Sebastopol Hill

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Thomas Austin wrote letters to his mother Mrs Lillian Austin. They were found, unearthed from the attic of a cottage in Hadlow Down, Sussex, England. They were left there undisturbed for around 140 years. Austin left home at about 22 years of age, going to Scheneckady USA where he wrote the first of the extant letters dated 5 May 1850. Various letters were written from California before Austin arrived at Creswick Creek. Then he travelled to New England, New South Wales, in November 1853. After this the letters are posted from Geelong, Sebastopol Hill near Ballarat, and Creswick Creek.[1]

Austin first dug for gold at Golden Point in September 1851. His son William Alonzo was born at Magpie in 1856. [2]

Thomas Austin on 31 January 1853 wrote from Luther Creek, Calaveras County, Upper California and he included a small specimen of gold, saying that he 'will send a bigger pese [sic]" to his mother in the next letter. On 22 June (no date) he wrote from Seabastipole Sebastopol Hill, near Ballarat. He indicates in this letter that "I wrote to you from California [sic] and from Sidney Sydney and have not had any from you since I left the Missisippa [sic]". "William Alonzo Austin Melbourn [sic] Victoria That is my little son's name."


  1. Simon Wright, UK, Letters from Thomas Austin
  2. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.