Bendigo Alumni Chapter Past Events


Downtown Lecture - Are Pets Good For Your Health

Presented by Dr Pauleen Bennett - Associate Professor and Director of Regional Operations in the School of Psychological Science at the La Trobe University Bendigo campus.

Dr Bennett combines her work at La Trobe with a range of community activities designed to improve human-companion animal relationships.

She leads a very busy and very productive research group and is director and chair of the Australian Anthrozoology Research Foundation. This non-profit foundation raises money for students investigating the potential benefits for human health through animal relationships.


Downtown Lecture - From Birth to Aged Care

How information technology helps our health care system

Presented by Jennifer Jones (MBA) - Project Director of Loddon Mallee Rural Health Alliance.  Jennifer has more than forty years’ experience in the field of information technology. She has worked in the private and public sector in Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria including sixteen years in public health.

Her lecture gave a perspective of about how IT now underpins modern health services – from diagnosis to recuperation; from birth to aged care. Smart phones, video conferencing and robots are just part of the technological revolution that is shaping the way health care is delivered now and in the future.

Extended Investigation Projects

Extended Investigation Projects is a new VCE subject for 2013. Inspiring young minds from Bendigo Senior Secondary College Year 12 presented their findings on the following topics:

  • Modern feminism and traditional cultural values in Aboriginal communities
  • GM Foods
  • Utilising Music in Rehabilitation
  • Traditional Irish music in Australian society
  • Mental health funding and programs in the public health system in Bendigo
  • Scoliosis promotion and support

Downtown Lecture - Home: The story of Bendigo for Homeless Youth

Presented by Luke Owens (Founder of Bendigo for Homeless Youth)

In Bendigo there are over 700 children who don't have a stable living environment, they just need a home. To combat this growing local issue a group of Bendigo musicians combined their talents to write, record and release a charity mini album called Home.  As of January 2013 Bendigo for Homeless Youth reached their fundraising target of $100,000.

Downtown Lecture - What does it take To be a National Chamption Team?

Presented by Bernie Harrower (Head Coach, Bendigo Spirit)

Bernie Harrower has spent more than 30 years treading the polished pine of basketball courts across Australia. In the mid 90's he rejuvenated women's basketball in Bendigo while coaching the Lady Braves in the SEA Basketball League.

In 2007 Bernie became inaugural coach for WNBL team the Bendigo Spirit who this year won their first national title. Bernie was named WNBL Coach of the year.


Downtown Lecture - Community Focus: The Inside story of Community Telco

Presented by local La Trobe alumnus David Joss, CEO of Community Telco, a telecommunications company that was conceived in Bendigo and has become a success story serving regional businesses across Australia.  David came to share the story of his company’s history, how it has developed through regional communities and to map out the changing landscape for company like Community Telco in new world of the NBN.

David predicted that the NBN would change his industry indelibly and create a focus back to regional development, decentralizing business and financial services and allowing people to do business more easily from wherever they live.

The Inaugural John McLean Memorial Lecture

Jude Munro AO, CEO of Brisbane City Council (2000 - 2010) delivered the inaugural John McLean Memorial lecture, honouring the memory of John McLean, CEO of the Bendigo City Council from 2003-07.

Entitled ‘Active Local Government: the Bedrock of a Healthy Democracy’ the lecture was both thought provoking and relevant to what is possible between local governments and their communities when there is a commitment to having a two-way communication. The breadth and depth of her vision is testament to Jude’s long and distinguished career in local government and the public sector.


Downtown Lecture - Drawing the Line

Using a series of slides and photos, Ian Glanville’s lecture guided the audience through the highlights of his long career as a cartoonist, journalist, educator and author as well as reintroducing his beloved character Strawberry Scarecrow!

Ian moved from TV to education in 1975 to work for Media Services at La Trobe University at its Bendigo Campus. His skill as a cartoonist caught the eye of the then editor of the Bendigo Gazette (now known as the Bendigo Advertiser) and Ian started yet another career path as the paper’s resident cartoonist.

Downtown Lecture

La Trobe University Associate Professor Trevor Budge could not have picked a more pertinent topic, with which to address the Bendigo community, than the current Road Transport Strategy by the Vic Roads and the Bendigo Council.  He was invited by the Bendigo Chapter of Alumni Committee to give a lecture because of his expertise in the area of Planning and Development both locally and internationally.

