Wentworth Tourism

Curlwaa Irrigation History

Curlwaa Irrigation History

This was generally favoured and agreed to be suitable.  Because of the punt it was quite common to see and hear “going to Abbottsford” – ‘at Abbottsford’, but the matter lapsed.

Curlwa was chosen, having the advantage of being unique. It had to be approved by the postal authorities. The settlement by Act was Wentworth Irrigation Area – gradually it became Wentworth Irrigation Area (Curlwaa). It is not recorded who slipped the second A in. Dried fruit was branded ‘CURLWAA’.
In 1911 when the Mildura Co-operative branch was to be opened, Walter Sage, the settler’s representative and Mr. Hawke, the manager of the Co-op agreed that the name apart from  Wentworth was necessary if the local produce was to be branded. Three names were submitted: – Valetta, Orana and Curlwa. The latter an Aboriginal name for native peach, indigenous to the area, the Quandong tree. Quandong fruit bears little resemblance to peach fruit, except the stone is rough, but it was known as the native peach. Mrs. Ivy Page tells of quandong trees on sandy ridges, and picking the fruit. The children also gathered cranberries from the bushes low on the ground. Both fruits are excellent for pies.

Perhaps residents could grow a Quandong tree? They are parasitic in their growth, outback people say even a kikuya root will do as a foster mother, it is not true that the stone has to pass through an emu to germinate, heat generated by leaf mould does just as well, and is less trouble.

Helen Ball, who came to Church Road in 1908, and planted the tall palm, said that people were disappointed that the Aboriginal name Tuckers Creek was not chosen for the area, Tchilltaullcurra. The creek connected the two great rivers, encircling the area, it seemed very suitable. Ivy Page confirmed the story. The authorities turned it down. Just as well for poor spellers. It was pronounced CHILTACURRA.