The Hotham River has been home to the local Aboriginal Nyoongar people for 40,000 years. The first European to explore it was Thomas Bannister in 1830 and it was named after the British Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral Sir Henry Hotham (1777-1833), by Governor Stirling.
The Hotham River is one of the major tributaries of the Murray River in Western Australia. It is about 160 kilometres long with its upper reaches being the Hotham River North, which begins in the Darling Range and joins the Hotham at its crossing of the Great Southern Highway near Popanyinning.
A 15 kilometres long southern tributary, Hotham River South begins near Cuballing and flows generally northerly before joining the Hotham near Yornaning. From Narrogin, the merged river flows in a northerly direction through the Cuballing district and Dryandra Woodland before heading west through Wandering and Boddington.
The river joins the Williams River near Mount Saddleback, just south west of the Boddington township.