BENDIGO in Victoria is half the size of Newcastle.
Bendigo Art Gallery is about to open its next architect-designed extension, making it arguably the largest gallery in Australia outside the state capitals.
It does not have a large collection, but well-publicised major exhibitions have forged international links, leading to exhibitions later in the year from the British Museum and the Royal Academy, to be shown nowhere else in Australia.
Bendigo is about the same distance from Melbourne as Newcastle is from Sydney.
Both centres are well served by railway and freeway, making for an easy day trip.
The well-promoted Bendigo gallery attracts so many visitors that its city council is devising new tourist projects to enhance their experience.
From our Newcastle perspective, this is both bitter and ironic.