Less than 20 years ago there was not a house where now stands this wealthy mine and farm-girdled city, whose population is nearly equal to the united populations of Oxford and Cambridge, and exceeding by several thousands the united populations of the cities of Winchester, Canterbury, Salisbury, and Lichfield at the time of the gold discovery.
Down the valley of the Leigh, where the Sebastopol streets and fences run over the eastern escarpment of the table land, may still be seen the sandstone foundations of a station begun by the Messrs.
Yuille, whom the coming of the first hosts of gold-hunters scared away from a place no longer fit, in their opinion, for pastoral occupation.
Learmonth, Pettett, Waldie, Winter, Fisken, Coghill, and Bacchus; and the Rev.
Thomas Hastie is still living at the Manse at Buninyong.
Gold was found plentifully, and warehouse, hotel, and saloon crowded close with dwelling and church along the thoroughfare.
A summer flood surprised the dwellers on the lowland and carried off lives as well as property, mingling a tragic sorrow with the losses of the unsuccessful.
Like the trenches of an old battle-field, these works of the digging armies of the past are now grass-grown and spotted with wild flowers.
All around, the open lands of fifteen years ago are turned into streets and fields and gardens.
Time, less sudden than the midsummer freshet, but more sweeping, has cleared the ground of almost every vestige of the busy but fragile life of fifteen years ago.