Strathdownie is a rural district in western Victoria, on the Glenelg Highway 16 km east of the South Australian border. It was named after the West and East Strathdownie pastoral runs that were taken up in 1845, both with the involvement of Captain Charles Hutton. Whether Hutton bestowed the name is not known.
Strathdownie is situated on a former relatively recent sea floor. Too young to have a well defined drainage system, streams empty into several swamps. A considerable part of the land was subject to water logging until relieved by drains constructed after the land was subdivided for farms.
Strathdownie is about half way between Casterton and the State border and sufficient settlement occurred for a Presbyterian church to be opened in 1861. Schools were opened at Strathdownie West, Strathdownie East and Strathdownie during 1880-89. When Strathdownie was first recorded in the Victorian municipal directory (1910) it had two churches, a hotel, a music hall, a race club and a show and sports society. There was also a railway league. When a railway was built from Dartmoor to Mount Gambier it followed a more direct route, bypassing the swamps and Strathdownie by about 15 km. The railway league was still recorded in 1960, but by then a garage was providing motorists with a petrol stop. There had been a population increase after World War II as soldier-settler farmers increased the school age population from 5 to 42.
Strathdownie has a public hall. Its school closed in 1996. Strathdownie East’s school closed in 1968 and the other one sometime before.
Strathdownie’s census populations have been:
|Strathdownie and environs||2006||306|
At the 2011 census, farming accounted for 57.7% of employment.
Report from the Parliamentary Public Works Committee (on proposed drainage works, Strathdownie District), Victorian Parliamentary papers, October, 1959