BENDIGO is not a place many snooker fans will get to visit. Let’s face it, most Australians have never been there either.
The outpost town two hours’ drive inland from Melbourne got an initial bad press from some players competing in the Australian Open, lacking as it does the 24/7 hustle and bustle feel and accompanying facilities of a major international city.
But we here at Inside Snooker have always believed there is more to life than room service and markets where you can load up on shirts and cheap headphones. Although they are great too.
And so we were more than delighted to receive some photos from snooker’s very own ‘Renaissance Man’ – in most accepted senses of the word – Alan McManus after the Scottish veteran enjoying a career Indian summer took a stroll around the day before his last-16 loss to Judd Trump.
While it might not quite meet some of the more traditional stereotypes for Australian life – with not a beach in sight – the former sheep station of Bendigo is steeped in history.
All the players Down Under were hoping to strike gold to the tune of the £42,000 first prize, but this practice has of course been going on in that part of Victoria, still known as the Goldfields region, since the 1850s.
The influx of ‘There’s gold in them Bendigo Creek hills’ prospectors changed the whole face of the town, with plenty of relics from the era to be seen, not to mention an abundance of Victorian period architecture. A tad confusingly this refers to the 19th century and the former British queen, and not the actual state in which Bendigo is located.
At one time it is estimated there were up to 40,000 gold diggers in Bendigo – making it the 1850s equivalent of a few Alderley Edge or Cobham wine bars where Premier League footballers hang out (and who said Pontins, have a word with yourself…)
But I digress, here are Al’s ‘working holiday’ snaps, for which we are as ever very grateful. They include relics of the gold mining era, as shown in main pic (though gold is still being mined today in the area)...
a local tram…
and the Sacred Heart cathedral..
and from the inside…
and some more…
and a fountain in a busy junction!
More Alan McManus Travelogue another time.
Photographs courtesy of Alan McManus