Unlocking the world of science in regional Victoria

To celebrate this year’s National Science Week, we look at some of the exciting projects that are sparking curiosity and innovation in our regions.

From the far reaches of outer space to the depths of the world beneath our feet, science is all around us. And in cities and towns across regional Victoria, scientists are taking advantage of nature to help advance knowledge across a plethora of disciplines – here’s some of what’s going on now and for the future.

Constellations at a planaterium

Bendigo Planetarium

The Discovery Science and Technology Centre in Bendigo has launched its newly redesigned planetarium which includes a 360-degree dome theatre.

The planetarium can display more than 30,000 items of scientific data and images of outer space for students and visitors to learn about stars, galaxies, planets and more.

To find out more visit the Discovery Science and Technology Centre website.

Stawell Underground lab

Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory

Located more than one kilometre underground at the Stawell Gold Mine, the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere and aims to explore the mysteries of dark matter.

SUPL is located one kilometre underground and will provide valuable information to answer questions that could potentially change our understanding of the universe.

Read more about the building of the lab: Building a lab to shine a light on dark matter.


Cannatrek medicinal cannabis facility

Cannatrek is building a multi-million-dollar medicinal cannabis glasshouse in Greater Shepperton to grow its supply in Australia for Victoria’s growing medicinal cannabis industry.

Once complete, it will be the company’s first production facility outside Queensland. It features an automated climate and watering control system to grow cannabis year-round.

Read more about the new facility: Medicinal cannabis flowers in Greater Shepparton.

Latrobe Valley Smart Geothermal Industrial Loop

Geothermal energy is heat from the Earth’s core. It is one of the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost-effective systems for heating and electricity generation and it exists in abundance in Gippsland. Across about 6,000 square kilometres under Gippsland lies a huge reservoir of geothermal heat in an aquifer that has temperatures of about 60-70 degrees.

It’s believed that in the Latrobe Valley, this heat is closer to the surface and hotter than in any other part of Australia due to brown coal deposits, which act as an insulator. The Victorian Government is supporting the University of Melbourne to design a system to access and use this incredible renewable resource sustainably for the benefit of the community in the Latrobe Valley.

Read more about Professor Rachel Webster leading the project: Two women challenging how we see the world.

Upper Murray Place Based Power Plan

Smart energy technology is helping advance the Upper Murray electricity supply. The Upper Murray Place Based Power Plan addresses the vulnerability of the Upper Murray electricity supply, highlighted by the Black Summer bushfires where power outages lasted for up to three weeks in some areas, including complete loss of communications. The project involves installing energy nodes consisting of solar power, batteries, generators, and smart energy controllers to enable communities across the region to access locally generated renewable energy.