Eskdale is a small, rural town in the Mitta Mitta valley, approximately 55 kilometres south-east of Wodonga. It’s thought that the town’s name came from the River Esk in a place called Eskdale, Cumbria in England.
From around 1860, early settlers came to the area in search of gold, which was discovered at Pioneer Creek in Mitta Mitta and Mount Elmo; a tributary of Little Snowy Creek.
Eskdale’s amenities were developed to accommodate the early settlers, with the first school opening in 1881. The town was officially surveyed by G H Lavery in 1887 and was the Mitta Mitta valley’s first town.
Once mining declined, cattle farming and dairying became important industries for Eskdale, supplying the Mitta Mitta valley, with the town’s river flats and land providing farming excellent conditions.
Eskdale’s Butter Factory opened in 1903 and the construction of Dunstan’s timber saw mill, drying yards and kilns attracted a great deal of people to the town, who came in search of work. With the Butter Factory closing down in 1968 followed by a merger with Murray Goulburn, and the saw mill burning down in a fire in 1975, the population of Eskdale declined to just under 250 people.
While the Little Snowy Creek provided Eskdale’s community with a great spot for swimming, releases from the Dartmouth Dam soon after the dam’s construction in 1979 made the river hazardous. The Eskdale swimming pool was opened in the early 1980s to provide a safe place to swim.
North East Water
Since the 1950s, the Eskdale community relied on water pumped from Little Snowy Creek and into a storage tank. A key driver for the water supply was the fact that the town would run out of water during drought. When the creek ran dry (not for the first time) in February 2009, residents had to rely on water that had been trucked in by North East Water.
Eskdale is Connected to Town Water
In 2009-10, North East Water installed a new water treatment plant and Eskdale was officially connected to town water. Treatment includes coagulation and filtration, pH correction and chlorination. Following treatment, pressurised treated water is fed to two tanks. From there, water is gravity fed to the Eskdale distribution system.
Today, Eskdale’s water is from the regulated Mitta Mitta River downstream of Lake Dartmouth. Raw water is pumped 1.8 kilometres from the Mitta Mitta River to the Eskdale water treatment plant.
The Eskdale community relies on septic tanks for treatment of its domestic wastewater.