Ballendella is a rural locality in the Rochester Irrigation District, 7 km north of Rochester and 20 km south of Echuca. It is situated on the Northern Highway, a few kilometres west of the Campaspe River.

Ballendella is situated on part of the former Restdown Plains pastoral run (1840). It is thought that the name was that of an Aboriginal whose father acted as a guide for the New South Wales Surveyor General, Major Thomas Mitchell, on his expedition to western Victoria in 1836. (Another authority suggests the name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning resting place).

In 1906, with the Waranga Western Channel passing near Ballendella, the Closer Settlement Commission purchased and subdivided pastoral estates in the district. Irrigation brought dairying, orchards, lucerne growing, poultry farming and vegetable growing. A school was opened in 1912. It was named Bamawm East until renamed after the Ballendella Parish. The school is depicted in Blake’s Vision and Realization (volume 3, page 844), showing the district’s affection for attractive shade trees. An Anglican church was opened in 1915, with tennis courts later added. A hall was built from public subscriptions in 1913.

By the 1960s most horticultural activities had given way to dairying and pig raising. In 1953 a Ballendella Guernsey cattle stud was the best in Victoria for butterfat content.

The school outlasted several in surrounding areas until it was closed in 2005. The church, however, closed in 1940, and a general store (1912) was burnt down in 1976 and not replaced. The hall remains.

Ballendella’s census populations have been:

census date population
1911 122
1947 242
1966 135
2011 257

Further Reading

Val Growcott, Ballendella revisited, the author, 1987

Live and prosper: a record of progress in Rochester and district during the period 1854 to 1954, Rochester Centenary Celebrations Committee, 1954

Shire of Rochester one hundred years of local government 1871-1971, the shire, 1971

Fae Stevens and Elizabeth O’Brien, Then.....the water wheel turned: a history of Lockington and district 1867-1967, Rochester Shire Council, 1967