• arts & culture
  • aboriginal
  • regional

The heart of Victoria is bursting with creative energy, with the year-long Regional Centre for Culture program now underway.

The inaugural Regional Centre for Culture program is an unprecedented showcase of local creativity set to enliven the cultural communities of four municipalities in central Victoria.

Throughout the year, the program will see the City of Greater Bendigo, Central Goldfields, Mount Alexander and Hepburn Shires host ambitious arts and community events that celebrate the rich creative and cultural life of the region.

Presented in partnership with the Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Clans Corporation, the program will showcase works and talents from across the region, from exhilarating dance performances and concerts, to exhibitions, food markets, film festivals and more!

Below are 7 highlights that the Regional Centre for Culture has in store but you can visit Time Out for full program details.

Photo Anna Phillips


Saturday March 3, 1.30pm – late, Newstead

Rekindle your love for the local pool with an afternoon of waterside events

Who doesn’t have rose-tinted memories of long, hot summers spent at the local neighbourhood pool? The folks in the Newstead – a small town near Castlemaine – certainly do, and they’re celebrating what’s great about the humble local swimming pool with performances and activities at the Newstead and District Swimming Pool.

It’s set to be a splashing good time with in-water circus performances, lilo races, poolside karaoke, dancing plus arts and craft. Suitable for all ages, Water Hole is a street party-style event aiming to bring the community together. Look out for acrobatic ensemble Asking For Trouble’s performance of In the Deep End featuring young people from the neighbouring town of Clunes.

Photo Jamie James


Sunday April 29, from 1.30pm, Castlemaine

A participatory dance festival is making its way down under in 2018 and Castlemaine is on its list. Big Dance was started over a decade ago in London as a celebration of dance no matter your skill level. We can’t all be as elegant as Misty Copeland, but we can all be as shameless as Napoleon Dynamite!

Here's how it works: a single large-scale piece of choreography is created and then made available to all via community workshops and online tutorials. This dance is then performed at specified Big Dance events.

Castlemaine’s Big Dance performance will take place on Sunday April 29 and you can grab a bite afterwards from the on-site food trucks.


May 11-13, sunset until late, Smeaton

Visit the town of Smeaton in the picturesque Hepburn Shire to see their historic mill be resurrected through art, light and music. The old steam and water powered mill was used to grind flour. While its grinding days are long gone, the mill remains an important landmark to the town.

As part of the Anderson’s Mill heritage event, the mill will be lit up with video projections accompanied by music. The resulting audio-visual work, Now You See It, will recreate the mill’s built environment. Over the Mother’s Day weekend, the mill will also be open for tours, steam engine displays, quilts on show from Victorian Quilters, art from the Ballarat Society of Artists and family history discussions.

Visitors are advised to wear warm clothes, sensible footwear and to bring a torch for safety!


September 28 , Jubilee Lake, Daylesford, Free

Join a mass of local brass and pipe bands for a participatory concert on the banks of Lake Jubilee, including the performance of a bespoke composition written by Louisa Trewartha (who will also be conducting on the day).

While you are welcome to toot your own horn, tuba, trumpet or any other instrument, no musical talent is required to attend ‑ simply turn up with an appetite for music! The full line-up of brass and pipe bands attending will be announced closer to the date.

Photo Michelle MacFarlane


October 20, 21, Rosalind Park, Bendigo

The ACT Natimuk team will work in Bendigo over ten months to create a new aerial and projection performance centred on the iconic poppet head in Rosalind Park. A not-to-be-missed event that celebrates the stories of Bendigo and its people, and will feature local groups including the Dja Dja Wurrung People, the Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo Historical Society and CreateAbility.



October 24, 25, 26, 27 at 8pm, Bendigo

The story of Australia is one of demolition: of ancestral Dja Dja Wurrung lands turned upside down into goldfields, farms, freeways and houses. Demolish will take us inside the heart of cataclysmic change, and shine a new light on progress in our landscape.

Working with the Dja Dja Wurrung people, theatre artists Ken Evans and Rebecca Russell are creating Demolish with a team of musicians, dancers, projection artists, physical and visual theatre artists, local community performers - and some heavy machinery! It will be presented on a live demolition site under the watchful eye of actual demolition experts.

The show uses demolition as a striking metaphor - it inspires curiosity about what was there before and uncovers artefacts. It invokes past memories. It is loud, confronting and physically brutal. Demolition also heralds new beginnings.


November 17, 8-9.30pm, Bendigo

YAPENYA  is song.
YAPENYA  is dance.
YAPENYA  is language.
YAPENYA  is ceremony.
YAPENYA  is Dja Dja Wurrung.

Through bloodline and kinship, the people belonging to the heart of Victoria are the Dja Dja Wurrung. Their Country is a cultural landscape that is more than just tangible objects; imprinted in it are the Dreaming stories, law, totemic relationships, songs, ceremonies and ancestral spirits, which give it life and  value.

In 2013, on behalf of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, signed their Recognition Settlement Agreement with the State Government of Victoria, recognising them as the Traditional Owners of the heart of Victoria. 2018 marks the five year anniversary of this recognition.

YAPENYA is a new performance ceremony presenting new songs and new dances by Dja Dja Wurrung. Yapenya means to dance, to sing; ‘ceremony’ in Dja Dja Wurrung language.