Go ‘Bendy’ Go

Go ‘Bendy’ Go – The Boy Who Liked To Box

A new children’s book about Bendigo has been published over in Australia.

Go ‘Bendy’Go is based on the true story of Bendigo Thompson, underdog and street urchin turned heavyweight bare-knuckle boxing champion of mid 19th century England.

Written by Lauren Mitchell and illustrated by Geoff Hocking, the book shares the early history of Bendigo in a fun and accessible way.

Go ‘Bendy’ Go is based on the true story of William Abednego Thompson, a bare-knuckle boxing champion from England, who unknowingly gave his name to the goldfields city of Bendigo. A treat for all generations, a fun and rollicking read for children and informative for adults – the story of Bendigo.


A richly-illustrated story of William Abednego Thompson, bare knuckle boxing champion of all-England (1832-1850), known as Bold Bendigo, after whom the Australian goldfields of Bendigo, in Central Victoria, is named. His is a story of rising from poverty, from a working class family in industrial Nottingham, UK, to become the ‘Pride of Nottingham. Known the world over as the most athletic, and thrilling fighter of his day, for William Thompson his life was not without its trials and tribulations. After his career in the ring was over he took to the drink and was gaoled 28 times for disorderly, drunken behaviour. In prison he found redemption and became a Methodist lay-preacher. He died in his 69th year after puncturing a lung, falling down the stairs in his cottage. His funeral, which passed through the crowded streets of Nottingham drew more than 10,000 onlookers and fights broke out among his supporters and fans. His tomb remains, the only one left, in a park in central Nottingham today.

Lauren Mitchell

Six generations of Lauren Mitchell’s family have watched the Chinese dragons dance in Bendigo, since her Cornish great, great grandfather arrived to mine for gold. Lauren has been sharing stories of Bendigo’s culture and community for more than 20 years, as a journalist, editor and author.

The City of Bendigo

The City of Bendigo in Victoria Australia is 90 miles northwest of Melbourne.

We have read various theories about how the name Bendigo made its way there. We have now discovered the truth about the matter.

Initial Report

Bendigo Creek was founded as a sheep run in 1840. Then gold was discovered in 1851 which brought rapid growth to the area. This created the impressive city that still stands today, with fine examples of Victorian architecture and tree-lined streets. Gold mining ceased in 1955. 

Bendigo became a city in 1871, although the official name was Sandhurst until 1891. A poll of the residents decided to revert to the original name of Bendigo, to ‘honour a local prize-fighter who compared his own prowess to that of the famous English pugilist known as Bendigo’. The name of this prize-fighter was unknown in most historical text.

The National Library of Australia holds two watercolour paintings of Macpherson’s Store in Bendigo.

The modern location in Bendigo is now called Charing Cross.

They were created in 1853 and show Bendigo Creek at the time of the early gold rush.

Latest Discovery

On the 21st April 1878 the Australian Town and Country Journal published an article titled:


The origin of the name ‘Bendigo’ has, time after time, led to much controversy. Now the origin of the name is thus accounted for.

A few old residents who are yet in existence will remember that Messrs Heap and Grice occupied a station run in the country now forming the Sandhurst district.

On this quotation says the Independent we have been shown an extract from a letter to Dr Pounds from Mr Grice which should put the matter at rest.

Mr Grice writes:

“Tell your friends who want to know the origin of Bendigo, that it was named by Tom Myers, Heap and Grice’s overseer in 1841. Tom himself was a bit of a dab with his fists and a great admirer of the boxer Bendigo: hence the name.”

From ‘Tom Myers’, those well known localities ‘Myers Flat’ and ‘Myers Creek’ take their name.

Image of the actual article in the Australian Town and Country Journal of 1878

Thanks to Google for the image of Bendigo with Myers Street standing proud.

‘Bendigo Creek’ in August 1852, painted by the artist S.T. Gill.