines. By the age of 14, I’d already bought my first car and rebuilt the engine – much to the displeasure of my parents.” When it came time to consider his career options, a family friend suggested engineering. “An old friend of my mum’s said, ‘You’re good at maths and physics – you should be an engineer’. That was the sum total of my career advice. But it turned out to be a really good thing.” With a desire to stay regional, Chris visited the Bendigo Institute of Technology, which later became La Trobe University. “I didn’t want to go to the city, so Bendigo

“My expertise in those days was the stress analysis of structures. I worked with clients who were building bridges across the Yarra, and rebuilding the West Gate Bridge, which had collapsed a couple of years prior.” As a former student, Chris was invited back to Bendigo as a guest lecturer and, after a chat in the staffroom, was offered a job lecturing and reviewing the engineering program syllabus. After he moved back to Bendigo, Chris got his first taste of community involvement, for which – after many years of dedicated community service – he would later be recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours. “A large service station had been built in Golden Square and had badly impacted the drainage of the properties behind it. Council proposed a drainage scheme, but they wanted the affected residents to pay for it. “All the residents – most of whom were elderly – were up in arms. Several of them came to me and said, ‘well you’re a bright young man, we need somebody to fight the council against that plan’. “In the end, the council capitulated and paid for the drainage scheme and that got me a lot of publicity. That was my first foray into media and representing people: getting involved, sticking my neck out.”

“By the ripe old age of 30, I’d already made a name for myself. I was a champion for all things Bendigo.” Despite stints working in Mildura, Melbourne and south-east Queensland, Chris said he was always drawn back to Bendigo, partly because of its long and proud history. “The thing that I found in Bendigo is that the history of entrepreneurship and ‘having a go’ is really strong. “There was this amazing amount of gold, and technology and mining. Bendigo had Australia’s first stock exchange; Myer started in Bendigo; the building societies that were there when I was a student went on to become Bendigo Bank. “Those things made me feel proud that I lived in this city, even at a very early age.” Now Chris helps students see the wealth of career opportunities in regional communities like Bendigo. “With our strong manufacturing sector, there are so many opportunities for engineers – particularly those who have an IT bent.

Soon afterwards, Chris was approached by members of the community to run for council.

“So many processes can be enhanced by better utilising data, analytics and the Internet of Things – and having access to experts in these areas will help businesses become more efficient.

“I ran for council and was elected in 1979. I remember thinking how funny it was that I’d arrived in Bendigo in 1969, and there I was 10 years later on the council. Then, not long after that, I was mayor.”

“If, like me, someone looks at things and thinks ‘why are we doing it that way?’ or finds themselves sitting on a station platform studying downpipes, perhaps they should consider a career in engineering!

Over the ensuing years, Chris fought for the city’s manufacturing sector, including when

“And there’d be far worse places to work than Bendigo.” 57


looking through

the lens of nature

For this Bendigo student, a VCE assignment not only connected her to culture and Country, but resulted in a major writing prize. By Jennie Mellberg – Photography by Paul Galaska Sol Musk could never have imagined the journey a piece of creative writing would take her on. The Bendigo Senior Secondary College Year 12 student is passionate about a lot of things – music, sport, philosophy, climate change, politics, and in particular, her Aboriginal heritage. She is also a gifted writer. A story written for her VCE English literature class, My Mother Wanda, was recently named a winner in the Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers. Sol says the news of her story’s success came as a real shock. “I submitted the story back in early July, then in the craziness of 2020, completely forgot about it,” she says. “I received an email to say I’d been shortlisted and thought, ‘surely this is a mistake’.” In the midst of her VCE studies, Sol admits the story didn’t come easily. “It was hard to snap out of the academic writing required in my other VCE subjects and enter into the imaginative mindset this kind of creativity requires,” she says. Storytelling has long been an integral part of Aboriginal culture and My Mother Wanda sees Sol participating in a tradition at the heart of Country. The story imagines a wallaby telling her joey about the history and significance of the ancient Djab Wurrung birthing trees in western Victoria that continue to be the focus of intense conflict between local Indigenous people and the Victorian Government, which want to construct a highway through the area. Researching for the story, Sol found that

wallabies like to be solitary. She narrated the story through the eyes of the animal, allowing her to play with the idea of solitude, coupled with place and Country. She was inspired by the work of South African writer Ceridwen Dovey, who she was studying at the time. “Her work charts the stories of animals during times of human conflict,” Sol says. “I also tried to channel the style of Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal… setting the tone by looking through the lens of an animal.” While winning the award was very satisfying, My Mother Wanda also enriched Sol’s own growing appreciation for her links, through her father, to the Gundungurra Aboriginal people whose Country is the mountains around what many Australians know as Goulburn, NSW.

project and media reports that she became aware of the huge effort by Djab Wurrung people to save the birthing trees. There have been protesters at the site for over two years. “It makes me so sad and angry that cutting down these trees has to be a wake-up call. In a single day, an ancient Directions Tree was just gone! “It’s really important to remember how emotionally jarring it could be if that was to happen, for so many people and from so many different perspectives.” Sol contrasts the destruction of the trees to last year’s fire in France’s 800-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral.

“For a long time, my Indigenous heritage meant little more than a tick box,” Sol admits. “But as I’ve grown older, and especially after I took part in Australia Day protests, I’ve grasped more clearly what it means to be Indigenous in Australia.

“People are donating huge amounts to Notre Dame’s restoration,” she points out, “but equally significant cultural and religious sites here in Australia that can be tens of thousands of years old and of significance to countless generations, can be bulldozed, blown up or have a highway run through them.”

“People feed me the line that so many Aboriginal people have to endure: ‘You don’t look Aboriginal, you’re too white’. But my mum pointed out that if you take a black coffee and add milk, it’s still a cup of coffee. No matter how much milk you add, it’s still coffee.”

Sol studied English literature, French, philosophy and classical studies in Year 12 and hopes to follow an arts/law pathway beyond BSSC. She wonders if someday she’ll become an advocate for Indigenous voices that are so often dismissed.

Another important step for Sol was her VCE extended investigation subject, in which she researched wider community understanding of commonly used Aboriginal symbols, such as the boomerang, Torres Strait Islander flag and the didgeridoo.

“When it comes to issues like the Djab Wurrung trees, we need to listen to people who know,” she insists.

She also discovered many people are unaware of the difference between a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country.

“I’ve definitely thought about it more since the Hachette Prize,” she says. “I’ve never really thought of it in terms of a career, but I do really enjoy it, and I plan to keep writing.”

It was through the extended investigation

Before the success of My Mother Wanda, Sol hadn’t considered writing as a part of her future.


building our community Bendigo TAFE innovates for the future, with a new-look campus in the heart of the city. Construction work is on track at Bendigo TAFE’s city campus, with much already achieved over the past 11 months of activity. The education provider believes investing in these facilities is an investment in the community, as they are providing better spaces that more students will be able to use. Two new buildings are being constructed and two existing heritage buildings are being refurbished. A new main entrance to the facility will be created from Hargreaves Street, into the new Building G. New law courts will be situated at the far end of the TAFE block and, while not part of the campus, they are being built at the same time in a complementary design to ensure the whole site is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.

This will help showcase the training occurring within – Bendigo TAFE is proud of what it delivers and wants people to see what is happening and be part of the action. Also, the TAFE hair and beauty salons have prime position on Hargreaves Street to attract clients who provide students with practical, hands-on skills and real-world experience that is a vital part of their training and assessment requirements. Bendigo TAFE has been part of the local community for over 160 years. It has five campuses in central and northern Victoria that support over 5700 students annually. Inviting members of the public to be part of the students’ training journey keeps everyone invested in their success.

Bendigo TAFE is no stranger to innovation and embracing new ways of learning. Its Centres of Excellence were created to ensure that local health and food and fibre students learn in purpose-built facilities and are well-connected with their industries. The City Campus Revitalisation Project will allow the institution to welcome more students to a vibrant learning environment. It stems in part from research carried out about six years ago, where student feedback was that the facilities were tired and not easy to navigate. It hopes the building works will cement its role in the community. The project includes a new restaurant for hospitality, cookery and barista training, with much excitement at the prospect of welcoming the community into this part of the campus. The training restaurant will be in the refurbished School of Mines building and will be open to the public for select dining services, as well as being used as a teaching space and a community events location.



tales from the Camp Enjoy an extract from new local history book Woodvale, a step back in time, which covers the settlement’s Indigenous past, gold rush, early settlers, churches, pubs, artists, sports, natural disasters, tragedies, crimes and environment. By Ray Wallace Photography by AJ Taylor Undoubtedly one of the most interesting buildings in Woodvale is the old Camp Hotel, situated to the south of Flagstaff Hill. The original owner, Mrs Deeming, had mining interests and in 1858 she employed a party of men to construct a puddling machine in the district. Mrs Deeming arrived in Australia in 1857 and by May that year was granted a licence to run a hotel by the District Licensing Bench, which sat at Sandhurst (Bendigo). The parlour was decorated with quaint engravings of George IV and a small library contained, among other items, a history of Derbyshire, leather-bound in quarto. Like all the other goldfields, this area of Woodvale, known as Sydney Flat, had its share of rowdy behaviour and lawlessness. On one occasion, a suspected bushranger rode his horse into the Camp Hotel and tied his mount’s reins to the rafters, which he easily reached from astride the horse. Without dismounting, he aggressively ordered a pint of beer. Not flustered or otherwise put off her stride, Mrs Deeming wittily replied: “For yourself or the horse?” 63

LEFT: Margaret Dolman BOTTOM: John Dolman

day. Dolman had cleared out and it seemed as if his wife would have to face the charge. Fortunately for her, Dolman eventually turned up. A local newspaper reported: “John Dolman of Beelzebub Gully was informed against for having sold three nobblers of brandy and several ‘old toms’ (a mug with two handles holding a quart) on Sunday last. The case was remanded until Thursday next for the attendance of counsel (sic). Margaret Dolman, the wife of John Dolman, was charged with being the occupier of a tent where spirituous liquors were illegally sold. Owing to the difficulty of the police obtaining an interview with her husband, he having since turned up, she was discharged.”

Not all such incidents had a humorous conclusion. On Thursday, February 7, 1861, at about nine o’clock at night, Mrs Deeming answered a knock on the door and was confronted by four masked men. (Were they bushrangers? Records in the Bendigo district concerning bushranging are tantalisingly vague.) One of the men knocked her to the ground with a pistol butt, then she was dragged inside and bound with rope. Five miners who had dropped in for a drink were also overpowered and trussed up. The gang helped themselves to drinks and eventually departed with several ounces of gold. They were never apprehended. This incident drew much public criticism of the district police, and the Sydney Flat residents lived in fear of further attacks. This was reminiscent of the Kelly Gang scares of a later period, but on a much smaller scale. Mysteriously, there was a six-day delay before medical attention was rendered. Much sympathy was expressed for Mrs Deeming and at neighbouring Eaglehawk, a concert held on her behalf netted £16.16.0 ($30). At this point, the elderly Mrs Deeming faded out of the life and activities of Sydney Flat. The next owner of the Camp was the Englishman John Dolman. He married the Scottish Margaret Preston in 1853 at St James’ Church of England, County of Bourke, Melbourne. Shortly after, they spent time at Daisy Hill near Ballarat, before travelling by horse-drawn dray to lronbark near Bendigo, where Dolman had an alluvial claim. In the mid-1850s, he had a store at Wellington Gully, not far from Sydney Flat, and by 1859, he had commenced ‘sly grogging’ in Beelzebub Gully in Sydney Flat. On June 8, 1860, he was caught and the case appeared before the Eaglehawk Police Court the same 64

on August 28, 1865, under the first James Macpherson Grant Land Act, he purchased a block of 57 acres. He followed this with a further 76 acres in March 1866 and added another 22 acres to his holding in July of that year. The Dolmans had six sons, of whom three were farmers, two were railway engine drivers, and another worked as a miner in the Nil Desperandum at Raywood, where he contracted the progressive occupational lung disease silicosis, which eventually took his life. The Evans brothers, sons of a daughter of John Dolman, continued as mixed farmers on the family land, with additional purchases in the Woodvale district, until the 1970s. Poet Henry Lawson knew the bush pubs well, as is clear in this extract from his poem, The Roaring Days, first published in 1889: “The rough bush roads re-echoed

Dolman was further remanded to appear in the Eaglehawk Police Court on June 25. The Bendigo Advertiser, under the heading, ‘Illegal Selling of Spirituous Liquors’, tells us that:

The bar-room’s noisy din,

“John Dolman was charged by Constable McGovern with this offence. This case differed from many of those lately brought before the Bench inasmuch as the defendant not only sold beer but various kinds of spirits, a large quantity of which was found on the premises and the evidence showed that he was doing a thriving trade in the same, and that on a Sunday.”

And hearty clasp of hands

The offence was clearly proved, the defendant was fined £50 ($90) or four months’ imprisonment and the liquor was to be confiscated. The fine was paid. Horror of horrors was the fact that Dolman’s offence was committed on a Sunday! The resourceful Dolman brought his illicit grog from Melbourne by dray. Dolman purchased the slab hut that served as the Camp Hotel from Mrs Deeming in 1862. It was newly established as the Camp Hotel and Store and under the Dolman regime it flourished. Nearby, a kiln was constructed and the bricks for the new building were made on the spot. The old hotel still stands in a fine state of repair. When John Dolman died in 1878, his wife carried on the operation of the pub, which was eventually de-licensed in 1910. John Dolman also took up farming pursuits and

When troops of stalwart horsemen Dismounted at the inn. And oft the hearty greetings Would tell of sudden meetings Of friends from other lands; When puzzled long, the new-chum Would recognise at last, Beyond a bronzed and bearded skin, A comrade of the past.” Lawson would have rejoiced with the ghosts of Woodvale’s gold rush pubs and shanties. Like his bush pubs, Woodvale’s, too, are ghosts of the past. For more information on the book, and to order a copy, go to publications/woodvale-history-books/

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MAIN ST B R I D G E W A T E R 3 5 16

the past revealed in pictures

Over the past couple of months, a relative has been sending me photographs, taken from her father’s old 35mm slides of when she holidayed with her parents in Bendigo, houseswapping with us, in the 1950s. By Geoff Hocking The family from which this second or third cousin comes lived in Geelong, and as a teenager my mother would often spend her holidays in the bayside city with this extended group. This holiday swappingabout had obviously been going on for quite a long time. I hope you have been able to keep up. The definition of relativity is difficult to fathom, but it may best be explained thus: the sender of the photographs is the daughter of my mother’s first cousin. She and I are of a similar age. When we were much younger, we would go to Geelong for our summer holidays, staying in their newly built modern home; they would come to Golden Square and stay at our place. Occasionally, both families would be in the same house at the same

time, which is evidenced in some of the photographs that show us all together. Her father had a brand new 35mm camera, while we were probably still brandishing our Brownie Box jobbies. He took slides. He was a member of the Geelong Camera Club and took photographs of unusual and artistic themes – and when in Bendigo, took photographs of old mining sites, old cottages, streetscapes and various shots of the family when we were out and about. One favourite of all the family pictures sent to me was of my maternal grandparents standing in their front yard in Chum Street. They lived two doors up the street from our house, and my grandfather is proudly holding the largest beetroot I have ever seen. He did like his veggie garden and this photograph proves he was good at growing

stuff. Other photos are of various mineheads in various states of decay. One in particular is of a small timber poppet-headed mine in Long Gully. I wrote about this some years ago, when describing the artworks of Kenneth Jack, who created a set of coloured linocut prints of Gold and Ghost Towns of Victoria in the 1960s. One print from this series was of the same mine photographed by my relative, at what would be roughly the same time as Ken Jack cut his lino. I had been lucky enough to be able to purchase an original print several years ago, and for some time I had been considering making a larger painting, using Ken Jack’s artwork as reference, but decided that would be just copying and therefore didn’t seem quite right. 67

When the set of photographs arrived, I had an excuse, and have now painted several pictures based on these old photos of forgotten Bendigo. One shows the East Clarence Mine, a broken-backed timber-framed poppet head near what I can just make out is the Sailor’s Gully Hotel; another, an intact steel-framed poppet head, with its engineroom boiler chimney still standing among broken footings and other machinery parts left to the elements. I was reminded that the Bendigo landscape was littered with these remnants of our glorious industrial past when I was a lad. I was reminded of the monolithic grey sandscapes, the leftover spoils of quartz crushing, which were playgrounds for us kids and were never far from our homes. We flew kites from the flat tops, we slid down the sandy slopes on sheets of corrie-iron, we dug tunnels into the sides to make sand caves, and fought battles armed with pampas-grass spears against kids from opposing tribes up and down, in and out, around and around, our grey Sahara on the goldfields. Not all of the sand dumps were plain grey. There were several near the junction of Specimen Hill Road and Marong Road, diagonally opposite today’s Bendigo Stadium, and others out near Eaglehawk, where the dumps were a deep crimson colour, the result of cyanide treatment of the quartz sand in the hope of reclaiming any gold that might have been missed in the first crush.


Motorbike scrambles and stock-car races were held on these flat, red sand pans, but like so many other relics of Bendigo’s gold mining past, they too have been cleared away and new housing constructed in their place. One photograph shows members of our families walking down from Curnow Street, across an empty paddock, which is now Banool Street, and looking toward an undeveloped hillside with the old Foggitt & Jones Smallgoods Factory still sitting, straddling the hilltop. All gone now, and every space in between is filled with housing. In the distance, smoke can be seen rising from burning at the old Golden Square tip, which was also on an old sand dump. All gone now. I had a close look at this photo and recognised an iron farm gate, in the upper left fence line, hanging on my grandfather’s fence. As a curious coincidence, in the past week I have just rescued this old gate from my veggie patch, where it has been acting as a fence for the past 30 years. I’ve given it a lick of KillRust and will now install it on my driveway. Just keeping Bendigo’s past alive, one picture, one gate, at a time. 69

ham it up By Beau Cook - Photography by Leon Schoots

Oakwood Smallgoods Co. in Castlemaine has perfected the perfect table treat this Christmas. Here’s what to do with it...


GLAZED OAKWOOD SMALLGOODS JAMBON BLANC Ingredients • Oakwood full-size jambon blanc ham (5-6.5kg) Baste: • 250g Castlemaine honey • 3 Tbls. (1/4 cup) Harcourt apple cider vinegar • 2 tsp. coriander seeds • 1 tsp. fennel seeds • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper • 1 tsp. chilli flakes, use sweet paprika if you don’t like heat • ½ tsp. mixed spice Herb brush: Simply tie together some woody herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage or oregano to use as a basting brush. Alternatively, use a pastry brush.


7. Prepare herb brush and set aside.

1. Bring ham out of the fridge and let sit covered at room temp for 1 hour before cooking.

8. Remove ham from oven and discard foil. Using the herb brush, baste the entire ham generously then return to the oven and roast for a further 1½ hours, basting every 20 minutes. For the final baste, drag up some of the sticky tray juices as well.

2. Preheat fan-forced oven to 160C. 3. Using a sharp knife, score the ham all over in a criss-cross pattern about 5mm deep into the fat. Do not score into the flesh. 4. Place ham into a large roasting dish/ tray lined with baking paper and cover with foil, place in oven and roast for 30 minutes. This will open up the score marks ready for basting. 5. Meanwhile, prepare baste: Place coriander and fennel seed into a mortar and pestle and grind into a coarse powder, then stir through remaining spices. 6. Place honey into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, then stir through vinegar and spice mix. Set aside.

9. Remove ham from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before carving. 10. Pour off the tray juices and set them aside in a ramekin, which can be reheated when ready to serve and used as a sauce. *NOTE: Jamon blanc differs to a traditional smoked ham, which has a tough inedible skin. Jamon blanc has a nice delicate skin that is best left on the ham. If using a smoked ham, remove and discard the skin first before scoring. Also, if you go for the half-size ham, increase oven temperature to 180C and reduce the total cooking time to 1-1½ hours accordingly.


Cellar Door Open Daily 11am-5pm (except Good Friday & Christmas Day) Taste and Purchase Current and OlderVintages | Boutique Accommodation Now Available 156 Forest Drive Marong,Victoria Australia | Phone: (03) 5435 2534 | Fax: (03) 5435 2548 |

take one pav By Daniel Treacy - Pastry Chef - Alium Dining | Photography by Leon Schoots

Pastry chef Daniel Treacy shares his take on the classic pav this Christmas.


PAVLOVA ICE CREAM VANILLA ICE CREAM • 400g milk • 160g cream • 30g skim milk powder • 50g egg yolks • 125g caster sugar • 20g glucose syrup • 7g cornflour • 5g vanilla paste • 2x vanilla beans 1. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla paste in a bowl. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla beans lengthways and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture. Add the dispensed beans to the milk mixture and cover the mixture with cling film. Refrigerate overnight to infuse. 2. Combine the skim milk powder, cornflour, yolks, caster sugar and glucose syrup in a bowl, and whisk to combine. 3. Take out the vanilla beans and heat the infused vanilla milk mixture in a small saucepan to lukewarm, then pour over the previously combined egg yolks and powders whilst whisking. Return this mixture to the saucepan. 4. Heat the mixture to boiling point whilst whisking continuously. Allow to boil for 30 seconds then pour into a flat tray and cover with cling film. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled. 5. Churn ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

PASSIONFRUIT COULIS • 150g passionfruit pulp • 100g dextrose powder (found in brewers section of supermarket) • 20g caster sugar • 1g citric acid 1. Combine the caster sugar, dextrose and pulp in a small saucepan. 2. Heat this mixture to boiling point and allow to boil for 30 seconds whilst whisking continuously to avoid the fruit burning at the bottom of the pan. 3. Whisk in the citric acid and allow to chill in the refrigerator until assembly

RASPBERRY COULIS • 150g frozen or fresh raspberries • 100g dextrose powder (found in brewers section of supermarket) • 20g caster sugar • 1g citric acid Follow the method for Passionfruit Coulis.




• 125g egg whites

1. Scoop a fifth of the churned ice cream into a chilled stainless steel or glass bowl, then cover it with raspberry coulis.

• 1g salt • 125g caster sugar • 125g pure icing sugar 1. In a stand mixer, whisk egg whites with the salt until they begin to foam. Once foamy, slowly add caster sugar a spoonful at a time 2. Allow the meringue to develop in size until it is glossy and when you take a pinch of the mixture and rub it in your fingers, you cannot feel any undissolved sugar. 3. Sieve icing sugar and gently fold through the meringue. 4. Spread meringue out on a baking sheet and bake at 80C for 2 hours. 5. Once baked, allow to cool completely then crush into pieces and store in an airtight container.

2. Scoop more ice cream and cover with passionfruit coulis. 3. Repeat this process until you have the desired amount of coulis in your ice cream. Be sure not to mix it too vigorously, because you want to keep the swirls of raspberry and passionfruit and not fully incorporate it into the ice cream. 4. When ready to serve, cover the ice cream with crushed meringue pieces and drizzle more passionfruit and raspberry coulis to taste.

Elegance and style Award winning fruit from rich Cambrian soil


H| Cellar E A Door T H-C T EStreet, Bendigo Vineyard - 3025 Heathcote Rochester Road, Colbinabbin 52 O Garsed | | 0401 290 315

WINETASTING & SALES Visit our Cellar Door and Gallery. You can relax and enjoy wine tasting in air conditioned comfort or relax outdoors in the gardens.

“AN EXCELLENT WINERY, PRODUCING WINES OF HIGH TO VERY HIGH QUALITY” JAMES HALLIDAY Open at weekends, at other times by appointment - (03) 5439 5367 - 77 Faderson’s Lane, Mandurang - (9km South - East of Bendigo, Off Tannery Lane)

Christmas cheers

Celebrate the season with some top Bendigo drops. By Ashley Raeburn - Restaurant Manager - Alium Dining Photograph by Leon Schoots



Ellis Wines is definitely one of the success stories from the Heathcote wine region in recent times. With a strong focus on Shiraz, the team also produces fantastic Cabernet, Merlot and Viognier, going from strength to strength in terms of releasing exceptional quality wines that continue to bring home a swag of awards. These include being named one of the 10 Dark Horse Wineries of 2021, a 5-Star Winery rating, and three wines rated 92 or above in the renowned James Halliday Wine Companion.

The name honours a former local publican who, in 1868, purchased the land at the vineyard site, which is nestled on the banks of the Loddon River, approximately 50km northwest of Bendigo. Since the mid2000s, the Turners Crossing team has been regularly producing exceptional wines from varietals such as Shiraz, Cabernet Viognier and the rare Italian varietal Picolit.

With the fruit grown on the ancient Cambrian soils of the Heathcote wine region and with top-quality viticulture processes, this wine was already destined for success before bottling. However, the first glass makes you realise how good it actually is. Aromas of raspberries, blackcurrant and mint all come to the fore as the wine really opens up after 10 or so minutes in the glass. Just-ripened plum and cherry flavours are complemented by spicy vanilla notes and the smooth, fine tannin structure leads to the mouth-filling, long-lasting finish. Drinking very nicely now, but a further 3-5 years will see the best of this wine if you have the patience. 76

From the very first sight of the bottle, you begin to get an idea of the quality: textured label, deep punt and wax seal generally lead to a top range wine – and this does not disappoint. With only the highest-quality fruit used and fermented in the finest French oak, this wine really symbolises how good Bendigo Shiraz can be. Still quite young, decanting is recommended, along with cellaring a decent amount as it will sell out quickly. The nose provides rich, dark fruit aromas and subtle spicy notes, leading into a full-bodied palate. Blood plum, dark berry and further spice flavours all come to the fore, providing an exceptionally long, rich finish. Over time, this wine will only get better and better – the ideal Christmas present for the Shiraz lover.


MANDURANG VALLEY, BRUT ROSE 2018. BENDIGO Family owned and operated since the first vines were planted in the mid-1970s, the Vines (yes, that’s their surname!) now have three generations working together to produce exceptional wines from the Bendigo region. Hosting a particularly delightful cellar door and extremely impressive gardens, it is very easy to spend a spring afternoon sampling the range of wines with a gourmet cheese platter. Don’t forget to check out Pam’s regularly changing art exhibitions as well. This is the second release of this style of wine from the Mandurang Valley team and the perfect time of year for it, leading up to Christmas and New Year celebrations.This Brut Rose has been produced in the Méthode Champenoise style from 100% Grenache and shows a vibrant salmon pink colour in the glass, with notes of strawberry, red currant and subtle touches of citrus coming to the fore. The palate can only be described as elegant and delicate with a persistent fine bead. Flavours including the slight sweetness of strawberry shortcake and the tartness of pomegranate are combined to work harmoniously, delivering a lasting finish. Prepare an antipasto or charcuterie board, organise some friends, grab a bottle of this and your Sunday afternoon is sorted!


