Welcome to Red Cliffs!

Red Cliffs is on the Murray River near Mildura in NW Victoria, Australia.  Come visit us for our centenary celebrations!

Citrus packing possibly Ramsays Orange House

Do you have any memories of orange packing in Red Cliffs?
Please share them with us!

It has a colourful history from it’s beginnings as a soldier settlement to the vibrantly diverse community it is today. Named for the spectacular red cliffs on the Murray River, the land was famously cleared by a massive one-of-a-kind tractor called Big Lizzie. Pumps were installed and channels constructed, with the irrigation providing a fertile environment for growing sultanas and various other fruits and vegetables. Beyond the original irrigated area, huge paddocks of broad-acre crops now grow.

The Red Cliffs and District Historical Society works to preserve this rich history and bring the full story of Red Cliffs to life!

The Society is based in the old Red Cliffs Court House building, which we run as a museum. Usually, the museum is open to the public on the first Sunday of the month between 11 and 1 (the same day as the Red Cliffs Country Market and Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway), and by arrangement. Come and explore Red Cliffs’ history through various historical items, photographs, newspaper articles, books, maps and other memorabilia. We also have books about the district for sale.

We have produced an online map of some of Red Cliffs’ most interesting locations.

We hold meetings every month, with a theme or guest speaker. Visitors are always welcome. We produce a newsletter each month on a different theme and they are available at various shops in Red Cliffs and on the News and Meetings page. We also hold special historical events, and are preparing for events for the 100th birthday of the Red Cliffs settlement this year.

Contributions of any historical items relating to the Red Cliffs area or donations are greatly appreciated. Click here for more information on becoming a member.

Big Lizzie

Big Lizzie is a massive tractor. Seriously, people lived on it. Also it cleared Red Cliffs for farming.

Steam train

The Red Cliffs Historic Steam Railway is a fun way to experience the rail history of Red Cliffs, including unique narrow-gauge tracks.

Building a levy at the Murray

The Murray River had a major flood in 1956, but luckily Red Cliffs was saved by ever-reliable Ferguson tractors, used to build levies.

drying racks

Growing sultanas: the grape that made Red Cliffs.

53 thoughts on “Welcome to Red Cliffs!

  1. I have a large collection of red cliffs musical society programmes dating back to 1973. Would like to foreward these on to the musical society

    • Hi Lea!
      Thanks for getting in touch. They are now the Musical Society Mildura and from what I can find can be contacted thru their President – Donald Mayne 0401 293 253. If the programmes are not required by them please be in touch. Thanks.

  2. My grandfather was a soldier settler at Karawinna,Thomas and Mary Doherty. They had the store he died in 1927 and is buried in the Mildura cemetery.

    • Hi Teresa!
      Thanks for sharing a story from your family history. Must have been tough on your grandmother to live in a remote area and be widowed, (I’m guessing) less than 10 years after her husband returned. Karawinna is not in our area of research – the Millewa Pioneer Park would be the keeper for this area.

  3. Researching my Family Tree and have found that my great aunt- Annie Mary James – Nee Turner ( married Charles Roy James) lived here and had a family etc… I would love to connect with anyone or anything that could tell me more about her and her life.

  4. Both my grandparents were soldier settlers Lauders in Red Cliffs and Skipseys in Cardross. My mother Kathleen Skipsey (née Lauder) is 89 and we hope to bring her up to centenary in 2021

    • Hi Roger,
      Thanks for contacting us. It would be great to have your mother visit for our centenary. We would value any family stories you would like to share. From what I can see, we have a great photo of Edmund Skipsey, as a first settler, but if you have one of him in his uniform that would be a great image to have for our Wall of Honour. We have photos of Edward Lauder (Blk 44) but not of Archie Lauder (Blk 192) should you be related to him we would value a photo to include in our Wall of Honour. Cheers. Chris.

  5. Hi,

    My grandfather was William Degnan (also known as William Porter). He had a Soldier Settlement Block at Cardross – Block 401. How do I send you photos of my grandfather? I can load them on Facebook.

    My father was Murray Porter Degnan and was Postmaster at Red Cliffs in the early 1970’s

    My name is William Murray Degnan and I was born in Red Cliffs in 1948. I attended Red Cliffs Primary School


    Bill Degnan.