Downtown Lecture - The Mysteries of Bendigo

Alumnus Jim Evans, president of Bendigo’s Historical Society, warmed the hearts and minds of his capacity audience at the La Trobe Visual Arts venue, with a rendition of their town’s history spiked with song, dance and dramatic performance.

Jim’s talk was structured in four symphonic parts and its title indicated that, as well as entertainment, Jim would enlighten his audience about the light and dark periods of Bendigo’s history and people. He did this through a sequence of questions which raised issues which were relevant to both the past and present development of the town.

Downtown Lecture - Sustainable Regional Development: Why Good Government Matters

Professor John Martin, Director for the Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities presented his lecture to a full-house at La Trobe’s Visual Arts Centre on View Street.

After outlining the history of regional development programs and their impact on regional communities, he spoke about the structure and function of all levels of Government in Australia. With this, Professor Martin posed two key questions: “How much do we do for ourselves?” And, “How much do we expect government to do for us?”

Bendigo Teachers' College Leonard French Mural Reunion

Bendigo Chapter Committee member Rob Stephenson hosted a visit & tour by a group of Bendigo Teachers College graduates at the Bendigo Campus to celebrate their 50 year reunion. This involved a tour of the FM Courtis Collection, and in particular the Leonard French mural – The Legend.

The visit and plaque presentation was arranged by David Cowan who, as President of the SRC, oversaw the levying of 5 shillings on each student, and the raising of the shortfall to cover the 300 Pounds required to purchase The Legend – a mural triptych by Leonard French.

The group was thrilled to see that their contribution to the FM Courtis collection is still valued and held in Bendigo, and was pleased to be welcomed back as La Trobe Alumni.


Downtown Lecture - The Murray Darling Basin: A Federal Takeover

The lecture was presented by Ian Tulloch, lecturer in politics at La Trobe Bendigo, who spoke on the topic of the evening - the possibility of a Federal takeover of the Murray Darling Basin.  Ian opened by explaining Tony Abbott's proposal to take over the Murray-Darling Basin via a referendum if he wins the next election; a proposal which has little support from all States except for South Australia.

Ian concluded by explaining that if the question of Federal control of the Murray Darling Basin was put to a referendum it would therefore most likely not succeed because of this opposition.  The final posed question for the night was, even if the Commonwealth was to obtain power of the basin; what impact would that have on farming and the economy or indeed environmental flows?

BCAE Graduates Return to La Trobe University Bendigo

After a Saturday of catching up and enjoying each other’s company over a long lunch, several 1980 to 1982 graduates from La Trobe’s antecedent Bendigo institution the Bendigo College of Advanced Education (BCAE) returned to the campus for the first time in many years. To mark their 30 year reunion, the former students from Arts, Business and Science were given a tour around the campus by Bendigo Chapter committee member Mary Martin.

Our eager alumni reminisced about their university experience whilst looking through Applied Science 1, Applied Science 2 and the Circular Lecture Theatre - the main parts of the current campus where they studied in the early 1980s. They saw their science graduation photos still on the wall in the Science building and toured through the Terraces where some of them had stayed whilst studying.

Downtown Lecture – Food: The Forgotten Item on the Urban Menu

The lecture was presented to an enthusiastic audience by Trevor Budge, Senior Lecturer in Community Planning and Development at La Trobe University Bendigo.

Food security has been an issue for the human race since the dawn of time; however in the last 100 years the western world has broken free from this problem. But with the world’s growing population and the increase of people living in urban areas food security is an issue that is remerging for many communities, regions and nations, including western nations.

Bendigo Chapter Acknowledges Exceptional Students

Bendigo Chapter of La Trobe University Alumni proudly awarded the Bendigo Chapter Undergraduate Alumni Scholarship and the Bendigo Chapter Postgraduate Scholarship to two deserving students at the La Trobe Bendigo Annual Prizes and Awards Night.

The Bendigo Chapter Alumni Undergraduate Scholarship went to Tristen Pogue. Tristen was a fourth year Pharmacy student who had been significantly involved with the Bendigo Association of Pharmacy Students (BAPS) and the National Association of Pharmacy Students over the past few years. She is also a Student Ambassador.

