The Sebastopol Heritage Study charts the suburb's evolution from a mining hub to a bustling residential and retail centre.
The history of Sebastopol’s mining has recently been rediscovered as part of the Sebastopol Heritage Study in the Ballarat West Growth Area.
Sebastopol is situated in the traditional lands of the Wathuarung people. Its history includes the story of the local indigenous people, the arrival of settlers and their early pastoral runs, followed by gold mining and later, closer settlement which continues today.
From 1851, Sebastopol was a thriving miningsite and deposits soon became depleted by the miners’ intensive search for surface gold. The miners quickly discovered they were going to have to explore deeper below the surface and began deep lead mining, sometimes quarrying up to 400 feet below the surface in their search for gold.
The most successful mines in the Ballarat West area were the Prince of Wales, Albion and Working Miners mines. As yields reduced, more and more mines were closed.
One of the final operations to close its doors was Winter’s Freehold in 1875. Some of the sites identified as part of the study still have mullock heaps and mine shafts visible; a rich example of the mining work that once happened there.
A number of these significant mining sites have been identified to be protected and interpreted as part of the new Ballarat West Growth Area to make sure their story can be told into the future.
Image supplied by the Jenkins family
Pictured is a young Arthur Jenkins in Albert St, Sebastopol, in the 1930s. The background is present day Kent Street.