SANDHURST RIDGE, SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017. BENDIGO. Having been recently named as a 5-Star Winery and one of only 10 to be awarded Dark Horse Winery status by the esteemed James Halliday, Sandhurst Ridge has been recognised as one of Bendigo’s finest vineyards, producing award-winning wines for over 25 years. It is owned and operated by the Greblo family, whose history and knowledge of winemaking and agriculture certainly make for some outstanding wines. A visit to the cellar door can see you sampling favourites such as Shiraz, Cabernet Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and the lesser-known Italian varietal Nebbiolo. Sauvignon Blanc is somewhat of a rarity from the Bendigo region, but this example will definitely appeal to those who like a fruitdriven wine with a crisp, clean finish. Delivering a pale green straw colour in the glass, you are immediately hit with classical tropical fruit aromas of passionfruit, pineapple and melon. The palate is packed full of further tropical fruit characteristics, as well as a nice balance of acidity. Barrel fermentation in quality French oak provides a further textural roundness to the palate, with a subtle hint of vanilla spice. This is a perfect accompaniment to the summer picnic or a whole barbecued fish with Asian influences.

TURNERS CROS S I N G From the banks of the Loddon River, Turners Crossing has been producing wines of outstanding quality that speak of a sense of place and provenance.





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32 Pall Mall, Bendigo | 5441 8566 |

We provide maintenance, repairs and building services to domestic, property management and commercial clients. Offering a multi-trade service with qualified tradesman so your job is cost effective with a quick turnaround time.

OUR SERVICES INCLUDE... Building Maintenance Plastering Rendering Painting Carpentry Tiling

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a city oasis A local family gears up to share the summer fun in their newly landscaped backyard. By Marina Williams – Photography by Mitch Lyons Photography With lots of children in their immediate and extended family, the design of the back yard for Lisa and her family definitely had to be child friendly. “We wanted spaces where they could play and run around without too many obstacles or plants in their way,” Lisa says. “We wanted a relaxed contemporary garden that was inviting and family friendly. It was important to us that the space flowed well and was functional, and something we can admire whilst inside, as well.” Low-maintenance plantings surrounding an expansive lawn, an outdoor living space and infinity pool were other must-haves. As she scans the relaxed and contemporary garden, Lisa says the result is better than expected, describing it as more than an outdoor space, rather “an oasis in the middle of urban Bendigo”. 81

The home and garden gently hug the sloping terrain that is, in turn, surrounded by native bushland and close to the Kennington nature reserve. A glance behind timber gates reveals a garden abundant with native and exotic plantings that are repeated along raised and sunken garden beds edged with corten steel, which gives a contrasting rust-like appearance. The lawned area sits on either side of the yard, with large-format Kimberly stone linking the infinity pool and covered entertaining space that is complete with built-in kitchen, fireplace and separate living and dining areas. The connection to the architectural hero is just as seamless, with frameless glass panels hugging the raised walls of the large, rectangle infinity pool. The gentle, soothing sound of water cascading over the pool’s walls enhances the peacefulness that this private garden provides. “We were set on an infinity pool. There is something very relaxing about the sound of water streaming in the background, and it’s also beautiful to look at. Both Simon Rosa and his team, as well as Mediterranean Pools, have done a fantastic job and it is undoubtedly our favourite feature.” Simon Rosa Landscaping, together with the design expertise of Steve Taylor from COS Design in Melbourne, took nine months to transform the site into a lush and inviting landscape. Having local knowledge on-site was always in Lisa’s plan. Rodilesa Plant Supplies and New Life Timber furniture also played a role in bringing the project to life. “I was keen on getting someone local, as they would know the terrain much better and give another perspective from their experience working in regional areas. Simon and his team have gone above and beyond to meet expectations and requests. Nothing




was too big or small and we met regularly on-site, which I don’t think would have been that straightforward had they not been local.” Adds Simon: “This garden is where design and craftsmanship are perfectly aligned. It was a very detailed and large project – one of our largest. A big challenge was low plant stock across the industry in 2020, so we adapted by using alternate varieties, adding our own personal touches. The planting design is well structured, peaceful and luscious and has come together perfectly. We feel we have brought the design to life.” While the garden effortlessly rises with the natural contours of the landscape, an expansive road reserve across the front of the property meant some adjustments to plans had to be made. “This restricted us installing many of the specified materials,” says Simon. “So we had to make a few changes to the front yard design, as a large portion of the front yard is in a road reserve.” The steep driveway also proved challenging. As the only access point to the site, co-ordination of trades and materials was critical to keeping the project on time and budget. “Room was limited for such a unique and detailed project, but the end result makes it all worth it in the end. It was great to implement a strong design and concept, as it also helps us grow and evolve as a business.” From Lisa and Ken’s perspective, the build process “passed quite quickly and was surprisingly stress-free”. “It was interesting watching it evolve, as something was constantly getting done. We have a lot of plantings so I don’t know if it is lowmaintenance anymore,” she laughs. “However, we do intend to continue with Simon’s garden maintenance team so they can take care of everything.” She says the stream of social occasions planned for the coming weeks will be the ultimate test of form and function truly shining in this stunning garden. “We’ve got a few gatherings lined up, including our staff Christmas party and Christmas Day barbecue with the family. It will be complete mayhem, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Fingers crossed the garden remains intact after all of this!”


m: 0438 981 586 | p: 03 5442 8966 e: 190 Strickland Road, Strathdale

‘Setting the standard for outdoor living’

all aboard

A dedicated group of train enthusiasts are moving full steam ahead with their grand plan to build Australia’s longest miniature railway right here in Central Victoria. By Raelee Tuckerman - Photography by AJ Taylor


The white swing gates welcoming visitors to a picturesque property alongside the old highway in Harcourt are modelled on the historic set protecting the Lydiard Street rail crossing in Ballarat. The red-brick building on the hillside, offering views over the township and towards Mount Alexander, is a miniature representation of the majestic Maryborough Railway Station. And hidden away in storage sheds sits a selection of working locomotives and carriages, built to scale based on engines and wagons from our nation’s railroad narrative. This 65-acre site is slowly being transformed into a train hobbyist’s dream, as Victorian Miniature Railway volunteers work tirelessly with help from community partners to create a massive network of 7¼”-gauge track on which to drive their models, surrounded by restored or replica industry infrastructure. “We will have a public segment of about 2.5km, offering 20-minute train trips every Sunday once we open,” says VMR founder and president Andrew Mierisch, who along with close friends and fellow members generated funds for the land and construction equipment. “But we’ll also have a more extensive 25km track system for enthusiasts to enjoy meets.” Andrew began planning the ambitious venture after a 2013 trip to America, where he and 18 friends attended a triennial rally at the renowned Train Mountain in Oregon. It’s the world’s longest miniature railroad featuring almost 60km of track. “It is amazing,” he says. “It attracts 1000 visitors a day for a week and hobbyists


arrive from all over the world. The place is so huge it takes six hours to drive a train around it. I was inspired and decided I wanted to give Australia its largest miniature railway.” Another motivation was wife Karen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer the night before they and their daughters were due to leave for the US on the combined family holiday/train adventure. “The girls didn’t go but Karen insisted I leave a week later for the Train Mountain event, virtually pushing me out the door. It certainly wasn’t the trip we’d planned, but it brought two important elements together for me: Train Mountain is fantastic for the hobbyist; and you should do things today because tomorrow may not be here. With that in mind, and once Karen was back on track, we started establishing this club and looking for a suitable venue.” In 2015, after two years of canvassing council and private land, they discovered the block at 3643 Harmony Way. Extensive groundworks and construction have been carried out since, with the site now almost ready for the first stretch of track to be laid. Andrew says the local community has been incredibly supportive, with VMR volunteers forming strong bonds with the Harcourt Lions Club, Castlemaine Secondary College, and businesses and individuals across the district. “Some of the acts of kindness almost bring a tear to my eye,” he says, citing examples like the earthmoving firm that allows its machinery to be borrowed, the commercial builder who donated his services to assist the station construction, the farmer who

helped explode granite for building footings, the friend who made the entry gates and the clubmates who’ve used personal funds to buy supplies and equipment. There are simply too many stories of generosity to list, but they are not forgotten. “Everyone has been really positive. We’ve built good relationships with local vendors in town by making a big effort to get to know them, and they’ve come forward to get to know us. We’re very integrated with the Lions Club, helping each other out. “There’s an old signal box from the Bendigo Station sitting at a private residence near the tram depot that’s been donated to us as a piece of railway heritage. It will be restored, put at the northern end of our car park and utilised as the Lions Club clubrooms, which is awesome because it will be in active use and they’ll have themselves a grand home.” Castlemaine VCAL students have also been involved in the railway through an innovative partnership that was awarded almost $200,000 under the State Government’s Pick My Project community grants scheme. “In recent years, there’s been a tower of activity here every Friday with the kids pushing screws into track panels, battery drills going like machine guns, then carrying the track panels out the door. “They played a big part working with the builders on the railway station, which the grant money helped accelerate. And from that work, some students have picked up apprenticeships in various trades, including one girl who got a diesel mechanic apprenticeship after being interviewed on TV. COVID interrupted things, but we’re keen to see if we can get the VCAL students back on board next year.


“We feel it’s really important to become a part of Harcourt, even if some of us are blow-ins.” VMR has 40 dedicated volunteers, about 70% hailing from Melbourne and the rest locals: some have a genuine interest in trains; others are just community-minded and eager to help. Several city-based members, including the Mierisches, have bought properties in the region, with one acquiring 20 acres backing onto the VMR site that will eventually allow the club to extend their track into his private back yard – thought to be another Australian miniature railway first. Andrew shares his love of trains with his father, Colin, who built the sleek, black steam engine housed on-site; made the impressive clocks for the station clock tower from scratch; and basically works every day in his retirement on the project. “When I was a toddler, I was being difficult one Sunday afternoon so Dad put me in the car and took me for a drive and discovered a miniature railway in Eltham. He talked to the people about trains and ended up joining the club as member number 14. I joined myself at 10 and we were in that club together for 30-plus years. Dad had an engineering-mechanical background and owned a couple of toy trains as a child, but his interest blossomed after joining the club. I was his shadow all the way through.” Andrew’s own handiwork includes a miniature X44 Victorian Railways freight diesel engine, a V/Line A66, an older Y-class model 90

and various carriages. When he’s not tinkering on the railway, he’s an electrician/gasfitter who runs a specialist business maintaining automated conveyor pizza ovens. He is no stranger to Bendigo and surrounds, with dozens of clients in the area. But his weekends and “every other breathing moment” are spent with like-minded hobbyists working towards the Victorian Miniature Railway’s opening day, potentially later in 2021. “We originally hoped to be ready late 2020, but we’ve been heavily slowed by COVID setbacks, so it’s been delayed,” he says. “We’ll continue at club pace for now, but we’re stuck at that speed unless we can secure some other funding or cash injection. We also welcome anyone who is interested and wants to become involved.” Eventually, the VMR aims to attract railway enthusiasts from all corners of the globe to Harcourt, complementing the nearby mountain bike park and giving tourists another reason to visit the area. “It can get a little boring driving your train round in circles by yourself,” laughs Andrew, “so this will be a win-win: we love building and operating genuine scale models; and the public gives us a real purpose – and that ultimately can help cover the club’s costs. It is a lot of hard work, but I’m in it for the love of it and I have a lot of good mates and new local friends with exactly the same mindset.” For more information, or to join the Victorian Miniature Railway, visit or their Facebook page.




