Lock 11 and Mildura Weir - Mildura's Chaffey Trail
Lock 11 & Mildura Weir
Weirs and locks have been an important way of regulating the Murray River's water supply for many years.
Before settlement, the Murray River ebbed and flowed and sometimes flooded or dried up completely. Its lack of reliability caused problems for early settlers, who relied on the river for transporting cargo such as wheat, wool, wine grapes and citrus to market.
George Chaffey was the first person to see the river's irrigation potential, describing it as a 'river of life'. In 1887 a paddle steamer carrying WB Chaffey moored at the Murray's bank and 500 men were working in the town a year later.
River traffic declined with the opening of the railway in 1903 but the river's depth and health were foremost in people's minds. In 1914, the Commonwealth, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australian governments signed an Agreement to manage the river's waters by building locks, weirs and storage areas. Construction of the Mildura Weir began in August 1923 with the aims of raising both the water level and the pressure from the Mildura and Red Cliffs irrigation pumps. Lock 11 was completed in 1927.
Did you know?
- The difference between the river levels upstream and downstream of the Weir is normally 3.6 metres
- The river steamer PS Canally was first to pass through the lock on 2 August 1927
- The Mildura Weir system is the only site on the River Murray where a lock and weir are separated by an island.
What is here today!
The Weir comprises 24 steel trestles, each weighing approximately 11 tonnes. The weir can be removed from the river by means of an electrically-driven winch to allow flood flow to pass and enable maintenance to be carried out. The weir pool has a storage capacity of 36,200 megalitres.
Lock 11 is a concrete chamber with four steel lock gates. The lock is filled by opening four butterfly valves upstream. Water enters the lock chamber via two tunnels, accommodating approximately 4.5 megalitres.
Although the Mildura Weir and lock were completed too late to benefit the early paddle steamers and other river boats, the system today serves an increasing number of houseboats, paddleboats, tourist cruise boats and other pleasure craft.
The Paddle Steamer Melbourne passes through the lock up to 1,000 times a year.
Visitors are welcome to access the island between the lock and the weir during the day. The island's 15 hectares of bushland provides a habitat for many native animals.
The Mildura Wharf is about 800 metres upstream from here and was vital to river transport from the 1800's.
Hugh King Drive, Mildura. Open 7 days. Telephone 03 5023 1396
(GPS Co-ordinates X=607,372 Y=6,217,742)
1. The Old Mildura Station Homestead ♦ 2. Mildura Homestead Cemetery ♦ 3. Rio Vista Historic House
4. Lock 11 & Mildura Weir ♦ 5. Mildura Wharf ♦ 6. Mildura Grand Hotel ♦ 7. Psyche Bend Pump Station ♦ 8. Chateau Mildura ♦ 9. Merbein
10. Further Links of the Chaffey Story ♦ The Chaffey Trail ♦ The Chaffey Trail Map
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