Bendigo Government Camp

Bendigo's documented history dates back to 1836 when Major Thomas Mitchell passed through the region, but it was in 1851 when gold was discovered that Bendigo began a period of rapid growth.  Bendigo was built on gold.  With 37 lines of reefs stretching across the city from north to south, thousands of prospectors flocked to the valley to try their luck.

The area was originally known as Bendigo's Creek, named for an employee on a local property who was nicknamed "Bendigo" after the famous English prize fighter William "Bendigo" Thompson.  The area was settled in 1851, proclaimed a municipality in 1855, a borough in 1863 and a city in 1871.  The town was officially known as Sandhurst, after a town by the same name in England, but the name Bendigo was restored in 1891.

The area known as Rosalind Park was first mapped by Surveyor George Urquhart in 1852 and designated a Government Camp to serve the local goldfields. 
The site was one of the largest government camps on Victoria's goldfields; the open parkland still allows the former camp site to be readily appreciated and the reconstructed poppet legs on Camp Hill preserve the original function of the hill as a lookout. The Park symbolises the 'civilising' effect of gold and is a significant example of a large, late nineteenth century.  Prior to 1851 the area was a grassy woodland with large River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) lining the creek that was a chain of deep permanent fresh water pools.  The creek would have been an important source of food and water for the Dja Dja Wrung people who lived in this area.

The 1851 gold rush transformed this little valley into a jumble of shallow shafts, mullock heaps and puddling mills.  The story of Rosalind Park is about transformation of a goldfield into an important public park.