Trawalla is a rural district on the Western Highway, 35 km west of Ballarat and 8 km west of Beaufort. In 1838 immigrant pastoralists from Scotland took up the Trawalla pastoral run, apparently taking the name from an Aboriginal expression describing flood waters or heavy rain.

There was limited free settler farm selections around Trawalla, and the pastoral holdings survived as large estates until after World War I. There was also gold mining in some of the gullies west of the Trawalla village which had a hotel and a post office (1864). The Trawalla school opened in 1872.

The Trawalla pastoral estate went through several changes of ownership until acquired by a retired naval commander, William Bridges, in 1888. He set about improving the sheep flock and building a two storey homestead (1891) set in spacious gardens. Within a decade or so he had added commodious shearers’ quarters, an undenominational chapel and other outbuildings. The estate was nicknamed HMAS Trawalla. Bridges died in 1917 and the following year moves began for soldier settlement on the Trawalla estate. Four years later 93 farm allotments, varying from 25 to 680 acres, were taken for sale to soldier settlers. After World War II there were more soldier settlement farms, immediately north of Trawalla, from the Langhi Kal Kal estate and part of the land was set aside for a prison which opened in 1951. In 1965 it became a youth training centre before again becoming an adult prison in 1993. Named Langi Kal Kal, a minimum security prison, it was re-established as a working farm with a focus on preparing offenders for reintegration to the community. It had an operational capacity of 487 prisoners in 2014.

The Trawalla school’s enrolment was around 70 in the mid-1950s, and funds were raised for a memorial hall that was opened in 1957. Both the hall and the school remain, and the pupils on the school roll numbered 29 in 2014.

Trawalla’s census populations have been:

census date population
1911 136
1921 140
1933 146
1947 101
1954 106
1961 109

Trawalla and environs census populations have been:

census date population
2006 224
2011 394

Further Reading

Jim Nunan, Squatters and soldiers: Trawalla 1839-1971, Trawalla, 1971