And where was Sebastapol?

One of the things which I found when researching the Catherine Morton story was that a lot of places had changed their names, and some places which existed didn’t exist anymore.

About what you’d expect. Sometimes it’s obvious where they were, Silver Creek is now a caravan park, and Stanley used to be Nine Mile, because it was guess what? nine miles from Beechworth.

Reids Creek, Reedy Creek and Woolshed creek are all the same creek, which was noted for alluvial gold. Along Reids creek were one the townships of Napoleon, Sebastopol and El Dorado. Well El Dorado is still there, but other names, such as Sebastapol and Napoleon are a bit more problematical, as these settlements simply don’t exist any more, but are easy to find, thanks to Ned Kelly.

Sebastapol was a large straggling settlement of pubs miners huts along the banks of Reid’s creek down from Woolshed falls. It’s famous in Ned Kelly lore for the ‘Charge of Sebastapol’ when a squad of troopers charged down the main street in pursuit of a member of the Kelly gang, making such a racket as to destroy any element of surprise.

The result of this connection with the Kelly gang is that while the town is gone, the Woolshed – El Dorado road is lined with markers showing the location of various places important to the Kelly story, which is useful as the town, and the accompanying settlements of Woolshed and Napoleon have gone to bush.

Mostly the original buildings would have been simple slab huts with shingle roofs and little in the way of tin or brick would have been used, with the exception perhaps of the bakers for their ovens.

The consequence is that even though there were over 20 pubs in town there is little or nothing left. The site of the Woolshed school is marked, as well as the sites of Sebastopol and Napoleon, the latter with some irrigation works still visible from the Chinese market gardens.

The bridge and pub at kangaroo crossing are also gone, with the crossing now a simple concrete ford on a dirt road, easy enough to cross when the river is low, but possibly not so easy after rain.

Everything else is gone to eucalypt scrub …

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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