How migrants are flocking to Victoria’s north-eastPosted by On

In this series, The Age is exploring how Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga will change in the coming decades.See all 5 stories.

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.”

Julie Rudner, La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus director.

Julie Rudner, La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus director. Credit: Joe Armao

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.

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