Boddington was established in 1912 and named after Henry Boddington, a shepherd who grazed his sheep on the banks of Hotham River in the late 1800’s. He later settled in the Great Southern Town of Wagin.
European settlers first came to the district in the early 1860’s. The district was made up of several localities including Marradong, Crossman, Hotham, Camballing, Lower Williams, Quindanning, and more.
Quency Dilyan was an Aboriginal man, who helped John Forrest and H.S. Ranford on their expeditions. He lived with his ‘mob’ in the Wandering Williams area, although he spent the last year of his life in Boddington. Dilyan was working for the Farmer family and sent to town to obtain some goods when he was stabbed to death by a member of a feuding tribe of local natives. Dilyan’s grave rests on Bannister/Marradong Road, approximately 5km south of Boddington and marked by white kerbing and a granite headstone.
The Hotham was originally settled by the Farmer family and a school built nearly on the banks of Hotham River. The area is still farmed by the Farmer family but the school closed on the 20th of September 1920 and a new school was opened.
The rise of the timber industry saw the construction of a railway line from Dwellingup to Boddington in 1912, eventually linking with Narrogin to the east, and used to transport timber to the Banksiadale Sawmill. A railway bridge was built over the upper reaches of the Murray River in 1949, then known as “Asquith Bridge”, which recently was destroyed during a bushfire in 2015.
Marradong was settled by the Batt family and became the centre of the district, with the local Road Board being founded there in 1892. In 1961, the Marradong Road Board was renamed as the Shire of Boddington. Marradong once boasted a shop, post office, hotel, church and a one roomed school. The only remaining structures are St Albans, the centenary old church, and a few older establishments. Marradong was the centre of Local Government until 1925 when a building was built in Boddington for their office. This building still stands in Johnstone St, next to the Town Hall.
Ranford, a small settlement 4km east of Boddington, was established in the 1930’s as a result of the Tannin Extracts Factory. Although Ranford had a boarding house, it relied on Boddington for its services. The Tannin Extracts Factory created a deeper part of the river, which is the popular swimming spot today known as Ranford Pool.
The Hotham River School is long gone, with the only remaining features being the huge old Blue Gum Tree and an old Pine Tree. The trees rest on the banks of the Hotham River on Palmer Road, near where Eliza and Thomas Farmer had originally settled in 1864.
The original building was built of mud bricks that were fired on, or near, the site. The school was made up of a single classroom with one teacher. The last known teacher at Hotham River School was Arthur Sharp, who built a house nearby which he named ‘Trentholme’, after the area in England he was from.
The Hotham River School officially closed on the 20th September 1920 and the ‘new’ school was opened the following day. The ‘new’ school was built in the newly established town of Boddington, which had begun to expand due to the opening of the railway line.
The old school was built to meet the needs of Boddington, which was expanding due to the arrival of the railway. The first structure was a one-room building made entirely of weatherboards, featuring high walls and a large brick chimney. The chimney became a favourite place for children to bounce balls on. The building’s architectural design was maintained throughout the complex, even after the removal of the original 1920’s platform during the 1942 relocation.
To keep up with Boddington’s educational demands, a second classroom was added in the 1930s. The school remained a two-room establishment until the 1942 renovation, which incorporated a third classroom, which forms part of the structure still existing today. Further renovations were made throughout the 1950’s, with the distinctive front façade being built in 1948.
Today, the old school and its surroundings offer a unique entryway to Boddington. The original U-shaped complex is at ground level on Bannister Road but rises over two meters on wooden stumps at the rear.
In 1999, the decommissioning of the old weatherboard and fibro school occurred and the school was replaced with a new, ultra-modern building. The new school was opened in time for the 2000 school year, with a number of its facilities being shared with the community.