MELBOURNE couple Peter and Kate Hewitt hail from the Melbourne bayside suburb of Hampton, but the couple are regular, long-time visitors to Mildura.

They made their first journey from ‘the big smoke’ to sunny Mildura with their young children way back in 1974 on the 13th of August to be precise!

They were back in our city again recently before the latest lockdown and the ‘Weekly caught up with them on the riverfront, a favourite Mildura spot of theirs.

Peter is a subscriber to the Mildura Weekly’s digital edition and is an avid reader of the paper which he said helps him keep abreast of local news.

Asked what it was he liked about the ‘Weekly, Peter said it keeps him up to date with the topical subjects affecting the region.

“Whether they are political, municipal or agricultural. There’s always something of interest,” he said.

“I like to see what the growers are doing and how they are going, and I have a particular interest in the dried fruits industry.

“It has evolved so much, and growers have embraced new technologies and that’s very interesting to see.

“Because we have been coming up here for so long, it is fascinating to see the changes in farming techniques and also the growth of Mildura − it is enormous now − and of course a lot of the grape vines have made way for houses.”

Peter formerly worked in the financial services sector, specialising in the insurance and superannuation, and running his own business for 36 years.

He sold out in 2006 and retired.

Peter said once he retired and the children were grown up, he and Kate have been able to travel more − well at least up until COVID put an obstacle in their path.

“We come ever year, but COVID has made travelling around difficult,” he said.

“Mildura is a lovely place and we really like what they have done with the riverfront.

“Being able to walk down the stairs through the gardens from the Grand Hotel where we are staying to the river, is just superb and so much easier now,” he said.

“We aren’t ‘towing’ anything. We have always stayed in accommodation and, for the past few years, we have been staying at the Grand because it’s so central to everything and it’s a nice hotel with all its different restaurants and facilities.”

Peter said in years gone by they stayed in a variety of accommodation, even on a friend’s citrus block.

“Years ago we stayed with friends on their citrus property at Sunnycliffs, and after that we stayed at the holiday flats at Colignan. We also stayed in some other holiday flats owned by the same people in Mildura,” he said.

“When you’ve got four children you didn’t want to stay in a hotel – we had three boys and one girl and they were pretty active!”

Kate said that when the couple first came to Mildura the children were very young.

“When we came here our eldest boy was only three and our other son was 18 months old. They just loved running through the fruit block – we’d never seen anything like it,” she recalls.

“To drive into Mildura from Colignan was a day’s outing and it kept the kids entertained,” she said.

“Once we did a day trip to Renmark and Berri, and Kate and I went out to Mungo Station to the Walls of China one trip and that was a great day out too,” Peter chimed in.

“The Government of the day were running a promotion – ‘Victoria all it needs is you’ – and Kate saw the advertisement at the tourist bureau and we organised a trip to Mildura.

“Unfortunately, the trip home ended up a bit of a disaster because the car kept breaking down and it took us three days to get home!

“My brother-in-law came from Melbourne to tow us from Wedderburn to Frankston where we were living then.

“That car got ‘flogged’ straightaway, and a year later we had a better car and up we came again. It’s continued ever since – we love Mildura.”