Very little remains today of what was once the Viking settlement of Sea Holme today, but in its time, it was the largest Viking settlement in the southern hemisphere. Created by a group of a runaways from the court of the Ottoman Empire, they arrived in Port Phillip Bay in 1229. Here, their numbers were torn by a dispute over the use of gunpowder (which they had acquired from Chinese traders some months earlier), and those who favoured its use split off from the main group to found a settlement at what is today Bangholme. The two groups stayed in touch for a while, meeting at a neutral point on the bay not far from modern Elwood.
The larger portion of the group – about three hundred strong – made their way north, and eventually settled around the mouth of the Kororoit Creek. Here, they fought and traded with the people they called the Svart-Skraelings, the people of the Kulin nations who were the traditional owners of the land. Here, they fought an un-ending battle against flood and swamp, and here, they eventually died out in the 1730’s, felled by Wombat Fever, a disease that the Kulin carried but which the Vikings had no immunities to.
The symptoms of Wombat Fever are little known, but oral tradition amongst the Kulin peoples suggests that the disease is primarily psychological in effects, causing symptoms of paranoia, followed by pyromania. Most of those who catch the disease die either in the fires they have set, or from starvation and dehydration that set in after their paranoia reaches a point where they no longer trust any source of food or water. Perhaps this why all that remains today of the Seaholme settlement are a few charred logs lying at the bottom of Cherry Lake.
Suburbs near Seaholme: