Bendigo is a major regional city in the state of Victoria, Australia, located very close to the geographical centre of the state and approximately north west of the state capital, Melbourne. Bendigo has an urban population of 82,794 making it the fourth largest inland city in Australia and fourth most populous city in the state. It is the administrative centre for the City of Greater Bendigo which encompasses both the urban area and outlying towns spanning an area of approximately 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 sq mi) and over 100,000 people.The discovery of gold in the soils of Bendigo during the 1850s made it one of the most significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. News of the finds intensified the Victorian gold rush bringing an influx of migrants to the city from around the world within a year and transforming it from a sheep station to a major settlement in the newly proclaimed Colony of Victoria. Once the alluvial gold had been mined out, mining companies were formed to exploit the rich underground quartz reef gold. Since 1851 about 25 million ounces of gold (777 tonnes) have been extracted from Bendigo's goldmines, making it the highest producing goldfield in Australia in the 19th century and the largest gold mining economy in eastern Australia. It is also notable for its Victorian architectural and heritage. The city took its name from the Bendigo Creek and its residents from the earliest days of the goldrush have been called "Bendigonians".