Kewell is a rural district in north-western Victoria, 30 km north-east of Horsham. It was named after the Kewell pastoral run on the Yarriambiack Creek, taken up by John and Alexander Wilson in 1845. A freehold part of the run, comprising about 3 sq miles, was sold in 1876 and included a vast shearing shed.

The name Kewell is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word describing the seeds of the pigface plant.

Substantial parts of the Kewell property were taken up as farm selections in the 1870s. The homestead had a school in the 1860s but three additional Kewell-district schools were opened during 1877-80. One was run by the Free Presbyterian church, which became Kewell's main religious affiliation. Kewell East was described in the Victorian municipal directory (1887) as the village centre, having a post office, two hotels and two stores. Kewell, on the Yarriambiack Creek had only a post office. The district's population was 488 people.

The district was more comprehensively described in the Australian handbook in 1903:

In 1905 the Kewell Zion Lutheran church was opened, four years after a three-roomed Lutheran school was built. The church was enlarged in 1938 and a hall was built in 1965. Both the school and the church have closed (1959, 1992).

After the 1920s the district's farm population declined. The Free Presbyterian school at Kewell West had closed in 1915, and two others closed in 1947. The remaining school, Kewell, closed in 1990.

Kewell is a wheat-sheep farming district and its census populations have been:

census date population
1881 488
1911 353
1933 307
1961 207

Further Reading

That's my block: Minyip's pioneers (pp 6-7), Minyip, 1995