Rich alluvial gold was first discovered in BENDIGO in 1851, and, once the initial fields were exhausted, shafts were sunk into a gold-bearing quartz reef. Bendigo became the greatest goldfield of the time, and had the world’s deepest mine. Mining continued here until 1954, long after the rest of central Victoria’s goldfields were exhausted, so it’s a city that has developed over a prosperous century: the nationwide department store Myer began here, as did Australia’s first building society in 1858. Although in many ways more magnificent than Ballarat, Bendigo is considerably lower-key. Its most visited sights are legacies of the mining days – the Chinese Joss House, Golden Dragon Museum and the Central Deborah Mine.