Swanwater, a rural district in the southern Wimmera region, is 18 km north-west of St Arnaud.

It is closer in character to the farming district of Donald, further north-west producing fat lambs and cereals (mainly wheat).

Swanwater was the name of a pastoral run taken up in 1841. Farm selections were occupied in the 1870s, the localities named Swanwater North, South and West were formed with the opening of rural schools during 1874-80. In 1882 a railway line from St Arnaud to Donald was opened, and the name Swanwater has centred on the railway stopping place and grain silos.

Community facilities for Swanwater, however, have scarcely exceeded a post office, despite the extent of the district; and the next railway stopping place, Cope Cope, had a public hall, two stores, a coffee shop, and two churches (1930s). The last of four Swanwater district schools closed in 1964.

Swanwater’s census populations have been:

census date population
1891 363
1911 241
1933 129
1947 81
1961 59