“A Sahara of hissing hot winds and red driving sand, a howling carrion-polluted wilderness.”
That was how a local, Murray River newspaper once portrayed the Old Mildura Homestead. Still, this remote place once served as the home and land of a historic Melbourne family.
The Jamieson brothers established the original building in 1847 as a pastoral lease until the Chaffey brothers purchased it 40 years later. Now, the Old Mildura Station Homestead hosts different venues and amenities, a thriving spot for both community and commercial use. It is a reconstructed version of the original homestead 100 metres upstream, as its disrepair in 1923 led to the demolition of a significant part of Mildura’s history and community.
That’s why RR Etherington and AR Mansell of the Mildura & District Historical Society initiated the reconstruction advocacy for the site in the mid-1970s. Support from the Mildura City Council made a lot of its current features possible – the Woolshed, the Cottage, and matching grounds to the original homestead.
Since its reopening on 21 November 1984, the Mildura Station Homestead remained a significant community destination and one of the many things to see in the city.
How the Old Mildura Homestead Came to Be
The first on-site settlement was when Francis Jenkins crossed the river with 900 cattle and ten horses from New South Wales. At the same time, the Jamiesons acquired a Depasturing License to lease the land, calling the property ‘Yerre Yerre’, which was later amended to ‘Mildura’ in 1858, meaning ‘red earth’ in the local Indigenous language.
In 1886, Alfred Deakin, Victoria’s Minister for Water Supply, invited George Chaffey to town, after recently witnessing the Chaffey Brothers’ enterprises in California, USA. Chaffey himself saw exceptional opportunities in Mildura – so much so that he instructed his brother William Benjamin (WB) to sell their stock in America and travel down under.
The Chaffey brothers, partnered with the Victorian Government, signed the Indenture that birthed the Mildura Irrigation Colony, as well as the first irrigation pumping for grapevines in Australia at the same site. These siblings were also the ones who built the Chateau Mildura Winery, one of the most renowned wineries in Mildura.
Aside from serving as a home to the Chaffey families, the Old Mildura Homestead also bore witness to the many historical events in the city and country.
Venues for Hire in the Mildura Station Homestead
The Mildura Station that we know today has various facilities that serve the community and commercial functions. Each venue has distinct features that make them suitable for events like social gatherings, professional meetings, educational workshops, performances, and weddings. These include:
The Woolshed offers spectacular views over the Murray River, ideal for rustic-themed events. With a capacity of 120 people, its inviting open plan spaces can accommodate birthday celebrations, family reunions, weddings and more, with the grounds surrounding the building also available for use. You can book The Woolshed any day from Monday to Thursday, or for a weekend hire Friday through Sunday.
For smaller, more private functions (40 attendants or less), The Cottage is the venue for you. You also get to have a tranquil setting overlooking the Murray River, whether you’re hosting a casual luncheon or a business meeting.
The Rose Garden
The Old Mildura Homestead also has the perfect site for intimate ceremonies. Located at the site’s southern end, just behind the Homestead Building itself, the Rose Garden sits between beautiful olive trees and the glistening Murray River. You can rent this space on two-hour blocks only.
Beyond the enclosed venues, the Mildura Station Homestead also leases The Grounds for outdoor events. It can suit events like festivals and marquees, among other outdoor functions and displays.
A Glimpse at Years Gone By
Time spent in Mildura can often feel like time spent in the heart of a time capsule. The Old Mildura Homestead, for example, gives you a glimpse of life for the 19th-century pioneers. Here, you can relax and enjoy the riverboat display, the different venues, and be amazed by the machinery that helped start an industry.
As you experience history firsthand, we recommend topping it off with classic, delicious food and drinks at a premier family restaurant in Mildura. To make a booking, or to find out more about what we have to offer at The Gateway Tavern, contact us today by calling (03) 5021 3288.