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Bendigo is a city in Victoria, Australia, located near the geographical centre of the state and approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) north west of the state capital, Melbourne. As of June 2018, Bendigo had an urban population of 99,122, making it the fourth-largest inland city in Australia and fourth-most populous city in the state. It is the administrative centre for the City of Greater Bendigo, which encompasses both the urban area and outlying towns spanning an area around 3,000 km2 (1,158 sq mi) and over 111,000 people.The discovery of gold in Bendigo in 1851 transformed the area from a sheep station into one of colonial Australia's largest boomtowns. News of the finds intensified the Victorian gold rush, bringing an influx of migrants to the city from around the world, particularly Europe and China. Once the alluvial gold had been mined out, mining companies were formed to exploit the rich underground quartz reef gold. Since 1851, about 780,000 kilograms (25 million troy ounces) of gold have been extracted from Bendigo's goldmines, making it the highest producing goldfield in Australia in the 19th century and the largest gold-mining economy in eastern Australia. The wealth generated during this period is reflected in the city's Victorian architectural heritage. Bendigo took its name from the Bendigo Creek and its residents from the earliest days of the gold rush have been called "Bendigonians".Although the town flourished in its beginnings as a result of the discovery of gold, it experienced a reversal of fortune in the early 20th century. However, its growth accelerated in the postwar years and has continued to increase steadily since.
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