Bundalong is a small town located on the Murray River, 15km east of Yarrawonga. It overlooks the river where it is joined by the Ovens River and widens to the east of Lake Mulwala. It is thought that the name Bundalong is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘joined together’.
The Bundalong Post office opened on 2 October 1876 and later closed in 1940. The first school opened at Bundalong south in 1878, about 10km away on the road to Wangaratta. In 1884 a second school called Bundalong opened closer to the Murray River – the school was later to be renamed Edmond and relocated to the Bundalong Settlement Village.
An article from the Ovens and Murray Advertiser dated 2 July 1898 provides insight into the Bundalong Settlement Village that was created for settlers in the Bundalong area. It appears that the good farming land, an abundance of wheat and Bundalong’s proximity to the Murray River and Ovens River were a major draw card for settlers. A good system of farming management was introduced by one of the settlers, a Mr Lee, who is described as ‘progressive and prosperous’. The village settlement also had a congregational church and a hotel.
In 1898 there were 60 allotments; married men were allocated 15 acres while single men were allocated 10 acres. There were numerous young children, who would travel three miles to the Edmond school. Both the schools would later close down; with the Edmond School closing in 1936 and the Bundalong South School closing in 1970. By 1903 Bundalong’s population was about 90.
Today, Bundalong has a number of houses, boat launching ramps, a general store, a tavern / restaurant, a caravan park and a State Forest to the east and south along the rivers. Wheat plantations remain a feature of the town’s farming sites. At the 2011 consensus, Bundalong had a population of 604.
North East Water
Bundalong’s residents originally accessed their drinking water through a community scheme. The scheme used an offtake at Lake Mulwala to access water, while other residents used private groundwater bores to source their water.
The Ovens Region Water Authority became responsible for Bundalong’s sewerage services when the Authority was constituted on 19 December 1994. However, there is no record of the Authority providing water services to Bundalong at this time. Given the size of the town and the small number of residents, it’s likely that drinking water was obtained from Lake Mulwala.
By 1998, the North East Region Water Authority recorded that there were 20 properties in Bundalong. However, there were no customers billed for water and Bundalong’s supply was non potable water.
As at 2002, Bundalong’s water was chlorinated and was then stored in a roofed tank, before being supplied to the township of Bundalong. At the time, 24 properties were supplied with chlorinated water directly from Lake Mulwala. Bundalong’s water system did not receive full treatment and would experience high turbidity in the water following heavy rainfall events.
North East Region Water Authority constructed a water treatment plant for Bundalong. The plant used the dissolved air flotation and filtration treatment process, and was in use until February 2013.
Dual Water Supply
In November 2011, the Board of North East Water approved the next stage of the upgrade to the Bundalong water supply scheme. The upgrade would provide a dual water supply, with one pipe supplying high quality potable water for indoor uses, and a second pipe to supply river water for outdoor use. The provision of a dual water supply was a first for North East Water and enabled more than 220 residents to connect to a reliable and safe water supply, with the bonus of an alternative supply for outdoor use.
Construction of the $5.7 million project commenced in the middle of 2012 and included the installation of more than 15 kilometres of pipeline, as well as a new raw water pump station. The new scheme sees Bundalong’s potable water treated at the Yarrawonga water treatment plant and transferred to Bundalong along a 10.5 kilometre pipeline.
The Dual Water Supply Scheme was officially declared on 1 March 2013, with water made available to approximately 300 properties. The first customer to connect to the new supply in February 2013 was a Mr Keith Patterson, who was happy to have a constant supply of safe drinking water, after previously being reliant on a well and pump.
With the introduction of water supply via the Yarrawonga pipeline, the Bundalong water treatment plant was no longer required. North East Water built a new concrete storage tank and the water treatment plant was decommissioned. The old treatment plant was repurposed and is now used as the chlorine set and pump booster for Bundalong’s non-potable water supply.
Bundalong’s Water Supply Today
Today, Bundalong receives treated water through the Yarrawonga reticulation and pipeline to Bundalong. The treated water receives a booster treatment in the form of chlorination before it enters the clear water storage at Bundalong. From there, the treated water is sent to the Bundalong reticulation.
The raw water supply, provided to Bundalong residents for outdoor use, is supplied from Lake Mulwala.
Bundalong Sewer Scheme
In its first year of operation, the North East Region Water Authority completed the Bundalong Sewer Scheme. The Honourable Patrick McNamara, Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Agriculture and Resources, officially opened the Sewer Scheme in October 1998.
The wastewater treatment plant is located on Playfairs Road, south west of Bellbridge. Today the wastewater treatment plant consists of two primary lagoons and an 88 megalitre winter storage. The system includes approximately 6.5 kilometres of gravity sewerage, four pump stations and 6.4 kilometres of sewer rising mains. The wastewater is pumped to the lagoon wastewater treatment plant. Due the low inflows of wastewater that are received by the treatment plant, there is no reclaimed water produced.