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Mildura is a regional city in northwestern Victoriamarker, Australia, part of the Rural City of Mildura. Mildura is located in the Sunraysia region, and is on the banks of the Murray Rivermarker. The city's population was 30,016 at the 2006 census.

Mildura is also known as the centre of Victoria's Food Bowl and is a major producer of citrus fruits (especially oranges), and wine. It is also notable for its grape production, supplying 80% of Victoria's grapes . Many wineries also source grapes from Mildura.

History

Many Aboriginal people lived around the site of Mildura because of the abundant food. Local tribes included the Latje Latje and Yerre Yerre. Europeans noticed this abundance and decided to harness it, so they brought sheep to graze the natural pastures.
Langtree Ave, 1950


Irrigation settlement

A major drought in Victoria from 1877 to 1884 prompted Alfred Deakin, then a minister in the State Governmentmarker and chairman of a Royal Commission on water supply to visit the irrigation areas of California. There he met George and William Chaffey.

In 1886 George Chaffey came to Australia and selected a derelict sheep station at Mildura as the site for his first irrigation settlement signing an agreement with the Victorian government to spend at least £300,000 on permanent improvements at Mildura in the next twenty years.

After much political wrangling, the settlement of Mildura was established in 1887. It was named after the Mildura sheep station that provided most of the land. The name is of Aboriginal origin, and means either "red sand" or "sore eyes" . The Post Office opened on January 23, 1888.

Growth

The nearby towns of Wentworthmarker, Gol Golmarker, Curlwaamarker and Yeltamarker sprang up in the mid to late 1800s. In the 1890s came the scourge of the rabbit. This devastated the sheep farmers, especially south of the Murray. There was also a financial recession at this time. Combined, these factors restricted growth of the new settlement.

After this period, the new settlement grew and grew. It was soon the main town of the district. Suburbs and new satellite towns sprang up. From the 1920s, a number of 'suburban' train services were established to Merbein and Red Cliffs. These were operated by Rail Motors. In 1934 it officially became a city . Today, Mildura is a bright, thriving regional centre, and the surrounding Sunraysia district has a population of over 50,000.

Climate

Mildura enjoys a mostly warm climate. It is only about 50 metres above sea level despite being several hundred kilometres from the coast . Mildura is classified as a semi-arid climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) bordering the Mediterranean climate the most.

Rainfall is about 290 mm a year and is spread evenly across the months and seasons. Winter and Spring enjoy the most rainy days, but the heaviest falls occur from rare penetrations on the monsoon, as in February 2000.

Average maximum temperatures range from a hot in summer to in winter. Minimum temperatures range from around in summer to in winter, when frost is common and often destructive to irrigated crops.

Culture

Mildura is host to many annual festivals such as the Mildura Country Music Festival, the International Balloon Fiesta, the Jazz & Wine Festival, Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival and the Mildura Show .there is also the annual Mildura masters coarse fishing competition held in November which attracts a number of international and local coarse anglers

Demographics

As of the 2006 Census, there were 30,016 people residing in 13,053 households. 82.8 % of Mildura residents are Australian born. Of those born overseas: Englandmarker (1.5%), Italymarker (1.4%), Turkeymarker (1.4%), New Zealandmarker (1.1%), Greecemarker (0.5%). English is the only language spoken at home for 86.2% of households.

Media

Local newspapers include the Sunraysia Daily, Mildura Midweek, Mildura Weekly and the Mildura Independent Star which ceased publication in 2007. Local radio stations include ABC Local Radio, Easymix 1467AM (3ML), 97.9 3MA FM, 99.5 Star FM, and Hot FM.

Community TV channel Channel 31 is to be launched in 2009, also from ABC Television or SBS Television.

Sport

Mildura has three Australian Rules football teams competing in the Sunraysia Football League; Imperials, Mildura and South Mildura.

Mildura has a horse racing club, the Mildura Racing Club, which schedules around nine race meetings a year including the Mildura Cup meeting in May.

Mildura Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the city.

Golfers play at the course of the Mildura Golf Club on Twelfth Street.there are also 5 baseball clubs; Hawks, Saints, Eagles, tigers, and wanderers

Basketball also has a large following in Mildura with hundreds of teams in all divisions entered in the Mildura Basketball Association's summer league.

Transport

Mildura is on the intersection of the Sturt Highway from Adelaidemarker to Sydneymarker, and the Calder Highway to Melbournemarker via Bendigomarker.

Mildura has a railway connection to Melbourne, which is used for freight transport. In May 2006, it was announced that the Mildura line would receive a $73 million upgrade using gauge convertible sleepers.

