Pakenham South and Rythdale

Pakenham South, a rural locality, is 62 km south-east of central Melbourne and between Pakenham and Koo Wee Rup. It is on flat, fertile land on the northern margin of the former Koo Wee Rup Swamp. It was originally covered with dense tea tree, and there are several artificial drains leading to the main Koo Wee Rup drain. Pakenham South includes the small locality of Rythdale.

Among early references to Pakenham South was a school opened in 1874. It was some way west of present day Pakenham South, and was renamed Cardinia.

Land clearing at Pakenham South began in the early 1900s. A school and a post office opened in 1913. The Rythdale and other farm properties were subdivided for soldier settlement farms after World War I. Rythdale's school and post office opened in 1924 and 1925. The 1920s and 1930s were the district's busiest years with two cricket teams, a football team combined with Cardinia, a young farmers' club and euchre nights and socials at the school. In 1946 the Pakenham South progress association was formed. Among its achievements were keeping the school building as a local hall after district schools were consolidated at Pakenham and getting the area on the State electricity grid in 1953-54.

A short way north of Pakenham South there is a large export abattoir. In Hall Road there are the war memorial and the hall. In Rythdale there is a recreation reserve which until the 1960s also had the former school building nearby.

Census populations have been:

census date population
  Pakenham South Rythdale

Pakenham South

and Rythdale

1921 142    
1933 141 90  
1947 146 67  
1954 154 66  
2011     235

At the 2011 census, farming accounted for 13% of employment.

Further Reading

Debra Crowley-Huyskens, Pakenham South Bicentennial: Pakenham South school/hall 1913 to 1988