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start your engines If you feel the need for speed, this local sporting club can help put you in the driver’s seat. By Raelee Tuckerman - Photography by AJ Taylor Bendigo youngsters James Ceveri and Addyson Arnett have more in common with Formula One superstars Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo than their shared love of motorsport – they all started their driving careers behind the wheel of a go-kart. While the Bendigo Kart Club’s 625m-long bitumen track in bushland off Gold Associates Road is a world away from the glitz of global Grand Prix circuits, the adrenaline rush achieved from racing high-speed vehicles is not much different, no matter the level of competition. “I think the big attraction is the thrill of it,” says local club president Brett Arnett, a former Australian champion who now provides mechanical assistance for other drivers, including his eight-yearold daughter. “Once people have a whirl in a kart, it hooks them in, especially if they have a bit of motorsport background or car knowledge.” Karting is a family affair for the Arnetts: Brett’s parents and brother Craig are involved; nephew Harry has won several national titles; wife Trina is the club’s publicity officer; and Addyson is “keen as

mustard” to follow in her dad’s footsteps. “I’ve had five girls, tried with them all but none have been interested until now,” he laughs. “Addy’s the youngest and the only one who’s wanted to have a go – she started racing about 12 months ago and now she always wants to head to the track for a spin!” Go-karts have taken Brett around the world, including Portugal and the US, where he provided his specialised mechanical skills to competitors including Jack Doohan, son of former world motorcycle champion Mick Doohan and now an international Formula 3 racing car driver. “It can take you all the way to Formula 1 if you have the skill, the will and the money,” Brett says. “Virtually every F1 driver raced go-karts to start with.” The Bendigo club has 55 active racing members and caters for all ages and abilities. Drivers can obtain a licence from six years of age, and race in cadets (7-12), juniors (12-15), seniors (16 and above) and masters (40-plus) divisions, with each class then divided into bodyweight categories. 93

“Everyone starts on P-plates at the rear of the field for their first three meetings, then goes into full-on racing,” says Brett. “Sometimes we have a random draw where starting positions are computer-generated; otherwise, we conduct qualifying laps to determine pole position and the grid line-up. “It’s a very family-friendly environment and we all try to help each other out. You don’t need any special knowledge to drive, and we welcome anyone to come and have a go at one of our Bring-a-Mate days, where we’ll have a kart available for people to use.” Tom Ceveri was a Bendigo club member during his younger days before moving up to race Formula Ford cars, where he won a Victorian championship in 1998 and later competed in the Australian series. He has worked in various forms of motorsport as a race engineer and driver coach and is now back in the go-kart “pits” as a mechanic/coach for son James. “I’ve been racing for about four years,” says James, 15, who competes in the KA4 junior lightweight class (referencing his engine type, age and weight), driving a sleek machine that can reach 120km/h, powered by a 2-stroke IAME custom-kart engine. “Dad raced when he was a kid and Grandpa raced cars as well. I’d seen this picture of Dad on the wall of Grandpa’s shed and always thought I’d like to have a go. One of Dad’s friends had an old kart lying around…” So back to the club the Ceveris went. “It’s such a fun environment, going to the track and meeting up with my friends. I also like that it’s very fast-paced and you have to think on the spot. It’s not just a one-man sport – it’s a team sport and you need a good team. Dad helps me with the preparation of my kart and we look at data and footage after my races to work out what I did well, what I could have done better and how to improve for next time.” 94


James’s kart is equipped with a dash computer that records his lap times, speeds, g-forces, rpms, engine temperature and more, which can be downloaded for analysis. “We generally run a Go-Pro camera so we can see exactly what he is doing, where on the track he’s driving and when and how he’s trying to overtake,” explains Tom. “There’s a real theoretical side to racing if you want to be serious. Some people even use sensors that measure tyre temperature, how hard you’re pushing the pedals – it depends how much time and money you want to commit.” James enjoys competing at club meets, championships and multirace events like the Golden Power Series, staged in regional Victoria and attracting large entry fields. He’s won a couple of Golden Power rounds but is preparing to move up to seniors when he turns 16 in May, which likely means upgrading his kart so he can mix it with the big boys. It also means adding more heavy lead discs to his chassis to help the slightly built teenager meet the open-age class minimum weight requirement. While karting doesn’t come cheap – a decent second-hand set-up costs about $4000 – there are benefits you simply can’t put a price tag on. “The skills that kids like James learn and develop from driving go-karts as cadets and juniors prepare them well for driving on the roads as young adults,” says Tom. “It also helps take things like speed and risk off the road and gives people an outlet for that in a safe, controlled environment. Go-karts teach you all the driving fundamentals you need.” To be successful in the sport, you need a quick reaction time, good feel for what the kart is doing, the ability to balance risk with reward when overtaking and a willingness to learn from mistakes. But not everyone aspires to reach the elite level – most just love the exhilaration of hurtling around the track at speed, surrounded by the sound of revving engines and the smell of fuel and rubber. “It’s very social,” says Tom. “You compete out on the track with people as rivals, then have a joke and hang out with them in good spirits afterwards. You can make friends for life through karting.” For more details about future Bring-a-Mate days, contact the Bendigo Kart Club via Facebook. 96

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