A Brief History of the Sedgwick District

The content of this history was compiled by Gwen Shaw in 1992. Download a complete copy of the booklet “Reflections of the Past”   Download (3.6MB) >

When the first freehold land was granted in 1854, the area that is now Sedgwick was known as Upper Emu Creek. The Emu Creek rises in hills south of the district and runs into Axe Creek that in turn runs into the Campaspe River.

The earliest settlers known to hold leases in the area were named Howard, Simpson, Williams, Sallows, Carter, Osborne, Brennan, and Broadbent. In 1865, an acre of the land was reserved for a common school that was to be built by the local committee at a cost of 60 pounds. The unlined weatherboard, bark roofed structure housed 27 pupils whose education cost 1 Shilling per week. In 1868 the school was recognised by the Board of Education, and a year later there was a head teacher in residence in a bark hut on the property.

In 1901 the school name was changed to Sedgwick, in honour of the English Geologist, Adam Sedgwick. 1785-1873. The first School Committee was elected in 1911 under Richard B. Brennan, Chairman, and Albert Steen, correspondent. The first church in Upper Emu Creek was a Methodist one, built on Osborne’s property. Unfortunately this has fallen into disuse since the late 1920’s.

The only mine in the district, Great Eastern, gave its name to a hotel. Children from the mining families attended “Upper Axe Creek School.” The hotel, school, and mine are now gone. Creamery Hill was named for the local creamery.

Water was essential for an agricultural community. A channel runs from Malmsbury to Bendigo along the western boundary. At one point, the water cascades over rocks and “The Springs” was a favourite picnic area for the people from Bendigo and the district, in the days before motoring made longer journeys possible.

In Sedgwick, irrigation water from the channel, supplemented by private dams, supplied many acres for fruit and tomato growing. The earliest industry in the area was bark stripping. This was followed by successful plantings of vines and fruit trees.

At one time Sedgwick produced thousands of cases of apples and pears for export. The last vines in the area were destroyed in bush fires in 1924.For some growers, tomatoes took the place of fruit. Drechsler Bros. won first prize in America for tomato pulped by the White Crow Factory in nearby Bendigo. Cattle thrived in the area and the Young Bros. Jersey Cattle Stud was famous throughout Victoria. It closed down only recently. Since the introduction of electricity in 1952,the area has attracted a number of “Hobby” farmers to the community.

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