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SALA Festival at Sedan
Opening: 6.30PM Friday 1st August 2014.

An exhibition of re-imagining space and place, framed by the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges; fired by the creative energies of four local artists.

Sedan/Cambrai Football and Netball Results
For up to date information and results click here

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Sedan History

Sedan is a small town of about one hundred people situated 110km north east of Adelaide in the Murray Flats. It sits at the half way mark between the Barossa Valley and Swan Reach on the River Murray.

Prior to the 1860s the area was made up of various pastoral leases and several important stock routes crossed through. There was only a transient aboriginal population due to lack of permanent water, with hills and river tribes known to hunt in the area. The government resumed the leases in 1860 and proclaimed the Hundred of Bagot, helping alleviate the shortage of farming land in SA. The first sections were taken up by several families from Langmeil in the Barossa and they cleared the land and commenced farming. By 1870 there were numerous dwellings in the area. One farmer, J W Pfeiffer saw the potential where the stock routes met and had a section of his property sub divided for a town. He called it Sedan after a town in France in honor of the great Prussian (German) victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The battle of Sedan signaled the defeat of the French army and led to the fall of the French government. Mr Pfeiffer then helped numerous businesses get started over the next few years. One minor detail Mr Pfeiffer failed to consider was he situated the town in a natural depression, leading to periodical flooding of the town centre after heavy downpours, the most recent being in December 2010 and December 1992.

After the proclamation of the town, the area grew and by 1872 a Lutheran Church was formed, it still active in the community today. By 1900 there was some decline due to several dry years but the town still boasted a Lutheran Church and school, several general stores, a blacksmith, a flour mill, a hotel, a farm machinery factory, a post office, a wheelwright, a bank and a saddler.

The town experienced a mini revival with the arrival of the Railway line in 1919, Sedan being the terminus of the line. Other business in the town after this included a town hall, a bakery, a pool salon and betting shop, two more churches, a public school (the Lutheran School was forced to close in 1917 due to anti-German sentiment during WW1. This caused some problems as the Public school was only small and held in the Town hall. A school was hastily built for opening in 1918) a telephone exchange, a butcher, a barber, a police station, two garages, a stock agent, a lime kiln, a boarding house and a tea rooms.

A Recreation Park and Brass band were also formed, with a rotunda built at Sedan Park in 1935. The band was disbanded in 1954 but the Park was used for Football, Netball and Tennis until several years ago when water restrictions prevented watering the oval. It is still used regularly for community events.

Water had always been a problem in the town. In early years the locals had to go to Towitta springs at the base of Sedan Hill to get water in dry times. A hand operated wheel pumped water from the springs at a rate of one gallon per turn. During dry times a long queue would form of horses and carts waiting to get water. In the 1920s a local councilor arranged for a bore to be sunk near the hotel, thus alleviating the long drive to Towitta for water. The water was of poor quality (as is much of the ground water around Sedan) but was suitable for stock. It is interesting to note that the Towitta spring rang dry during the drought in the 2000ís. The hand pump that was used at the springs is on display at Towitta Park. Mains water finally came to the town in 1968 when the Swan Reach-Stockwell pipe line was built.

During the early years, the road to Sedan over the ranges from the Barossa followed several tracks carved out by early settlers, the most commonly used being Rothes Track. In 1876 the council received a grant to form this track into a road. During the following decades, the iconic stone walls were added to this road, giving the lovely vista still seen today. Up until the early 1980s, this remained a narrow, winding dirt road. Finally after 40 years of pressure, the state government gave funding to widen and seal this road, the last section being finished in 1986. Incidentally, all stone walls moved for this project had to be rebuilt nearby!

An EFS (later CFS) was formed in 1950. Sedan was connected to the electricity grid in 1956.

Local government began in Sedan in 1873 with the formation on the North Rhine Council. In 1918 this became D C of Keyneton and in 1933 the D C of Keyneton and Swan Reach. Due to the fact the office was in Sedan, this was changed in 1958 to the D C of Sedan. In 1976 amalgamation saw the formation of the D C of Ridley and the office moved to Cambrai. Further amalgamation in 1997 saw the formation of the Mid Murray Council.

During the years following the 1940s, the unpredictable climate for farming saw a gradual decline in the community. Businesses closed and finally in 1964 the railway closed. This line did open again in 1967 to bring materials for the building of the Swan Reach Stockwell pipeline. This also doubled the population for this period as the workers lived in Sedan.

By the 1970s the Police Station had closed, the Flour Mill closed, the Lime Kiln closed and many of the earlier businesses and services no longer existed.

In more recent years the town has also seen the closing of the last bank and the Sedan School, with children bussed to other schools.

The farming community has gradually grown smaller, with farms being absorbed by existing farmers as now much more land is required to make a living, the major focus being grain crops, sheep and piggeries. Many blocks out of town have been brought to be used as weekenders and many people living in the area commute to the Barossa or further for work.

Today, Sedan is a small quiet town at the crossroads of two major routes, the over dimension route that goes north south and the road running east west from the Barossa to Swan Reach. The local Hotel still provides a great service to locals and those passing through, as does Grieger's IGA Store. The post office and fuel station still provides service to the community. The Lutheran Church still has weekly services. The Sedan Hall and Sedan Recreation Park are used on a regular basis and there is still an active CFS.

Photos can be found in the gallery under the Historic Sedan section.