|Captain's Flat is a sleepy
little village nestled on the Molonglo River, among
hills adjacent to the Jingera Mountains. There is some
dispute as to the exact origins of how the town got its
name. A Captain William Sawyer settled in the district
in 1833. It was believed that he received land as a
wedding gift from Governor Arthur (Tasmania) who had
been his wife's former employer, but it was subsequently
discovered that he in fact, only rented the land.
Furthermore, it transpired that he was not a captain at
all, but a private.
Some of the land was purchased by John Hosking which
was used as grazing for Foxlow Station. After
bankruptcy, he sold Foxlow Station to Thomas Rutledge of
Carwoola Station, in 1868. John Hosking was not a
captain, however a Captain Hosking did indeed settle in
Captain's Flat in the 1890's but by then, the town
already had its name. The next link to a captain came
with James Trevarthen. He fossicked the area prior to
the goldrush days in his capacity of mining supervisor
for a company at Currawang near Collector.
The strongest link to any particular captain, appears
to have been with the arrival in the Goulburn district
of one Francis Nicholas Rossi. He came to Australia in
1825 in the capacity of General Superintendant of
Convicts but had to surrender his land grants near
Goulburn as he was not of British origins. Rossi's son,
Count Francis Robert Louis Rossi was then given the land
by Governor Gipps. Perhaps the influence of the Rossi
captains and the close proximity of their lands gave
name to Captain's Flat, but it does seem unlikely.
The favoured story as to how Captain's Flat got its
name does not involve men at all, but rather a bullock.
Legend has it that nearby Foxlow Station owned a
gigantic white team bullock known as "Captain". Whenever
work was to be done he would invariably be hiding
somewhere, his favourite spot being a particular patch
of river flat. Drovers travelling through the valley
became so used to seeing "Captain" on his patch of grass
that they began calling the area Captain's Flat.
Apparently years later, the white bullock was found dead
on the very spot which is now the Captains Flat playing
field. Given the Australian bush psyche, by which men of
title were far less respected than fine beasts, this
last story does indeed seem to be the most plausible.
Perhaps, "Captain" looked
something like this.