Sebastopol Timeline: 1800s

A timeline of events in the history of Sebastopol, Victoria, Australia has been provided through the generosity of Arthur Jenkins in making available the material from his book The Golden Chain - A History of Sebastopol with special reference to Gold and Mining, published in 1980.

1836 Occupied by aborigines.

1837 August 16: Probable arrival of first white land seekers.

1837-38 First white settlers. Henry Anderson settled on the Woolshed Creek at east end of Bala Street, but gave the area over to 18 year old William Cross Yuille. Anderson went south, about three miles, and settled on what was then Saltwater Creek. He later sold to Jock Winter, who renamed the area "Bonshaw". Archie Yuille built the first house in the Sebastopol area, on the south side of the Woolshed Creek, so named because Yuille had built a woolshed on the east side of the Yarrowee Creek.

1838-51 Stock routes had become well worn roads. The main ones being: the Government Road, which later became Albert Street; Three Chain Road, which was the route to Trawalla, Raglan, Elmshurst, Crowlands, Glenorchy, Four Posts and Horsham. Portland Bay Road which went more or less from the south end of Sebastopol, across west of Waterholes, and through the Ranges. There were no towns at this time. The main Geelong to Portland road, marked on early map.

1851 February 6: Black Thursday when all the country was burnt out. Black Hill became so named because of this. Discovery of gold at Clunes, Buninyong and Ballarat.

1851-54 When gold was discovered, the Main Road was the stock route. Being in the wet season Winter's Flat became a bog, and so the prospectors kept to the east side of the creek, and so the road became the Miners Road. This road was used for many years. It later became the main road in Magpie Gully, which during the working of the Frenchmans, Whitehorse, Raglan and other leads, became quite a busy place, with many hotels, stores and shops. The Wesleyan Church was on the hill to the centre and the first Welsh Chapel was about quarter of a mile to the north.

1852-54 First church services held in slab hut at Magpie Gully. This place was east of the Magpie Methodist Church on the old Miners Road. A plaque was on the wall of this house up until the 1940s.

1854 December 3: Eureka rising, a large number of people took refuge from the licence hunters in Magpie Gully. Whitehorse lead opened up.

1854-55 Siege of Sebastopol in Russia, October 9, 1854 to September 18,1855. Sebastopol was named because of the blasting in the rock at the Frenchmans Lead, it went under the plateau.

1855-56 Four tent camps within the boundary of Sebastopol.

1855 Redan, that locality without a boundary, but, because a part is in Sebastopol, was also named during the siege of Sebastopol.

1856 First steam engine erected in Sebastopol by James Cuthbertson, on the claim No 35 on the Frenchmans Lead (the Equitable Co).

1856 March 7: Frontage regulations first operated at Frenchmans or Sebastopol Lead. First Wesleyian Church in Sebastopol, vicinity of Victoria Street.

1856 May: Cumberland, Durham and Cornish Co, Round Tower Co and United Miners Co began sinking their shafts. Cobblers Lead opened up and Cobblers Township established. Cobblers was the area surrounding Queen Street. Mr John Wall of Sebastopol appointed first mining surveyor on the district goldfields.

1856-60 Many famous Sebastopol alluvial mines commenced operations.

1857 Magpie Gully school No 415 in use.

1858 From the Miner and Weekly Star December 31, 1858 report: The Welsh residents of Ballarat held a grand Eisteddford in the United Presbyterian Church, Armstrong Street on Christmas Day. The Welsh choirs performing were: Ballarat Welsh Choir, Sebastopol Welsh Choir, and Cambrian Hill Welsh Choir. Prizes were competed for in duets, recitations and rehearsals. This Eisteddford continued for a number of years always on Christmas Day. (Extract from the diary of a Welsh swagman, December 1869: I walked ten miles to the Welsh Eisteddford at Ballarat on Christmas Day). This Eisteddford was the forerunner of the famous South Street Competitions, and was held as early as 1858 and still recorded in 1882. The Eisteddford changed dates to St David's Day, March 1.

1858 October 4: Albion Mining Co began sinking their shaft. Woolshed lead opened up. Welsh Chapel opened in Cobblers.

1859 A prosperous year in Sebastopol, shops, stores, hotels and homes being built.

1860 April 24: Extensive flooding.

1861 A Miss Kent had a Girl's School near the Albion No.1 mine. Welsh Presbyterian Church established. Zion Congregational Church established.

