For our foreign readers, I wish to get one thing straight. The state of Victoria (sometimes we call it Mexico) is definitely stronger than the state of New South Wales (where Sydney is and where I live). They also have a much richer "chess culture". Normally for a Northerner like myself this is very hard to accept. But one need only look at the line-up of any Victorian tournament.
Take the recent Victorian State Championships. It featured a GM, international masters and fide masters. New South Wales can barely put together a tournament at all. And now, once more in Victoria, is this little tournament: the Bendigo Bank Chess Championships.