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The City of Greater Bendigo is the second largest municipality in regional Victoria, 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. The history of residential development in Bendigo dates back to the gold rushes of the 1850s, the effects of which are still felt in the settlement patterns of the City. The urban structure is based on spines leading away from the central city along creeks and streams, which today are road and rail corridors. The ability for further residential development away from these areas is constrained by natural and man-made limitations. These include the surrounding box ironbark forests, which are areas of high natural value, as well as tailings issues, which are a legacy of the intense gold mining period. Other limitations and recently applied restrictions include bushfire overlays and the urban growth boundary.
The City of Greater Bendigo has grown substantially in population over the last twenty years, with growth most heavily concentrated in areas such as Kangaroo Flat, Strathfieldsaye, Strathdale, Flora Hill and Golden Square. The growth has been driven by significant local economic and employment growth. Although three-quarters of employment in Greater Bendigo is concentrated in service industries, there is a strong agricultural industry in the surrounding rural hinterland (notably pork production) and a large core of manufacturing enterprises in the City, especially in machinery and equipment and food production. The local employment growth in services has been boosted by external population growth pressures. They include the traditional flow of population from the surrounding rural areas and small towns, which is a result of children finishing their secondary schooling and people leaving farming areas as a result of efficiencies in the agricultural industries. The second source is more distant, which includes persons from overseas and persons from parts of Melbourne. Some areas also gain population from Bendigo as a result of departures. Historically, it was Melbourne and South East Queensland, for example, that had an in-flow of Greater Bendigo migrants, many of whom were young adults in their late teens and early twenties. In the latest Census period, 2006-2011, The City of Greater Bendigo lost 243 residents to the City of Greater Geelong and 177 to the City of Melbourne, although the Melbourne Statistical Division (containing 25 LGAs) as a whole resulted in a net gain of approximately 700 residents for the City of Greater Bendigo during this five year period.
Within the City of Greater Bendigo, the flows of population tend to reflect the supply of new urban and rural residential opportunities, housing market variations, such as price and dwelling format, as well as the age structure of the population. Between 2006 and 2011, large inflows to Strathfieldsaye, Kangaroo Flat - Big Hill, Maiden Gully, Epsom-Ascot and Rural East were based on significant new residential development in these areas. It is assumed that a number of these patterns will continue into the future, most notably flows into the City from the south, especially from Metropolitan Melbourne as the pool of retirees increases significantly. However, the gain of people from the surrounding rural municipalities is likely to temper as a result of ageing in these areas and a smaller pool of young people. The migration flows within Bendigo are expected to reflect where the supply of residential land is located (destination) and where young people have grown up and left home (source).
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.
With the progressive residential development of the City over a century and a half, the large size of the municipality and the broad range of land uses, areas have developed different roles within the housing market. Bendigo, Golden Square and Flora Hill-Quarry Hill-Spring Gully-Golden Gully attract a large number of persons in their late teens and twenties, which is a reflection on more ’inner urban’ areas with significant rental stock and tertiary education opportunities. Areas such as Maiden Gully, Strathfieldsaye, Epsom - Ascot and Huntly have had significant residential development in more recent years and are attractive to couples and families seeking new housing opportunities. Strathdale and Kennington are more attractive to mature families looking to upgrade to their second and third home. The more rural parts of the City are also attractive to families seeking a rural environment and a new lifestyle. Several recenty and current residential developments cater to this segment of the housing market by providing "lifestyle block" housing choices in some parts of the City. These areas include Marong-Rural West (incl. Mandurang), Heathcote & District and Rural East although the township of Marong is expected to see residential growth steadily increase during the forecast period in several greenfield land releases. This variety of function and role of the small areas in the City of Greater Bendigo means that population outcomes differ significantly across the municipality.
There are also significant differences in the supply of residential property within the City which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures over the next five to twenty years. Large new ’greenfield’ opportunities have been identified in the growth corridor areas, notably Maiden Gully, Strathfieldsaye, Jackass Flat (White Hills - Jackass Flat), Huntly and in the longer term Marong - Rural West, with Kangaroo Flat, Golden Square and Eaglehawk also expecting some of the current levels of growth to continue in the short to medium term. The City of Greater Bendigo’s urban development strategies also aim for future growth within established areas of the LGA such as Bendigo, North Bendigo - California Gully and Long Gully - West Bendigo - Ironbank through redevelopment of existing sites, conversion of non-residential infrastructure into new housing stock, standard inner urban infill and housing additions around education and employment hubs such as the LaTrobe University and the "Hospital Precinct" respectively. Although proportionally this inner suburb growth will be minor when compared to ongoing greenfield housing development in the City of Greater Bendigo, it will diversify the available housing stock and provide a wider range of dwelling options for the City’s demographically varied population in the future.
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