In 1885, the Chaffey brothers from Canada had a vision to turn a derelict sheep station in what is now Mildura into the site for their first irrigation settlement. It was a vision they brought to life in California and the neat grid layout of Mildura laced with citrus groves is today the reality.
But drive just half an hour out of the town now recognised for wining and dining and the arts and the reality of that challenge is clear: scrubby Mallee gums, saltbush, salt pans and dust bowls.
“Mildura is a vital contributor to Victoria’s food production sector.”
Despite these conditions, from a pioneer irrigation settlement clinging to the languid Murray River, the Mildura community has grown into a hub of food production, manufacturing, transport links and logistics.
The region’s warm climate, innovative infrastructure and transport links – initially steam driven paddleboats - have helped position Mildura as a powerhouse for key industries like irrigated horticulture (table grapes, wine grapes, dried grapes, citrus, vegetables and nuts), dryland farming, tourism, food and beverage manufacturing and more.