The Division of Riversdale was originally located on the Eastern boundary of the District of Swellendam, which had been proclaimed in 1745. It was proclaimed a separate Division in 1858. On 1 January 1880 its Northern Region was separated to form the Division of Ladismith. Its economy was primarily based upon pastoral activities although, during the 1880s, these were largely replaced by ostrich Farming.

The following census figures are available for the division:

1865 census: 10,665 residents, of whom 3,517 were literate

1875 census: 12,721 residents, of whom 4,483 were literate

1891 census: 11,366 residents, of whom 4,166 were literate

1904 census: 13,719 residents, of whom 6,307 were literate

By Franco Frescura

-33° 42' 55.6354", 20° 41' 24.1547"