Dadswell’s Bridge is located on the Western Highway with the majestic Grampians mountain range as a backdrop and is famous for the Giant Koala.
The tourist complex offers information on the local area. The area also offers a range of accommodation
The tourist precinct consists of separate businesses. Whilst the Giant Koala, cafe and takeaway business offers information on the local area. Next door is the hotel / motel and includes the delicious Indian cuisine at Namaskaar.
History In Brief
Prior to European settlement of the district now known as Dadswell’s Bridge, the area was the traditional land of the Jardwadjali people for thousands of years. Two clans were identified by George Augustus Robinson in his journal. He met the first, the Larnaget, at Ledcourt in 1841 and later in 1843, he met the Bernet.
Larnaget means swamp of their lands were to the south of the present Dadswell’s Bridge whilst the Bernet, which means a place on the Wimmera River, were located further north near the now Mt William Creek (Barabeal) and Wimmera River junction.
The nearby Grampians played a significant role in their spiritual life.
Contemporary history begins in 1840 with one Robert Briggs squatting on an area of 200,000 acres which is now Ledcourt Station. By the 1870’s the homestead was built and stands today to the southeast of Dadswell’s Bridge.
During 1865, the land act came into force and people could select land. One of the selectors was Thomas Dadswell, who selected land in the area known as Ledcourt Crossing. Dadswell had various business interests in the area including a hotel and sawmill.
In 1870, Dadswell’s Bridge was a busy little place with a hotel, post office, sawmills and store. Bullock teams and Cobb & Co coaches plied their trade.
In 1879, the railway line to Horsham was built, and as it went via Murtoa it missed Dadswell’s Bridge by a wide margin. The population of the little township declined and the Post Office was shut in 1880.
Still, by the turn of the century, the place sustained a significant enough population to need a school. Schooling had been conducted in the hotel but in 1905 the historic Dadswell’s Bridge Hall was built and school continued there on and off until a school was built south of the highway in the 1960’s. Dadswell’s Bridge State School shut its doors in 1984. The Hall remains and had its centenary celebrations in 2005.
Dadswell’s Bridge sent 27 young men to the First World War. Seven of these men were not to return.
In the 1920’s a telephone service was installed.
The period of the late sixties to early eighties saw a lot of development in the area. The motel and roadhouse were built, a weir constructed as was the Caravan Park with attached airstrip. Roses Gap became a tourist attraction. Much of this development can be credited to one Jim Johnson, an entrepreneur who saw commercial possibilities in the area.
Mt. William Creek Nature Trail
The walk starts from the Giant Koala at Dadswells Bridge. The trail provides refuges for wildlife with fallen branches and logs providing excellent habitat. You may see tortoises, platypus, water rats along with other water birds at some of the large pools. Spring is the time when many groundcover plants will flower and there is always something of interest throughout the year.