The Pioneer Settlement is owned and managed by Swan Hill Rural City Council. The Settlement was kicked off in 1963 with the arrival of the paddle-steamer Gem, formally opening to the public in 1966  and has been in public ownership since.

Our team consists of both paid staff and volunteers who work together to operate the Settlement almost every day of the year. And it takes a wide range of both modern and traditional skills to keep the Settlement operational and authentic. Expertise ranges from administration, curation, events and education, to blacksmithing, carpentry, horse handling and mechanics.

The Settlement also receives significant financial and in-kind support from the Friends of the Pioneer Settlement – a volunteer organisation focussed solely on the operation and development of our site.

The Friends of the Pioneer Settlement volunteers also bring many skills to our site including catering, car driving, musical, gardening, woodturning and wool spinning.


The Settlement will be the leading heritage attraction in Australia


The Settlement will tell the story of the Murray River, the people and the pioneers of the Mallee Region.