Once a vast bushland with mobs of Eastern Grey kangaroos claiming the area as home, Kangaroo Flat is now one of Bendigo’s busiest and most bustling commercial and residential suburbs.
5km south-west of the city centre, and the first major suburb of Bendigo that you reach when travelling up the Calder from Melbourne, is Kangaroo Flat. Initially named ‘Yankee Boat Flat, it was the capture of kangaroos by miners in the mid-1800s that provided the name change. Just 4km down the Bendigo Creek from where gold was first discovered in the area, there are reports of gold workings in Kangaroo Flat from early 1853. A few months later, gold was found in the nearby Crusoe Gully and the people of the rush followed. The districts largest nugget was actually discovered in Crusoe Gully in 1861. The area was popular with Chinese miners, and the ‘round digs’ can still be viewed in Charcoal Gully, a bushland reserve located between Morrison and Thomas Streets near the centre of Kangaroo Flat.
With early settlers running sheep stations in Ravenswood, not far from Kangaroo Flat, in the 1830s the link between this area and the city was always bound to offer good services. By the mid 1860s there were Catholic and Wesleyan churches; schools; a railway station on the Melbourne to Bendigo line; and approximately 25 puddling machines hard at work for gold. In 1873, the infamous Crusoe Gully was transformed into the Crusoe Water Reservoir, offering a permanent water supply for Bendigo locals.
Following World War II, the boom of post-war industry provided many locals with jobs. Dunlop belting factory opened in 1948; then in 1950 the Bradford Cotton Mill (later the Rocklea Spinning Mill) opened and by 1957 Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm was incorporated. A technical school (1962) and Lansell Plaza Shopping Centre (1979) cemented the area as more than just an outer suburb. Today, with numerous sports clubs, leisure centre with indoor swimming pools, Catholic school, state primary and secondary schools, motels, hotels and shopping centres, the area provides the city with many amenities.
With well-priced properties close to shops and schools, and easy access to Melbourne also providing a great advantage, Kangaroo Flat is an area that is continuing to thrive. Surrounded by suburbs offering a country feel, such as Lockwood, Big Hill, Maiden Gully and Mandurang, Kangaroo Flat is also a neighbour of Golden Square on the edge of the city. This offers versatile living options that encompass all Bendigo has to offer in a neat little package that is appreciated by all residents.