Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. Take Seaford, for example. It literally got its name from being a shallow lagoon (at least at low tide) – shallow enough to wade across: a part of the sea that could be forded. In fact, it was the opening of a vast inlet that reached miles inland, primarily stretching to the north, and covering a wide range of land roughly centred on the current course of the Eastlink freeway, but curving back west into the area called by the Boonwurrung “the sea of waves.” This gently-curved crescent of sea water, so legend has it, was the traditional home of the bunyip, or possibly more than one bunyip – the vagaries of oral traditions and unreliable translations meaning that there is no definitive answer to the question of bunyip population size.
But the inlet slowly silted up over the years – a process that was only helped along by the deliberate in-filling that took place across the Kannanook Inlet, first to create a causeway for the road between Mentone and Mornington, and later to support the railway line between them. This created a stretch of land barely wider than a sandbar, but wide enough – silt began to pile up behind it, a pile only added to by the sand that washed and blew over it with each high tide. In fact, there are those who claim that parts of the inlet were filled in deliberately by farmers whose lands bordered it, as a cheap way of increasing the sizes of their properties (an endeavour that would, in time, result in the creation of hills where the inlet had previously been – but that’s another story). Although the process happened with unusual speed, in geological terms, it happened without loss of life. Or at least, of human life – if the bunyip dwelt in the inlet, it or they had died or departed by the time it was filled in.
And ironically, by the time that Seaford was actually a place that needed the name, it no longer qualified for it – it was no longer a ford of any sort.
Suburbs near Seaford: