The first settlers of Chiltern were, in fact, squatters. Taking up land near Black Dog Creek (and assuming the temporary name of the Black Dog township), the number of squatters (and the traffic that passed through) grew enough for a bush inn to be established. Ironically, the settlement later became a police outpost.
A township on Black Dog Creek would be declared in 1851. At least until John Conness discovered gold a little further away, and the town grew up around the miner’s track (what would later be called Conness Street).
At its height the town had an estimated population of up to 20,000 prospectors. But as the gold quickly diminished, so did the population, and by 1865 the town and its 2,200 residents had diversified. Mixed agriculture and vineyards were being developed, two steam-powered sawmills were in effect, and quartz-reef mining replaced gold. Though the population would drop by another 1,000 over the next 20 years, Chiltern was determined to find a way to stick around.
North East Water
Before Kiewa Murray Region Water Authority was constituted in December 1994, the Rural City of Wodonga was responsible for providing water and wastewater services to Chiltern. By 1995, the Kiewa Murray Water Authority was providing water services to a population of 1,380 and wastewater services to a population of 1,135.
New Water Treatment Plant for Chiltern
During its first year of operation, Kiewa Murray Region Water Authority commissioned a new water treatment plant for Chiltern. The plant had a capacity of 2.5 megalitres a day and cost $.06 million to construct, with two thirds of the cost funded by the Government. The new plant significantly improved the quality of water being supplied to Chiltern customers.
Chiltern’s water supply was from the Barambogie Springs and 33 megalitre Barambogie reservoir, with a service basin and standpipe adjacent to the urban area. Bore water was also available for use, which was pumped to the Barambogie reservoir before being fed into the treatment plant.
A few years later, the North East Region Water Authority established the Chiltern Consultative Committee to look at the overall Chiltern water supply system. This led to a professional study into the local catchment being undertaken, which looked at using the catchment to its full potential. The group looked at the spring and bore water that were used as water sources for the town, to investigate existing security of supply issues. This resulted in the open storage being updated as a roofed tank, to prevent the recontamination of disinfected water that was stored in there. Engineers were also engaged to better understand the supply issues at Chiltern, and to help with future planning.
Chiltern is connected to the Murray System
In April 2009, Chiltern began receiving water from the Murray system, via a new $2.7 million pipeline. The 16 kilometre long pipeline stretches between the Logic Centre inland port at North Barnawartha, to the Chiltern reticulation system, and enables customers in Chiltern to receive water that has been treated at the Wodonga Water Treatment Plant. The addition of the pipeline provides Chiltern with a higher quality and quantity of water, as well as ensuring long-term water security for the Chiltern community. The Barambogie reservoir is no longer in service.
The Chiltern wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1983. The plant consists of a primary and secondary lagoon, as well as a winter storage.
Chiltern’s wastewater system was developed in 1986 and comprises vitrified clay sewers. There are three main pump stations at Epson Road, Barkly Street and Skerry Street; all flows are pumped through the Skerry Street pump station to the Chiltern wastewater treatment plant.
All treated wastewater is used for agricultural irrigation. While there are two irrigation areas available for reuse at Chiltern, only the one centre pivot irrigation is in use, with plans for reuse expansion over the next few years.