1861 September 9: Sebastopol Common School No. 578 came into being, presided over by Edward Swiss. Sebastopol and district population estimated at 20 000.

1862 February 28: First race meeting at Miners Racecourse.
1862 April: Nelson and Wellington lead discovered in Nelson mine. The dispute between the Nelson Co and the Red Jacket Co settled in the Court of Mines. They divided the gold.
1862 July 16: The Bonshaw Co paid Jock Winter 20 000 for 640 acres freehold.

1863 Sebastopol police station opened and police reserve established. January: Miners reserve became Miners Racecourse. First crushing of quartz in Sebastopol at the Prince of Wales mine.

1864 January 1: Edward Whatty presides over the Common School No 578, which was on the site of the Anglican Church.
1864 March 13: Wesleyian Church opened in Cheshunt Street.
1864 April 28: Mechanics' Institute opened.
1864 June 12: Orion Masonic Lodge opens in Mechanics Institute.
1864 November 1: Sebastopol constituted a borough.
1864 December 12: Election of first Sebastopol council. The first meetings to build the Mechanics' Institute and the separation from the Shire of Buninyong were held in Barkley's Great Dutch Harry Hotel, which was in Albert Street opposite the present Ritchie's Supermarket. This hotel was shifted to Stawell about 1870. Thomas Dickenson takes over slaughterhouse after being in charge. The slaughterhouse and the meat works finally closed down about 1914.

1865 W J Clark also had a large butchering business in Cobblers Gully, this could have been the business taken over by Thomas Dickenson.
1865 January 4: First meeting of the council in Mechanics Institute, and the council paid the Institute 25 per year for the use of an upper room.
January 16: Clock in Town Hall presented by Messrs Levinson and Meanowski. Recreation reserve established, 10 acres (Withers history) but E Jenkins centenary book states: 1868 The grant was issued on May 20, 1887.
1865 March 3: Foundation stone laid at Carmel Church.
1865 May 4: A branch of the IOR Lodge first meeting in Mechanics' Institute.
1865 July 11: 12 000 letters and newspapers pass through Post Office in three months. Post Office in Luth's Store, Victoria Street.
1865 July 27: Population estimated at 7000.
1865 August 14: Gas Co given permission by Council to extend mains to the borough.
1865 September 4: Constable Darling appointed Inspector of Sebastopol at 12 per annum.
November 6: Bank of Victoria, Sebastopol opens business with the borough. R C Briston manager.
November 8: St George Reserve proclaimed.

1866 February 25: Magpie Wesleyan Church opened.

1867 April 8: Opening of Welsh Presbyterian Church in Welsh and English. Boom year for all Sebastopol alluvial mines.
1867 June 10: First issue of the Ballarat Courier.
1867 July 7: First Rubicon Street Methodist Church opened.
1867 July 7: Tender of 600 to build the Holy Trinity Church by Taylor and Ellis. H R Caselli designer.
1867 October 1: Foundation stone laid at Holy Trinity Church.
1867 November 21: Boiler blew up at Guiding Star mine causing extensive damage.
1867 December 8: The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Alfred) visits the borough and the Albion No 1 mine. First council offices built by Thomas and Cooke for the sum of 604-16-0. Loyal Prince Alfred Lodge branch formed in Sebastopol.

1868 June 23: Sebastopol Primitive Methodist Church foundation stone laid.
1868 July 20: The council plant blue gum trees in Albert Street. Residents to pay 10/- each but if they did not pay, they did not get a tree.
1868 September 27: Primitive Methodist Church opened.
1868 October 26: Tender by Taylor and Ellis to build Town Hall for 1056.

1868 December 31: Town water connected to the borough. First Fire Brigade formed (Mr Muller first Captain) and received a donation from council for equipment. First rifle range used. Many notable people visit Sebastopol, including the Earl and Countess of Belmore - Miss Gladstone. Winters Freehold Mining co floated and then purchased land for 25,000 sovereigns and a 25,000 cheque from the famous Jock Winter who originally squatted on the whole of the land that later became Sebastopol.

