The Chaffey Trail
Follow the Chaffey Trail, a self-guided tour of Mildura's places of historical interest.
Discover the story of brothers George and W.B. Chaffey, who came to the region to devise an irrigation system, while you explore historic homes, a pumping station and more.
Start here to collect your Mildura's Chaffey Trail introduction brochure. You can view the video production of the "Chaffey Trail" in the theatrette and the interactive exhibition about the Chaffey brothers, who designed the irrigation system that established the Mildura region as one of Australia's most important producers of food. Open 7 days showing every half hour commencing at 9.30am with the last film screening at 4.30pm.
The Chaffey Trail takes you to nine sites:
The Old Mildura Homestead
The homestead is an accurate reconstruction of the first home built in Mildura circa 1847 and is built on the site of the original "Mildura" pastoral lease and station established by the Jamieson brothers in 1847. It was here that the Chaffey vision for the irrigation colony evolved. The re-creation consists of the homesteak, outbuildings, the wool-shed and rose garden. Open seven days from 10am-4pm.
Mildura Homestead Cemetery
Mildura's earliest cemetery includes graves of some early pioneers and members of the Chaffey family. Antonia Chaffey, great grand daughter of W.B. Chaffey, has designed a commemorative garden beside the burial site of the mother of the Chaffey brothers, Ann Maria and W.B.'s first wife, Hattie Schell, as well as four infants. The gardens comprises a granite sculpture and observation seat.
Built in 1890 by W.B. Chaffey, the Rio Vista mansion is Spanish for "River View". It is being restored to its original condition. The comprehensive restoration program has included replacing ornate timberwork on verandahs, reinstating original doorways and staircases, and returning the drawing room to its original décor with recreation Victorian wallpaper and original colour schemes. Built in Queen Anne style, the house features original furniture and fittings such as Italian marble fire places and Victorian leadlight and stained glass windows. It overlooks the Murray River and parklands and is part of the Mildura Arts Centre. Open seven days from 10am - 4.45pm.
Lock 11 and Mildura Weir
In its natural state, the Murray River was quite different from the regulated river we see today. Locks were established along the Murray in the 1920s to provide a constant level for both irrigation and navigation by paddle steamers. Construction of the Mildura Lock and Weir began in 1923 and finished four years later. When Lock 11 was built, an island was formed which you can cross at the lock and visit during the day. The Mildura Weir is the only one on the Murray River where the lock and weir are separated by an island. Time your visit so you can see the PS Melbourne pass through the lock, which it does several times a day. Hugh King Drive, Mildura. Open seven days.
Mildura Wharf/Port of Mildura
Climb aboard a paddle vessel on the Murray River to experience what 19th-century travel was like. The Murray River was an important means of transporting people and goods to and from the area prior to the construction of the railway and opened up the settlement of Mildura. Built in 1892, the wharf still accommodates working vessels, and is a mooring site for a number of historic paddle boats. Daily cruises and special charters depart from the wharf. Hugh King Drive, Mildura.
Originally the Mildura Coffee Palace, the Mildura Grand Hotel dates back to the very early days of the irrigation settlement. The fountain at the Grand, the only remaining relic of the Chaffey offices, was brought to Mildura on the paddlesteamer Gem together with another fountain that originally stood in the front of Rio Vista House. Today the Quality Hotel Mildura Grand offers seven different dining experiences as well as comfortable accommodation overlooking the Murray River. Cnr Seventh Street & Deakin Avenue, Mildura.
Psyche Pumps / Kings Billabong
Psyche Pump Station was built in 1891 by the Chaffey Brothers to meet the needs of the irrigation settlement. Water was pumped from the Murray River to Kings Billabong and then distributed throughout the area via a series of channels. The steam-powered pump was replaced in 1959 by an electric pump. The original pump house still stands at Psyche Bend, complete with the restored original pump, and is the oldest pump configuration of its type in the world. The steam-powered pump operates on key holiday weekends and can be accessed via the Psyche Pumps Nature Walk, which follows the Kings Billabong Nature Walk, ending at Psyche Pumps.
In 1888 the Chaffey brothers planeted 150 acres of wine grapes on their Belar Avenue property 'Chateau Mildura' commencing the region's wine industry. Chateau Mildura became part of Mildura Wines, then later Mildara Wines specialising in the production of brandy and sherries until the late 1990's. In 2002, the property was purchased by a local horticulturist who has taken the historic complex back to its original purpose of table wine production. It houses a museum containing a unique collection of wine related items. The Chateau is open daily from 10am - 4pm. 191 Belar Avenue, Irymple.
Merbein Chaffey Links
The Starting from the Merbein Rotary Lookout at the top of the white cliffs, which are a unique geological feature and the district's highest point, to the right are Victoria's first Government owned irrigation pumps, at the left is Pioneer Plantation passing the distillery/winery that was established by WB Chaffey in 1913 and where he sadly collapsed and died in 1926. The original Mildura Distillery is heritage listed. The sandstone walk takes you to Chaffey landing. Grape spirit was once loaded from here on to paddlesteamers. Forbes Drive, Merbein.