    • Thanks for getting in touch via our website. Your family has lots of Red Cliffs connections.
      You can send photos to us via the email history@redcliffs.net While is can also be done via facebook, they are of low resolution, and we would prefer a higher quality for use in our Wall of Honour.
      Hope to hear from you soon.
      Research Officer, Red Cliffs & District Historical Society.

  6. When in 2021 will the ‘100 year’ celebrations be held? I would love to come providing it is not in winter.
    I started at the primary school there in 1954.
    Robyn McClure

    • Hi Robyn,
      Thanks for getting in touch. The Centenary celebrations are scheduled for the Melbourne Cup weekend (end Oct/begin Nov) 2021, as this is when the first irrigation ran which was deemed to be it’s birth, ie when the settlement received it’s life giving water.
      Some past students from local schools are organising re-unions, (we don’t have details of these). If you are in touch with any others from your year level you might like to arrange a gathering. At these early stages of planning the primary schools are anticipating being open either on the Friday or Monday. The Secondary school will possibly be open on the weekend as it will be exam time for some of the senior students.
      The Centenary Committee are currently working on a program for the celebrations, which will probably be over 4 days. If you want to contact the Committee their email is centenary@redcliffs.net
      Hoping to have you visit in 2021

  7. Do you know where i can get a copy of the photos of the blockies who are part of the clearing gang in front of Lizzie you have them displayed in front of lizzie if memory serves me right. My grand father is in one of the photos.

    • Hi, Thanks for contacting us. The photos in the Big Lizzie display in Barclay Sq have been put together by the Big Lizzie Committee. I will forward on your email to them and you can work with them direct. Chris.

  8. My father in law John Otto shaw settled in red cliffs but did not take up land offer but started working for rural water
    I have war photos of him if interested.
    Regards Heather

    • Hi Heather!
      Thanks for getting in touch. We are interested in your father-in-law’s life in Red Cliffs, particularly any stories or photos of his working life or community life or involvement he and the family may have had while living here, that they are willing to share. Look forward to hearing from you. Chris.

  9. Hi,
    My father-in-law spent the first few years of life on Block 400 (1926 – 1930?) How do I find the location of Block 400?

    • Hi Gary,
      Block 400 is near Cardross, between Pawson Ave & Twentieth St, and is bordered by Hollins Rd. See satellite image on Google maps – it is the large green property within those boundaries. Also I notice that your father-in-law’s father is an original settler of the block, and we are seeking photos of all our original settlers for a Wall of Honour. I have also emailed you directly and would appreciate you communicating further with us. Thanks.

    • We will appreciate receiving a copy of this photo, as the School will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary next year. Have emailed separately. Thanks for your offer. Chris.

  10. Our family settled there in the last 60’s. Dad (Bob Dillon) worked for Victorian Railways. The last three of the ten of us were Red Cliffs raised (born in Mildura). We left in 1980 when Dad took a transfer to Warracknabeal. We kids were actively involved in netball and football clubs, swimming and diving clubs, went fruit picking each summer with the Bugno family and others. Mum (Vesta) and Dad were involved with auxiliaries and mothers club with St Joseph’s Church and School. We are working on getting as many of us there for the reunion – both Mum and Dad have died, Dad in 1993 and Mum in 2016, but we are all very keen to come back to be a part of the celebrations.

    • Hi Pete,
      Great to hear from you and that you are planning to come to the centenary celebrations later next year!
      The Football Netball Club has just had it’s 100th birthday but without any party, unfortunately. They are anticipating holding events next year.
      The Historical Society works with the schools when they are doing local history in the curriculum, altho it has been a bit limited this year.
      We are gathering photos and stories of Red Cliffs, and wonder if you have any you’d like to share. We have a facebook page, as does the centenary (Red Cliffs Centenary 2021), if you would like to see and connect with local places and people. Also we produce a newsletter each month, which is able to be downloaded from our website – we can email it to you direct if you prefer.
      Thanks for contacting us. Chris.

  11. Hi my grand parents and great grand parents had block 570 & 571 Cardross. Arthur Edgar Lambert he was in WW1. He married Kathleen Dorothy who was born at Ned’s Station. I have a photo of them as my great grand parents I am happy to share. I do not have much information about them. I would be happy to know if anyone out there may be able to share

    • Hi Amanda!
      Thanks for contacting us and for offering us a photo of Arthur & Kathleen Lambert. We would be pleased to receive any photos of your family in Red Cliffs that you are happy to share. (A digital copy can be sent to history@redcliffs.net) If you haven’t already seen them, the original application & paperwork relating to your great grandfather’s allocation for the block are able to be viewed & downloaded from Battle to Farm (PROV) website. Also you will find mention of him on Trove (NLA) digitised newspapers. Search “Red Cliffs” Lambert, limit from 1920 till his death date. Information about the community they lived in can be found in a selection of publications that can be found at the local libraries or the State Library in Melbourne. You may like to post on the Historical Society’s facebook page or the Red Cliffs Centenary 2021 page. Hope that is helpful.

  12. Hi I have a photo of Red Cliffs taken 8/4/1948 and on the back it states Rural Water C Neq 7564. I would like to donate it to your service. You can have the original, I live in Mildura and would be happy to post it. Cheers Kay

  13. My father Colin Keith Pedler owned block 362 on the Cardross road opposite Hodsens. I was wondering if you were able to tell me what date my father purchased from the original owner.
    I am doing my family history and am stuck on this date. Colins parents owned the Yatpool store and Post office and if you have any photos of the store and home I would love to see them. I am in Canberra but will try to make the centenary next year as hopefully I will catch up with some of my old school friends.
    Jan Banens née Pedler

    • Hi Jan! Thanks for contacting us. Block 362 was first allocated to Mr. F.C. Hammet in the Second allocation of soldier settlement blocks in August 1921. He left the property in 1927 and it was re-allocated to Mr. RW Barclay (brother to Nat Barclay). It was transferred to CK Pedler in 1931. This information comes from “A Land Fit for Heroes” by Ken Wright. I’ll reply direct by email re Yatpool store & PO. RC&DHS

      • Good afternoon, Thank you so much for that very prompt information it has already been added to my write up. Would you happen to know the date that Donald Forbes purchased Zil Zie farm at Karadoc or am I asking too much! Kind regards Jan

        Sent from my iPhone


      • Hi Jan,
        Sorry we don’t have that information. If you go to Trove and put Forbes Karadoc into search you will find some mentions of Mr. D. Forbes. Also try Forbes Yatpool – it appears his residence/farm was also considered to be or was in Yatpool, and he was active in this community. Earliest reference is in 1916 from what I can find with these searches. Karadoc/Yatpool map 1924 is also there. The date you are seeking would be on an old property title, or may be able to be sourced from the Titles office. RC&DHS

  14. Hello. Great site and most informative. My grandfather, Gilbert John Houston, and great uncles returned from WWI and were settlers. Gilbert settled on Block 551 at Red Cliffs in 1920. He married Edna Collinson in 1927 and owned the block and house until the mid 1950s. My father, Leslie Gilbert, was born there and lived and worked on the Block until the late 1940s.
    Could you kindly inform me the location of Block 551? Thank you. Tim

      • I noted your grandfather’s block number, my grandfather’s block number was 550. Boobook Ave was the road it fronted about halfway between Redcliffs and Cardross. There was a tall steel Southern Cross windmill (tallest in the district I would think) it was used for dive bomb practice in WW 2 by trainee pilots.

  15. Thanks Adrian. My grandfather Gilbert John Houston, a returned soldier, settled on Block 551 in the early 1920s. He married Edna Collinson in 1927 and owned the Block until the mid 1950s. Gilbert died suddenly in Melbourne in 1950. My father Les and his younger siblings Laurel and Lindsay were brought up on the block before relocating to Melbourne in the late 1940s.

  16. My auntie Evelyn Margaret Taylor was killed when she fell off the school bus in Red Cliffs approximately 10/9/1928. Does anyone have a copy of the newspaper article or any other information around that date that refers to this tragedy. I would appreciate it very much as I am looking into the family tree. 🙂

    • Hi Robyn,
      Thanks for contacting us. I would have thought it would be on Trove (digitised newspapers) in the Sunraysia Daily, but unfortunately they only have up to 1927 online as yet (more are coming). The Mildura library will most likely have it there. I’ll get back to you if I find anything at our Museum. All the best with your research.

