Dawson is a rural locality in the Mid North region of South Australia, situated in the District Council of Peterborough. It covers the entirety of the cadastral Hundred of Coglin, with the exception of the small town of Oodla Wirra.
The government town of Dawson was surveyed in February 1881; it was often referred to as Coglin in its early years. It was founded as part of an attempt to establish wheat farming north of Goyder's Line, but this proved unsuccessful in the long term, and the Crystal Brook-Broken Hill railway line bypassed Dawson, instead running further south through Oodla Wirra and Peterborough. Coglin Post Office opened in 1881, was renamed Dawson Post Office in April 1882, and closed on 14 August 1971.
The 1880s saw the construction of Primitive Methodist, Anglican and Catholic churches; the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church (1886) survives and is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register. The Dawson Hotel was built in 1883. A public school opened in 1885 after several years of agitation from local residents. Local government came to the area in 1888 with the District Council of Coglin; it met alternately at Dawson and Lancelot until 1899, when the council seat shifted to Penn (now Oodla Wirra). At its peak, Dawson also had multiple stores, an institute, an agricultural bureau, and a blacksmith.
Very little of the former town survives today. It contains the heritage-listed former Catholic church, the Dawson Hall, and the former school, now a private residence. The Dawson Cemetery on Dawson Gorge Road and Dawson War Memorial on Dawson-Peterborough Road also remain.