Leichardt is a rural locality on the railway line and Calder Highway between Bendigo and Bridgewater. It is on the fringe of former gold fields and was an agricultural settlement. Leichardt was probably named after the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-48).

During the early 1870s the Leichardt district was subdivided for farm selections. A school was opened in 1874 and a Wesleyan church in 1879. The construction of the railway line from Bendigo in 1876 assisted Leichardt’s development, and the locality had two hotels within a decade. Schools were also opened at Leichardt East and South during the 1880s, lasting until the early 1900s. A population estimate in 1886 put it at 502.

By the 1920s farm consolidations had more than halved the population of 40 years before. Pastoral and cereal production were the main activities. In 1958 large silos were built at the railway siding and a bulk grain shed was added in 1963.

Leichardt has a hall (1932), tennis courts and grain-storage facilities. The church closed in 1986 and the school in 1993. The census populations have been:

census date population
1911 302
1933 216
1947 161
1961 67
2011 176

Further Reading

A country centenary: Leichardt 1874-1974, Leichardt primary school, 1974

Ken Arnold, Bendigo its environs – the way it was, Bendigo, 2003