As Julie Rudner wanders Bendigo’s streets, with their elaborately decorated Gold Rush-era buildings and narrow alleys, she can almost see the city’s future.
In that vision, the heritage shopfronts remain, but apartments rise discretely above them, housing inner-city workers and students — both Australian and international. The apartment buildings are set back from view at street level, constructed with recycled concrete and painted in bold colours — turquoise, vivid yellows, earthy tones.
Rudner, La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus director and experienced town planner, imagines this future because the regional city is growing rapidly.
“Through the central business district I definitely see high-rise buildings of about 10 to 15 storeys,” Rudner says. “None of this 30-storey stuff. That would be unimaginable.”
Bendigo is a historic city with deep roots in the 1800s, when miners from across the world flocked to the region. The Victoria Hill Reserve mine yielded an estimated $8 billion in today’s value.
Now, the city is hurtling towards radical demographic change.
Greater Bendigo’s population is just over 125,000, but its council expects that will exceed 200,000 by 2050.
In a series focusing…