  17. I recently found some photos my mother had from their soldier settlement dated in the early thirties, my grandfather George Paterson along with his wife Mary and two children Stuart and Helen worked the property until they walked off and abandoned the farm. I would be quite happy to share these photos if you want them.

  18. Hello

    I am making an enquiry about Mrs Stanford who , with her husband, used to run the Red Cliffs Tavern some years ago. A friend of ours, Gayle Wilkinson, knows that she moved to Queensland and was wondering whether she is still alive. Gayle was a chef for her.

    Mary Hollingworth

    • Thanks for your enquiry, Mary. I will make some enquires and get back to you. You or Gayle could make an enquiry on the centenary facebook page “Red Cliffs Centenary 2021” Perhaps it would be helpful if you could be a bit more specific about when (what years) the Stanfords were in Red Cliffs.

  19. My grandfather Alfred Bennell was allocated block 268 in Redcliffs after WW1 and my father Roy (1923), brother Ron (deceased in an accident around 1940) and sister Joan (married Alan Cook now also deceased). I am visiting the area in mid March and interested to visit the area where they grew up. Dad went to Irymple South Primary School and then Mildura High School before joining the Airforce. I have quite a few photos of the family when the children were young. Unfortunately I will not be there when your historical collection is open to the public. Also I am having trouble getting in touch with my cousin Vicki Gale (nee Cook) as I would like to see her when we are passing through the area on our way from NSW to Adelaide via Renmark and Cooltong where Dad was a soldiers settler fruitgrower and where I grew up.

    • Hi Jenny!
      Thanks for getting in touch. Will be a great trip for you to visit places from your and your family’s past.
      We are preparing to celebrate the centenary of the soldier settlement of Red Cliffs which will be held 1-4 April. Our time to meet with you in the next month may be limited. You will find a lot of information on the beginnings of Red Cliffs on the Red Cliffs Centenary 2021 facebook page. Also, if you haven’t already, you might like to search (free) the old newspapers site Trove [Bennell “Red Cliffs” gives articles on your grandfather & uncle]. Sunraysia Daily is the local newspaper. Also see the Battle to Farm website – it has your grandfather’s property allocation papers. He received his property in the first allocation in Dec 1920. Block 268 is in the Sunnycliffs area. Let’s know if you want more details.
      Sorry am not able to help with Vick Gale’s contact details. Perhaps email me on history@redcliffs.net with more information.
      We are interested in any information and photos relating to Red Cliffs’ history your family is happy to share.

  20. Hi. My son was born in the Red Cliffs hospital in 1983. My daughters were born at Mildura base the year later so it might have ceased operating as a hospital around that time. In those days it had a nurses hostel next door. I’m pretty sure it was in Indi Ave but when we drove by today after many years away there was no sign of either the hospital or the hostel. Can you shed any light on where it was?

    • Thanks for your query.  We hope you are enjoying your visit.
      The Red Cliffs Hospital in 1983 was located on Jamieson Avenue near the corner of Guava St. and is now accommodation for backpackers & short term workers.  If you turn up Jamieson Ave at Big Lizzie it will be on the LHS past the fire station. The hospital possibly did not offer maternity facilities after 1983. 
      In Aug. 1987 the Red Cliffs Hospital merged with Mildura Base Hospital but continued to operate as a hospital until Dec 1993 when it became a nursing home for the elderly.
      The nurses residence was in Heath St. and was demolished about 2 years ago.  There was a residence beside the hospital, on cnr. of Jamieson & Guava, but from about 1980 it became Dr. Nick Barker’s surgery and he continued to practice from there till 1990.
      Hope this is helpful, and you get time to view the old hospital building.  
      Enjoy your stay!

  21. Hello friends, I am searching for any information on a distant relative by the name of John Milton Butler born 1901 in YORKSHIRE enlisted in Red Cliffs Vic on 25th June 1940, discharged as a corporal 13th Sept 1945 Service No. VX40829. he died in 1969 buried Red Cliffs cemetery. I have in my possession many photos of him as well as letters written by him to a friend in UK letters date from 1936 ( his address then was Bionka Via Ouyen Victoria ) and others dated 1944 from COY 2/23 Bn A.I.F Australia.Would really like to give these photos & letters to any next of kin, not sure if John married.Hope you can help in any way. Kind regards David Todd ( Perth Western Australia)

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