Sebastian is a rural locality on the Bendigo to Swan Hill railway line, 22 km north of Bendigo and 7 km south of Raywood. It was named after Sebastian Schmidt, who discovered gold there in May 1863.

Sebastian was separated from Bendigo by about 14 km of countryside which was relatively empty of gold, but Sebastian marked the beginning of gold-bearing country which ran northwards to Raywood.

A particularly rich reef was found on land owned by High Glass. In 1864 a company built a twelve-head quartz battery for the mine which was named Frederick the Great. It operated until 1912, yielding 170,000 ounces of gold. Upwards of 400 workers were employed at the mine, and the Sebastian township had several hotels, two general stores, a public hall, Anglican and Methodist churches and a school (1872). The railway line through Sebastian was opened in 1882.

In 1903 Sebastian was described in the Australian handbook:

The closure of the mine depleted Sebastian’s population and brought a consequent decline in the township. In 1973 there were a hotel, post office/general store, Anglican church and the school. The Methodist church had closed and the school which had once had 200 pupils in the 1890s had about seven pupils. It was closed in 1993 and used as a community hall.

Sebastian has a recreation reserve, a reservoir and numerous old gold workings. The Frederick the Great mine site is at 624 Three Chain Road. The Whipstick forest is a short distance eastwards.

A long awaited water pipeline (2010-13) between Raywood and Sebastian improved the local water quality.

Sebastian’s census populations have been:

area census date population
Sebastian 1881 197
  1891 307
  1901 271
  1921 267
  1933 225
  1947 126
  1954 114
  1961 85
Sebastian and environs 2011 197

Further Reading

Marie Manning, Back to Raywood and district, April 7-8, 1973, Back-To Committee, 1973

William Perry, Tales of the Whipstick: a history of Neilborough, Sebastian, Raywood and Myers Creek gold rushes, Eaglehawk, 1975