She may be our most famous daughter, but chanteuse Colleen Hewett still calls Bendigo home.

Writer: Sarah Harris – Photographer: Jo Adams and supplied

“Just the smell of the peppercorn trees and the sound of the cicadas and I’m a little girl again walking down Moore Street with nanny,” Colleen Hewett sighs.
More than any other place she lived – including her beloved long-time base in Fiji – the singer and actress considers Bendigo home and will never part with the mud-brick house her parents built at Junortoun in the 1970s.
It was in Bendigo that at the tender age of 12 she gave the first public demonstration of the voice said to “carry the burden and joys of many lives past.”
But even before she stood on stage at Carlos And Rosita’s Ballroom in Hargreaves Street with her uncle Des Duguid’s band the Lonely Ones and belted out her first three numbers, Mississippi Mud, Kansas City and Dance On, Colleen knew she was destined to be a performer.
“When television started in 1956, the year of the Olympic Games in Melbourne, we were living in Glenroy,” she recalls. “We used to go down to the electrical shop like a lot of people did. We’d take these little foldaway chairs and watch television in the window. You couldn’t hear it, but it was on. I just knew I was going to be on that little black and white picture thing. I didn’t know what I would be doing, but knew I would be there.”…