Sunday, November 2, 2008

Codrington - where bushranging is honoured in a town that never was.

If you're tootling down the Princes Hwy to Portland you'll pass through an area called Codrington.
There are a few houses there, set well back from the road, but no bustling, busy service town.
Nothing but paddocks, trees, grass, cows, paddocks, more cows, and a few more trees.
After Port Fairy and Yambuk but before Portland.
Yes, that's the long stretch of countryside I mean!

Back in 1850 a chappie by the very high-falutin' sounding name of Codrington Revingstone took to bushranging.
It was a smart career choice as he was rather talented in this field and he also had the bottle for deering-do.
Codrington robbed the mail coach on June 29, 1850, but was quickly arrested.
(Don't fret, he was the one who got away).
While he was in police custody on board the ship "Cecelia" in Warrnambool Bay waiting to sail to Melbourne, a court trial and, inevitable, gaol, on August 10 Codrington did a successful bunk.
The policeman, Constable Hogan, did try to get some shots off at the departing bushranger but his powder was damp (I can't stand it when my powder gets damp) and Codrington made it to shore safely.
Barely 2 days later Codrington was up to his old tricks and robbed the mail coach again just near the scene of his first robbery. The bushranger was feeling quite chipper as he informed the mailman that all the constabulary were "a set of applewomen".
Not too sure what this means but I don't think it was meant to be complimentary.
Anyway, Codrington kept his head down and didn't get up to any mischief (or none that was attributable to him) unti his 3rd and final mail coach robbery in November.
Same area - which had gained the local name of Codrington's Forest by this time - same coach, same bushranger, same outcome.
And that's where Codrington Revingstone vanishes out of the history books.

Now, gallop forward 20 years and we find ourselves in the 1870's when a township was surveyed on the site of Codrington's Forest, and a proposed new road was to travel closer to the coast on it's way to Portland.
Liking the sound of the local name for the area it was officially adopted without checking it's origins.
Fortunately for the surveyors in the hot seat the road was built further inland and the township idea never took off, leaving Codrington the town that never was, named after the bushranger who vanished.


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