Mildura is a major city of the Mallee region in Northwest Victoria. The Mallee, (from ‘Mali’ a traditional Aboriginal name for the vegetation Eucalyptus Dumosa) encompasses the River Murray and is the driest and hottest region of Victoria. Mildura is located on the banks of the Murray River, one of Australia’s longest rivers.
Aboriginal people have been living along the Murray River for thousands of years. They called the river Millewa or Tongala. The land and the river with its swamps and billabongs have always been of significance to Aboriginal peoples living along the river (Bickford, 1982).
Lake Mungo, located approximately 90 km north-east of Mildura, is one of the 17 lakes of the Willandra Lakes region. The site has become famous for its many archeological finds. In 1974, the oldest human remains found in Australia, Mungo Man, estimated at between 40,000-60,000 years.
The Mallee District Aboriginal Service (MDAS), formerly the Mildura Aboriginal Corporation, provides a range of services for Aboriginal people including: Drug and alcohol services: Employment services, Family welfare services, Health-care and respite services, Housing and accommodation services, Youth justice, and Youth services.
Local people recognise the Latje Latje and Barkindji (also known as Paakantji) peoples amongst others as being original inhabitants of present-day Mildura. In the Latje Latje language, the name Mildura has been taken to mean ‘red earth’.
KEY FACTS ABOUT MILDURA
Local Language Group: Latje Latje / Kureinji
Population: The 2011 ABS population data indicate Mildura has a total population of 50,979 of which 1,837 (3.6%) are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (ABS, 2011).