It was the Chaffey family who originally lived in Rio Vista before it was purchased for £18,000 and converted into an art gallery.
Back in 1944 a valuable art collection had been bequeathed to the Mildura City Council by Senator RD Elliott, owner of the Elliott Newspaper Group, The bequest was on the condition that a suitable place be found to house the collection. Several rooms in Rio Vista including the conservatory were converted for display purposes and many of the original surfaces were painted over. Conversion into the Mildura Art Gallery saved the house from probable demolition and subdivision of the surrounding grounds.
In more recent times the focus has been on exploring the history of the Chaffey family and the restoration of Rio Vista to the splendour of its earlier years. Rio Vista Historic House
is undoubtedly Mildura’s most important heritage building, visited by thousands of visitors, locals and school children each year.