Researchers explore faith on goldfields

La Trobe University researchers are set to uncover Bendigo’s religious diversity from 1852 to today.

History academic Dr Jennifer Jones is calling on the community to share stories, photographs and artefacts that provide insight into the role and value of faith, spirituality or religion in the lives of locals, past and present.

Residents and former residents are invited to take part in the Faith on the Goldfields project, which will examine religions including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faiths in Bendigo from the gold rush to the present day.

“Our goal is to discover the value of faith and belief in people’s lives and how it guides their actions, customs, rituals, beliefs, art and lifestyles,” Dr Jones said.

“The stories and photographs of the objects or artefacts we hope to uncover will contribute to history displays at the new Faith on the Goldfields Interpretive Centre, planned for the Aspire Precinct adjacent to Bendigo's Sacred Heart Cathedral.”

The Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst and City of Greater Bendigo are developing the new learning, civic and business hub to provide a place where people can discover the value of belief in people’s lives.

“The project aims to help the community understand diversity and difference as part of Bendigo’s gold-mining cultural ‘melting pot’ and to encourage respect for faith adherence,” Dr Jones said.

“If locals, or past locals, have significant religious family memorabilia, or stories of historic or modern day faith experiences in Bendigo, we’d love to hear about it.”

The research team is now recruiting volunteers to take part in oral history interviews for the Faith on the Goldfields project.

To be involved contact Dr Jennifer Jones on 02 6024 9848 or email j.jones@latrobe.edu.au

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