Powerhouse precinct redevelopment
We’re making a great place even better by redeveloping another part of the iconic Mildura riverfront.
Thanks to significant funding from the Victorian and Australian Governments, we’re investing over $7million to transform the historic Powerhouse building, adjacent car park and its immediate surrounds. The goal is to create a vibrant cultural, community and commercial hub for locals and visitors to enjoy.
The redevelopment of the Powerhouse precinct signals the commencement of Stage 2 of the Mildura Riverfront Redevelopment and will build on the highly successful Stage 1. Since that $19.2million project was completed in 2017 there have been more than 3 million visits to the Mildura riverfront.
The Powerhouse precinct is approximately one hectare in size and includes the historic Powerhouse building, adjacent car park and its immediate surrounds on Hugh King Drive Mildura, opposite the Murray River. It also includes the existing car park near Jaycee Park and extends up Hugh King Drive towards Cureton Avenue.
More than 1000 community members contributed to the development of the initial concept plan that was endorsed by Council in February 2021.
More detailed designs were endorsed by Council in July 2021 based on further community feedback. They include:
- flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces
- transformation of the former Powerhouse basement space into a new purpose-built venue
- visitor interpretation and inspiration spaces
- an events kitchen
- large outdoor shade structure.
The entire precinct will sit within new landscaping, matching the rest of the redeveloped riverfront area.
For more detail on designs for the new precinct download the full slide package from the link on this page.
To learn about the history of the Powerhouse and follow the transformation visit www.mildurariverfront.com.au/updates
Early works: November 2020 - September 2021
Main works: January 2022 - late 2022
- Victorian Government Regional Infrastructure Fund ($500,000)
- Victorian Government Crisis Committee of Cabinet - Infrastructure Stimulus Fund ($5million)
- Sustainability Victoria ($196,000)
- Australian Government Murray Darling Basin Economic Development Program ($1million)
- Mildura Rural City Council ($500,000)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the overall goal for this project?
The goal is to create a vibrant cultural, community and commercial hub for locals and visitors to enjoy. Opening up the historic Powerhouse building to the public will help maximise its potential.
We want to transform a space to a significant community place, creating a destination for both locals and tourist alike. Making the Powerhouse building accessible to lots of different people and groups will mean there is always something to see or do there during the day and at night. This will help make it a sustainable space that many different people can connect with and use.
What is the history of the Powerhouse precinct?
By the late 1800s the Mildura Riverfront had changed from a pristine waterfront to a commercial and industrial centre. Goods were constantly being carted up and down stream to the small but expanding river communities. The Mildura Wharf opened way to new enterprises. These included an engineering workshop, brickworks, timber and sawmill and flour mill.
The Powerhouse was built in c.1919-1935 (there is conflicting information as to the exact date). The Powerhouse operated through to the 1950’s. In the years following the decommissioning the Powerhouse building has been used by various community groups including the Sunraysia Field Naturalists, the Country Women's Association and local theatre groups.
Red Cliffs Musical Society (Musical Society Mildura) and Mildura Little Theatre (Mildura Theatre Company) leased the Power House officially from 1971 through until 2019, a total of 48 years. This space was used as both a rehearsal space and clubrooms and also saw many public performances for both theatre companies held there.
While it is not on any official heritage registers, the Powerhouse is considered to have technical heritage significance. It is the last tangible evidence of the important industrial area linked with the Wharf and railway which was the focus of the beginning of modern Mildura. It has aesthetic significance as an example of robust industrial architecture, rare in Mildura.
Why are local theatre groups no longer using the Powerhouse for rehearsal and storage space?
At more than 70 years old, the Powerhouse building has deteriorated and suffered termite damage. Without structural repairs, it is unsafe for use. Council has supported the theatre groups who previously used the building to provide alternative accommodation and storage facilities.
We have also had various open discussions with these groups over several years in relation to the likely future redevelopment of the site, which was formalised in January 2019 when Stage 2 of the Riverfront Master Plan was endorsed by Councillors.
The redevelopment of the building and site presents opportunities for a performance space and local theatre groups are encouraged to be involved in helping shape the design. A performance rehearsal space is also being considered as part of a review of the Mildura Arts centre Masterplan.
How will the existing cafe on the site (Shippy's Cafe de Caravan) be impacted by this project?
As much as practicable, Shippy's will remain open and operational throughout the project. Eventually, it is likely that this food and beverage function will transition to be part of the vibrant precinct redevelopment.
We recognise the value of having hospitality businesses based on the riverfront - they help attract people to the area, enhance and complement other features and make it a vibrant place to meet and visit.