1869 January 12: Sebastopol Masonic Lodge first meeting.
1869 March 2: Fire Brigade first practice.
1869 March 19: Sebastopol Town Hall opened.
1869 September 30: Eight day clock presented to the Baptist Church by W Meanowski.
1869 November 11: Post Offices were at Cobblers township and Redan.
1869 November 15: Letter delivery began for first time at Sebastopol at 8.00am from the Post Office in Luth's Store, Victoria Street.

1865-70 Town gas comes to the borough.

1870 January: The Ballarat and Sebastopol Miners Union formed. This was the first miners union in Victoria.
1870 January 6: 34 shafts south of the reserve to be filled in at a total cost of 40.
1870 January 17: Sebastopol council opened Telegraphic communication with Ballarat.
1870 February 17: Sebastopol Cricket Club apply to council for permission to lease the recreation reserve. Moved that this council adopt the 8-hour day for hired labourers. The great storm of 1870 caused considerable damage. The Whitehorse bridge cost 250 to repair. Three toll gates in use in Sebastopol.

1871 May 3: 10/- reward for the conviction for damaging the public gardens; also the Welsh Baptist Church held a picnic in the gardens located in the reserve. Alluvial mining declining.
December 11: Gas lamps replace kerosene lamps.

1865-72 There were five private schools in Redan and the same number in Sebastopol.

1873 January 22: Sebastopol State School No 1167 officially opened, but classes were held in Holy Trinity Hall and Primitive Methodist Church, with W E Whatty the first head teacher. Local school of design operating at Mechanics Institute. Sebastopol Fire Brigade compete along with 13 other brigades in Melbourne at the first fire demonstration held in Victoria.

1874 Many alluvial mines wound up and Prince of Wales mine flooded out.

1875 January: New Sebastopol State School No 1167 in Yarrowee Street first occupied. Redan State School No.1289 opened. John Dennant first head teacher.
1875 February 13: Toll gates abolished. All alluvial mines flooded out.

1876 Winters freehold only mine working in Sebastopol. The City of Melbourne Bank in business at Sebastopol (almost on the same site as the present State Savings Bank), courtesy of LaTrobe Library.

1877 Winters Freehold Co taken over by Bank of Victoria.

1878 The Guiding Star claim again taken up and rich quartz located in the old workings.
1878 January 10: Maximum temperature 114 degrees F.

1879 Star of the East Quartz Co began operations.

1880 Star of the East Co commences sinking shaft. Visit of Duke of Clarence and York, Prince Albert, Victor and George, and Marquis of Normandy. Winters Freehold Co closes down, last of the alluvial mines. Sebastopol Brass band formed under bandmaster Sammy Prout. Photo: courtesy Myrtle Davies.

1882 Edwards Pyrites Works established.

1883 1884 1885 No gold produced in Sebastopol.

1885 The store Melbourne House built and occupied by C Blyth & Son. The store is still here in 1980.

1886 The Star of the East Co find rich ore. The South Star, Sebastopol plateau and Central plateau begin sinking their shafts. Two plans to drain the plateau of Sebastopol were suggested but never got beyond the suggestion.

1887 Queen Victoria's Jubilee; visit of Lord Brassey. First rifle club formed in vicinity of Pyrites works.

1889 E Jenkins Butcher established. Still in family in 1980, and the oldest established business still in Sebastopol.

1890 Sebastopol brass band functioning.
1890 April 5: Sporting World first issue, popular in Sebastopol. Visit of Lord Hopetoun to christen the 100 head battery at Star of the East No. 1 mine.
1890 October 30: Ladies local clothing society operating.

1892 Several hotels closed down by local option.

1893 September 3: Foundation stone laid for second Rubicon Street Methodist Church on north-east corner of Rubicon and Talbot Streets.
1893 April: Horse tram service comes to Sebastopol. Football and cricket teams were competing in Sebastopol from a very early period. l have a medal from the Magpie cricket club 1895, and also one from the Sebastopol cricket club, dated 1896. An Horticultural Society was in Sebastopol even at the time of the building of the Mechanics' Institute. A Dramatic society was also very active in the early 1900s.

1895 August: John Edmund Jones at the age of 24 years was elected to the Sebastopol council, and after several terms as Mayor, he died while still a councillor on 13 July 1939. He was Sebastopol's longest serving councillor, serving for 44 years.

1895-1900 Electricity comes to Sebastopol.

1897 Severe earthquake shock.



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