Tragowel is a farm-irrigation area 15 km south of Kerang, with a few buildings comprising the area’s centre on the railway line between Bendigo and Kerang.
Tragowel was named after the Tragowell pastoral run, taken up by Alexander MacCallum in 1845. It lay east of the Loddon River and had numerous streams and swampy depressions. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal name for one of the swamps. The flatness of the area also caused it to be named Tragowel Plains.
During the late 1870s farm selections were occupied, and the Tragowel Plains school was opened in 1880. The railway line through Tragowel to Kerang was opened in 1885 and the Tragowel cheese factory was opened in 1888. This was two or three years after the formation of the Tragowel Plains Irrigation Trust, one of four in the Kerang district which came about from the Water Conservation Act 1885. The Tragowel irrigation is described as the first such project of national importance. A public hall was later opened, serving as a school while a new one was built after a fire. The school had 13 pupils in 1998 and was closed the following year. A store and post office became only a post office in 1965, and closed in 1976. The hall continues.
The Tragowel Swamp, north of the former school area, is a bird sanctuary. A local author has recorded the existence of several middens on the edge of the swamp. The former Tragowel cheese factory (1936) is recorded by the National Trust.
Tragowel’s census populations have been:
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At the 2011 census, farming accounted for 49.7% of employment, including 14.6% for dairying.
Frederick S. Grinton, Pastures new: a record of our pioneers, Kerang New Times, 1970