The Bendigo Chapter Post Graduate Scholarship was awarded to Karena Spencer – a Masters of Nursing student, who after studying Graphic Design as an undergraduate chose to change direction and pursue nursing as a career.

Bendigo Business Students Put on Two Fantastic Networking Events

As part of a student career mentoring project, and co-sponsored by Alumni and Advancement, students from the Regional School of Business held two networking events based around the themes of Human Resources and Marketing.

At each event, members of the local business community and business graduates spoke to current students about career opportunities, graduate skills and networking opportunities. Bendigo Chapter Chair, Leon Moulden attended and spoke at the first event in early August and the immediate past Chair, Rob Stephenson spoke at the second event later in the month.
Both members of the committee spoke of the importance of staying connected to La Trobe, and the opportunities that this provides current students to increase their social and professional networks.

Downtown Lecture - What is it with Broadband? The $43bn Question

Lecture was present by Andrew Skewes, Executive Director of the Bendigo Campus of La Trobe University.

The lecture then explored the views of various political and business stakeholders in Australia and why, in Australia, we currently have a unique situation of slow internet speeds and high cost when compared to the rest of the western world; this situation is not assisted by Australia’s vast size and subsequent distances.

Andrew concluded the lecture by outlining foreseen problems with the current plan. These problems included investment uncertainty due to many factors, also the fact that technology trends change over time, and not to mention the opportunity cost of $43bn to the taxpayer.

In his final statements, Andrew gave options that may alleviate the current Broadband provision issues without spending quite so much money. Such options included breaking down Telstra’s strangle-hold over the current communication system, sharpening competition laws between telecommunications companies, and focusing on utilising infrastructure within the current telecommunications system.


Downtown Lecture - The Politics of Water in Victoria

The Chapter’s first Downtown Lecture for the year was an overwhelming success with a record crowd in attendance.
Ian Tulloch, Coordinator of the Sociology and Politics Program at the Bendigo Campus presented this topical lecture, giving an extensive examination of the most controversial political issue in Victoria today – Water!

Ian outlined the Victorian Labor Government’s response to the water crisis - explaining that to ensure the sustainability of metropolitan water supplies - the Government had decided to build a desalination plant in Gippsland and the North–South Pipeline which will divert water from the Goulburn River. It sounds like a reasonable proposition explained Ian. “Divide up the water savings from improving the infrastructure (an estimated 225 gigalitres) and give one-third back to the river, a third to farmers and the other third to Melbourne. Everyone wins.” The river system has more environmental flows, farmers have more water and Melbourne gets the rest. “But this is not the case”, Ian told the crowd, as this assumption is based on flawed water savings projections.

This public lecture highlighted that the topic of water is of high importance to Bendigonians – with the crowd being representative of people from all walks of life. The overwhelming public support for this lecture only proves that water is now one of the key political issues in Victoria, if not the key political issue.

Bendigo Teacher’s College Reunion

The class of 1959 were excited about the success of their first ever reunion – the 50th anniversary of when they first started their teaching training. All who attended the reunion were very happy to see each other again. Indeed, the reunion was such a success that there is even talk of another reunion next year.

The Bendigo Teacher’s College 1959 Intake Reunion started with an afternoon tea function at Jessie Burnett Lounge at the old Bendigo Teacher’s College Osborne Street Campus on Saturday 18 April 2009. The afternoon tea gave past students and friends a chance to catch-up, reminisce, and look at memorabilia. They all then continued on to All Seasons Quality Inn where they enjoyed a two-course meal. This was followed by the singing of College songs which was greeted with great enthusiasm amongst the former students. The reunion gave the former students the chance to swap life stories – some of whom have stayed in education, some have moved overseas, and others have written books.

Downtown Lecture - Tell ‘em, They’re Dreaming: Is the Great Australian Dream Still Relevant?

Ken Marchingo, CEO of Loddon Mallee Housing Services (LMHS), presented a lecture exploring the Federal Government’s approach to housing policy as enunciated by the Federal Minister for Housing - Tanya Plibersek at the Sydney Institute, contrasted with the way Victoria and other states are approaching housing policy.

Ken pointed out that there are some 645,000 families and individuals who are on low incomes, who are paying more than 30% of their income in rent. “That means there are some 645,000 families and individuals who are at risk of homelessness.

