Mildura Day celebrations reflect on our “blocks and produce”

Published on 26 May 2016

Tuesday 31 May 2016 marks the 129th Anniversary since the Chaffey Brothers signed the historic indenture which made Mildura Australia’s first irrigation colony.  And this year, the Chaffey Trail Reference Group will focus on the history of our fruit and crop growing industry.

Mildura Rural City Council Councillor Mark Eckel who is the Chairman of the Chaffey Trail Reference Group said an afternoon and evening of events has been planned to celebrate the anniversary this year.

“Since the formation of the reference group in July 2007, we have worked to find new ways to celebrate our irrigation history and to give both the community and visitors to our region a sense of our past.

Many people don’t know the history behind our horticultural and agricultural industries, and this is an opportunity to learn more about how we became a leader and the historical relevance of our now world famous food bowl.”

“The Mildura Day anniversary celebrates one of the more important days in our local modern history,” Cr Eckel explained.

“On 31 May 1887, American brothers George and William Benjamin (WB) Chaffey signed an indenture between Her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, represented by Sir Henry Brougham Loch, of the Colony of Victoria which formalised Mildura as the nation’s first irrigation colony.”

The Chaffey brothers were developing an irrigation settlement in Ontario, California, when they met Victoria’s Cabinet Minister Alfred Deakin who was visiting America on a fact-finding mission.  Their plans were then adapted to suit Mildura and they developed a series of steam-driven pumps to lift water from the river.

Cr Eckel said the Chaffey’s vision for Mildura extended beyond the potential to irrigate, to include schools and a vibrant, thriving community and that 31 May is a great chance to reflect on the city’s history.

Cr Mark Eckel said the official launch will take place at the Chateau Mildura Winery at 6pm.

“We are fortunate to have prominent horticultural pioneering families Eddie Lloyd & Henry Tankard will be providing an enthralling account of the their families connection with the Mildura Irrigation settlement from the 1890's through to recent times."

Mildura Day Celebrations will be held from 10am until 7pm, with the official launch at 6pm on Tuesday 31 May at Chateau Mildura, Belar Avenue, (Fourteenth Street end), with machinery and vehicle displays, winery tours, storytelling, photographic displays and a free BBQ for all the family from 5-7pm. Further information about the celebrations is available from Julie Jewell at Mildura Rural City Council on (03) 5018 8100 or from



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