Nangiloc and Colignan

Nangiloc and Colignan are rural localities south-east of Red Cliffs, adjacent to the west bank of the Murray River. It appears that Colignan predated Nangiloc, and Colignan is thought to have been the name of a local Aboriginal leader. Nangiloc is Colignan spelt backwards.

Both places were established as soldier-settlement areas after World War I. Colignan post office was opened in 1922, and the settlement was reached by the Boonoonar Road, eastwards from the Calder Highway. Many settlers were inexperienced and farm blocks were too small. A hall was built at Colignan in 1926, which was used as a school in 1927-28.

By the 1930s many farmers had given up, but replacement settlers came, some taking up blocks north of Colignan. These people settled the Nangiloc district, where a school was opened in 1932. During World War II there was a boost in vegetable growing on the better soils, irrigated from channels.

When reticulated electricity came to Nangiloc and Colignan in 1957 there was a surge in private irrigation, pumping water from the Murray River. Citrus plantations were established. Excess water was drained back to the river to relieve water logging. Salinisation of both the land and the river was evident within ten years. Disposal of excess water to inland basins degraded their environments. More careful irrigation and improved drainage have relieved the problem.

Nangiloc and Colignan are an area of about 39,000 ha. Dryland farming occupies 28,200 ha, irrigation 5300 ha, and the rest is public land. The district is Victoria’s largest citrus-growing area.

Both Nangiloc and Colignan have a general store. Nangiloc also has a hall, a community church, a bowls club, the district primary school (34 pupils, 2014), football, netball, cricket and tennis clubs and a packing shed/cool store. Colignan has a community swimming pool. Census populations have been:

census date population
  Colignan Nangiloc
1933 89 -
1954 183 104
1961 222 160
2011 259* 380*

*includes environs

At the 2011 census, agricultural employment as a percentage of all employment was:

  Colignan Nangiloc
Fruit and nut growing 45.5% 34.4%
Vegetable growing 1.9% 5.0%
Farming - 13.3%

Further Reading

Nangiloc-Colignan draft salinity management plan, Red Cliffs, 1991

Nangiloc community website