Bendigo joins the UNESCO Creative Cities Network

In October 2019, Bendigo was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy – the first in Australia. Our gastronomy story is about growing, sourcing, cooking and sharing food. It is about how our culture and heritage is represented and shared through what we eat and drink, the places we share meals, and the memories we make around food, family and community. The application to join the Network was made by and for our community, and designation is an honour shared by all across our region.

Across Bendigo and the region networks have formed and are growing – through community and school garden producers, food security champions and trade groups. People from all walks of life are talking about local produce, healthy eating and food security. Food is breaking down cultural barriers and bringing people together. Faced with the need for healthier lifestyles and the impacts of climate change, we are changing what we grow and eat, how we support our community and heal our regional landscape.

Bendigo’s application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of Gastronomy shared this amazing journey with our community and with the rest of the world, helping us work towards an inclusive, secure and resilient food culture for everyone. The designation recognises the creativity and uniqueness of our city and region, and our commitment to working with cities around the world for a sustainable future.


The concentric rings of the Dja Dja Wurrung seasons represent a never ending cycle, as each new year it is reborn. All colours are all things, drawing on the importance of water, land, plant life, the animals, and the people and our connection to each other. The wedge in the circles is a symbolism of “Closing the Gap”, an aspiration to eliminate the difference between Aboriginal People and wider Australia, as well as the disruption in the fragile structure of our ecosystem since European arrival and our commitment to heal this together going forward.

In times of plenty, we celebrate together and good food is shared. There is a season for all things which guides how we live. We invite you to join the Dja Dja Wurrung and the wider community to nurture and fulfil your Murrup (spirit) together on Djandak (Country).

Plants and animals are indicators for the seasons, some examples of this are the barramul (emu), murrnong (yam daisy), wai-kalk (wattle), gurri (kangaroo), lawan (mallee fowl), warrap (cod) etc. These examples are all essential foods and fibres for the Dja Dja Wurrung People, something that links in with the Bendigo region’s past, present and future.

Bendigo’s application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network focused on the ways creativity, food, hospitality, agriculture and an Indigenous food system dating back tens of thousands of years are shaping our future. The application recognised and celebrated our entire region’s thriving food and drinks culture, and joining the Creative Cities Network means becoming part of a global network of cities using creativity as a driver for sustainable development.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is currently made up of 246 cities around the world, designated in seven different categories – Design, Music, Film, Crafts and Folk Art, Media Arts, Gastronomy and Literature. Bendigo joins Cities of Gastronomy such as Östersund in Sweden, Parma in Italy, Chengdu in China and Tucson in the United States and is the first city in Australia to gain this recognition.

Find out more about the UNESCO Creative Cities Network