Sunraysia Bus Lines, Swan Hill Bus Lines and Dysons Bus Services operate V/Line bus/train services that connect Mildura to various parts of Victoria and southern NSW. Greyhound Australia run buses to Adelaide and Sydney via Canberramarker. Countrylink run buses to Sydney. The Henty Highway Bus Service runs buses to Horshammarker.

Mildura Airportmarker is the third busiest airport in Victoria, serviced by four QantasLink flights daily to Melbourne, four Regional Express flights to Melbourne, and two Sharp Airlines flights daily to Adelaidemarker. Virgin Blue has one flight per day in each direction between Melbourne and Mildura.

Deakin Avenue, the main street of Mildura, is known as the longest straight avenue in Australia, at 12.1km .

Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone

Mildura is part of the 'Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone', in which fruits or vegetables may not be taken into the area (they can, however, be taken out). This is to stop the fruit fly from invading crops and plantations. Disposal bins into which fruit can be disposed of are located along highways entering the zone.

Visitor attractions



Education

La Trobe University

La Trobe University operates a regional campus in Mildura, with 322 students enrolled as of 28 May 2008.

Nowingi toxic waste proposal

In 2004 there was a controversial proposal by the Victorian Government to build a state-level Long Term Containment Facility (LTCF) for Industrial Waste in Nowingi, approximately 50 km south of Mildura. The site is a small enclave of state forest surrounded by national park, and contains habitat important to a number of threatened species.

Its hydrological composition is disputed, the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) investigations and subsequent evidence predicted that contaminated moisture would take greater than 1000 years to move though the LTCF barrier system. Transport modelling of groundwater contaminants predicted that if contaminants did enter the groundwater, they would move slowly through the Blanchetown Clay and then in a westerly to north-westerly direction towards the Raak Plains, taking thousands of years to finally discharge within the Raak Boinkas in the Murray-Sunset National Parkmarker, while local opponents claimed it would flow east through Hattah-Kulkyne National Parkmarker into the Murray Rivermarker.

The site is around 500 km away from Melbournemarker, where most of the waste is generated. Local opponents to the LTCF argued that transporting the waste will incur higher costs and create more opportunity for accident than a LTCF closer to Melbourne.

Local opponents, a group called "Save the Food Bowl Alliance" and local media branded the LTCF the "Mallee Toxic Waste Dump". The chairman of the "Save the Food Bowl Alliance", Peter Crisp, was elected to Victorian Parliament in 2006, campaigning on this issue.

Grape vines growing in Mildura during December 2006.
In January 2007, the Victorian Government announced that it was abandoning its proposal to build the Long Term Containment Facility at Nowingi.

It could be argued that its reasoning was that enabling legislation would have had trouble passing both houses of Parliament, with the Bracks Labor Government losing control of the reformed Legislative Council in the 2006 State Election. The parties holding the balance of power in the Legislative Council - the Nationals, the Australian Greens and Liberals all stating during the election campaign their opposition to the LTCF.

The Panel Inquiry report found the proposal to be environmentally feasible but recommended against granting approval on strategic planning grounds. Specifically because it:• Could fill too soon to provide a sustainable solution for Victoria’s Category B wastes;• Cannot be reasonably or readily expanded because of its surrounds;• Would be between two National Parks;• Would be located in high conservation value remnant vegetation which is habitat of threatened species;• Would be too distant from waste producers; and• Would be as a lesser but relevant consideration, constrained by the need to suspend construction during the breeding period of Mallee Emu-wren and Malleefowl.

The abandoning of the LTCF proposal was received with jubilation by opponents of the LTCF not only in the Mildura area and elsewhere in Victoria, but also across the border in South Australiamarker where there were fears that in reputation, if not in substance, the toxic waste could effect the water supply via the Murray Rivermarker and thereby the fruit-growing industries of the Riverland and Murraylands.

The Mildura Rural City Council and residents spent almost $2 million fighting the Government's proposal for the LTCF at Nowingi. On 10 January 2007 the Victorian Government did not rule out some form of reimbursement for the Rural City of Mildura council's legal and other costs in opposing the LTCF. "The general rule is that people bear their own costs, that is most likely to apply in this case ... but I've indicated and I am prepared to talk to the council and mayor about the whole issue of how Mildura moves forward and I'll do that," John Thwaites said.

See also



References

  1. Mildura, Department of Planning and Community Development Mildura Rural City Council, Accessed September 27, 2007
  2. The Mildura Suburban Train Service McLean, Bruce Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, September, 1978 pp189-205
  3. Mildura, Sydney Morning Herald Travel, February 8, 2004
  4. Climate data for Mildura Airport


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