Merbein South

Merbein South is a rural locality in north west Victoria, 13 km west of central Mildura.

Farm settlement at Merbein South followed within a year of Merbein being settled with the object of irrigated crops being produced. The first land sales happened in 1909 and irrigation from the Murray River began the following year. Settlers took up mixed farming and dairying, but rabbit infestation and lack of Summer irrigation caused failures. Once wire netting and improved control of river flows were implemented, farmers moved to growing dried fruits by 1914. War-time dried-fruit import shortages improved their markets.

A primary school and a post office opened in 1913 and 1915. In 1917 grape vines were badly affected by black spot fungus. A Mildura horticultural research committee established a plant research and experiment station at the corner of River Avenue and Sturt Highway in about 1919. The station was taken over by CSIRO (closed 2011).

The school was the social centre until a large hall opened in 1929 at the recreation reserve. There were local football, cricket and tennis clubs. The social centre had remained in the vicinity of the school with the general store. Along the Sturt Highway a large mushroom and vegetable farm (1970) joined the school and the research station. The school is part of the combined Merbein campuses.

Merbein South's census populations have been:

census date population
1921 219
1933 295
1947 325
1954 502
1961 515
2011 585

In 2011 fruit, mushroom and vegetable growing accounted for 21.9% of employment.

Further Reading

Margaret Matthews, The south end of the settlement: a history of Merbein South, Merbein South, 1988