‘The land is exceedingly good with fine hills and grassland, it is as pretty a spot as I have seen since leaving home.’
So said explorer Hovell in 1824 of what would come to be known as Milawa. Twelve years later Major Thomas Mitchell would pass through, and after being known only as ‘The Square’, it would be 50 years since Hovell first passed through before the name of Milawa (meaning ‘flat land’) would be adopted.
As with most towns in North East Victoria, Milawa centred on agriculture and alcohol. In these early times the Emu Hotel occupied one corner and the Commercial on the opposite corner. General merchandise was available at McKenzie’s store and there were two blacksmiths, a saddler, a bootmaker, a carpenter and, best of all, a doctor. A dairy company was established in 1891 and by 1896 was one of the biggest dairy companies in Australia.
A Mechanics Institute comprising a free library and a spacious hall opened in 1889. A court was established in 1874 by a visiting Magistrate in a room leased, conveniently, from the Emu Hotel. Not to be left out, the Commercial Hotel hosted the police station, but, competitively, the lock-up adjoined the Emu Hotel.
North East Water
Milawa has no public water supply and instead accesses its water through three co-operatives. There are no current plans for Milawa to be connected to water supply by North East Water.
Milawa Sewerage Scheme is Declared
The Milawa Sewerage Scheme was officially declared on 8 April 2014. The scheme provided Milawa with a more reliable wastewater system, with effluent treated through a modified conventional sewer system.
The scheme was funded through the Victorian Government’s Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program and services approximately 110 properties.
The provision of sewerage services has addressed the onsite wastewater management issues previously experienced. The scheme has also reduced the impact on the stormwater system servicing the town and minimised any risk to public health and the environment.
Milawa’s wastewater is pumped to the Oxley main pump station. From there, wastewater from both Oxley and Milawa is pumped to Wangaratta, where it is discharged to a manhole in Kums Street, in the Graham Avenue catchment. The wastewater is then collected from the Graham Avenue catchment and other catchments, before being pumped to the North Wangaratta Wastewater Treatment Plant.