Millewa A Pump Station - VIC

  Place Name


DEG: -34.191238 141.603607
DMS: 34º 11' 28.46" S 141º 36' 12.99" E
UTM: 54 H 6216475mN 555617mE
Altitude: 34m


Place Type

Population - Place Name


287.64kms East of Adelaide - Driving 343 km (4 hours 1 min)
503.24kms NorthWest of Melbourne - Driving 605 km (6 hours 31 mins)
699.92kms West of Canberra - Driving 864 km (9 hours 6 mins)

Address & Contact

Old Mail Road
Phone: N/A
Email: N/A
Web: N/A


The Sunraysia Regional Group is involved in the maintenance of the Millewa A Pump Station, an historic steam engine which is now Heritage listed.

Background History

Millewa ‘A’ Pumping Station is the last operational wood fired steam driven pump (that was built in Victoria) on the Murray River in its original state. It is situated at Lock 9, approximately 70 km west of Mildura towards the South Australian border.

The Pumping Station was constructed by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in 1927 and formed part of an Irrigation scheme, providing a once a year supply of stock and domestic water to 462 “Soldier Settler” farm storages, in the Millewa area, between the Murray River and the Sunset country, west of Mildura.

The scheme comprised a large water storage at Lake Cullulleraine, re-lift pumping stations at Lake Cullulleraine, and Yarrara, of 620 km of commission owned earthen channels, and a further 400km of private earthen channel. Not surprisingly little of the water pumped from the river actually got through to the farmers, in fact more than 98% was lost due to evaporation and seepage. Pumping was carried out during the winter months to minimise these losses.

The plant at Millewa ‘A’ was second hand when installed and engineering drawings indicate it came from Cohuna, most probably by river. It is believed to have previously served irrigators in the Cohuna area.

The Boiler is a 300 HP (224kW) multitubular, under fired, two pass Colonial type (fire tube boiler). The engine is a 300 HP non-reversing, triple expansion reciprocating engine, delivering its rated output at 250 RPM.

Thompson’s of Castlemaine made both the Boiler and engine in Australia in 1908.

The two pumps are 39-inch (approx 1 metre) diameter centrifugal type based on a design by Anthony George Michell. The design was unusual as both the inlet and the outlet pipes are in line. Normally water is admitted to a centrifugal pump parallel to the drive shaft, that is, at right angles to the outlet or delivery line. The advantage of the Michell pump is the simplification of the “plumbing” of the inlet lines while retaining efficiency. Waymouth of South Melbourne made the pumps in Australia in 1908.

The two pumps together, delivered 100 cubic feet of water per second (2833litres per second) against a 10-foot (3.05 metre) lift from the Murray River. The delivery was into an earthen channel supplying Lake Cullulleraine, some 9 miles (14.4km) away.

One thousand tonnes of wood was required annually to operate Millewa ‘A’, 24 hours per day, for three months of the year commencing in July. There were eight-hour shifts of 4 men with 3 attending the boiler and pump with one man to attend to the fuel supply of wood. Wood was stacked in long rows some 20 metres from the boiler fuel doors. Millewa ‘A’ was decommissioned in 1974, being replaced by an electric pumping installation nearby. It is now history that the open channels have been replaced by a pipeline scheme, realising the substantial saving both financially and environmentally in terms of energy saved and water lost.

The station would have been sold for scrap in 1982, but for the intervention of the then Mildura Shire Council and the Sunraysia Group of the Institution of Engineers Australia. Ownership of Millewa ‘A’ is vested in the Mildura Rural City Council, while the Sunraysia Group of Engineers Australia act as asset caretakers / restorers and operators.

The Millewa ‘A’ Pumping Station, its associated works and reserve have been listed by Heritage Victoria. File Number 603643. VHR Number H549.

Up until 1994 the boiler was fired at least once per year raising enough steam to turn the engine but due to a lage number of tube failures over the years it is no longer practical to do so.

National Significance

This Steam pumping station is a unique monument to the pioneering efforts of the returned soldiers of the First World War who opened up the vast north west of Victoria for farming. Millewa “A” Pumping station is also the last remaining steam driven pumping station, in its original condition, left on the Murray River and is the only surviving Victorian built (Thompson of Castlemaine) steam driven pumping plant left in tact.
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Closest Weather Station

Lake Victoria at 23/09:00am EST
Distance from Millewa A Pump Station 35.39km NW
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts

Closest Climatic Station

Lake Victoria Storage
Distance from Millewa A Pump Station 35.39km NW
Mean Max. °C32.131.628.423.519.015.715.317.220.423.727.330.3
Mean Min. °C16.516.514.
Mean Rain mm19.519.414.618.123.723.124.923.724.127.323.720.7

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