Mount Cottrell is a rural district south of Rockbank, 30 km west of central Melbourne. The mount is a solitary rise, named after Anthony Cottrell who was the Chief District Constable, Launceston and one of the members of John Batman’s Port Phillip Association (1835). The western boundary of the Association’s land claim was just west of Mount Cottrell.
The mount is a low lava cone set among numerous thin lava tongues symmetrically distributed around the cone. The resulting lava shield is extensive, coming from the most massive of the Western Plains volcanoes.
Mount Cottrell was settled for grazing in the early days of Port Phillip’s settlement. There are remains of a sheep wash and other stone farm structures near Mount Cottrell Road, dating from the 1850s. A post office opened in 1866 and a small State school operated from 1921 to 1949. Mount Cottrell was described in the 1903 Australian handbook:
Mount Cottrell’s most prominent built structure was the Rockbank beam wireless station (1926-49) in Greigs Road East. The station provided international connections for Empire broadcasts and telegraphic communication, and transmitted picturegrams in the postwar years. The station is an impressive group of buildings, with Mission Revival architectural elements, and they are heritage listed.
Mount Cottrell’s western boundary is the Werribee River, where there is Cobbledicks ford and two reserves, including Pinkerton’s forest which is a remnant grey box woodland. There are also a recreation reserve, a CFA station and another conservation reserve in the east. Mount Cottrell’s census populations have been: