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Transforming the Landscape


A major drought in Victoria from 1877 to 1884 prompted Alfred Deakin, a minister in the State Government and chairman of a Royal Commission on water supply, to visit the irrigation areas of California, where 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 in the next twenty years. After much political wrangling, the settlement of Mildura was established in 1887.