Therefore, as part of the community sector, Loddon Mallee Housing Services “puts homeless people fully at the centre of what we want to do, what we try to do and what we actually do, every day.” LMHS is Victoria’s first registered affordable housing association with an annual budget of $24 Million. Ken has been with LMHS since 1994 and has served on many boards and committees, and is currently a board member of the Bendigo Health Care Group.

Downtown Lecture - Bendigo: A Future Leader in the Post-Fossil Fuel World

Karen Corr and Ian McBurney, President and Vice-President of the Bendigo Sustainability Group (BSG) presented a lecture which attracted a capacity crowd, demonstrating the Bendigo community’s interest in all things “sustainable.”

The lecture examined Bendigo’s potential role in a post-fossil fuel world: a future Bendigo that is based on sustainable living, sustainable transport, and sustainable energy systems - a future that that values the natural environment and the community of tomorrow’s new green economy.

They spoke about current global climate trends and how they demonstrate that the worst climate change predictions are now appearing possible, thus requiring major responses by society. The World green economy was worth $6 billion, and the opportunities for green jobs were in excess of 2.5 million in Australia alone. Furthermore, they argued that “sustainability is a better business model” and that this was the “most exciting time to be alive in human history.”

Downtown Lecture - Bendigo Business Council: A Vision for Business in Bendigo in 25 Years' Time

Doug Buerger, Chair of the Bendigo Business Council (BBC), spoke about how Bendigo is a strongly performing regional city in a State that accounts for 25% of Australia’s economy and that over the past decade Bendigo has enjoyed considerable growth in population, infrastructure and services. Moreover, while growing substantially, Bendigo is also prized for its liveability and opportunity. He predicted that Bendigo’s population would grow by nearly 50% in the next 25 years and asked the questions: What will this mean for business, for employment, and for our treasured liveability? What challenges will be faced by business? Where will opportunity be found?

Doug suggested to an enthusiastic crowd that Bendigo could in the future be “the regional capital for business in Australia” and that the BBC was working towards that goal. He told the audience that this was possible if Bendigo had a pro-business culture, a skilled and educated workforce and built on its connections with the rest of the world.  Doug also said that part of this vision was a large regional University providing a skilled and educated workforce.

Doug has served on the La Trobe University Regional Advisory Board.


Downtown Lecture - Including the Excluded

The lecture was presented by David Pugh, CEO of St. Luke’s Anglicare, and discussed the current popular term ‘social inclusion’ and how the broad application of this concept has led to a 30% reduction in youth homelessness in Bendigo over the past five years.

For David, social inclusion was about moving people out of poverty. He described poverty as not just the absence of income, but as something much more complex. It included issues like: isolation, education, housing, and infrastructure. Indeed, David argued that we need to understand poverty in a “cultural sense”.

The main focus of David’s lecture outlined the issue of youth homelessness in the Bendigo region. He stated that over the last five years youth homelessness had fallen by 30% in the Bendigo region. This significant change was the result of several factors; including the introduction of a program in 2003 based on early mediation to stop young people from leaving home, and the creation of the Leaving Care Program, designed to assist young people leaving State care. Both programs had been successful. But unfortunately, David pointed out that there are always new areas of need; for example: issues relating to the drought and gambling.

David qualified with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) in 1979 from Melbourne University, a Diploma of Education (Secondary) in 1980, and a Master of Business from La Trobe University in 2006.

Downtown Lecture - The times they are a changing: What do the 2006 Census results mean for Bendigo and its region?

Trevor Budge and Andrew Butt from the Planning and Community Development Program at the Bendigo campus discussed their analysis of the 2006 Census and the possible impacts on policy and planning in the future for Bendigo and surrounding regions by identifying trends in the data, including “big picture trends”. Although, they stressed that trends don’t always continue into the future.

They demonstrated how population change is happening - who’s moving and why? How some towns in rural Victoria are losing population, but how at the same time house numbers are increasing – all because less people were living in them. And, how are other regions gaining population but losing their identity?

Other trends that they identified were: the growth in the Hume corridor, the loss of young people from small country towns and conversely the increased numbers of elderly people in these towns. Furthermore, small towns were now attracting more low income and unemployed people, while more people were commuting to Bendigo to work from surrounding rural areas.