Eureka 50, 1904

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Eureka Commemoration, 1904, Courtesy Ballarat Heritage Services
Edmund Mahoney and John Hanrahan were their blue 'Eureka Stockade' ribbon at the 50th anniversay of the Eureka Stockade Uprising, The Leader, 10 December 1904
Mrs Chapman, who spent her honeymoon in the Eureka Stockade, and attended the 50thanniversary of the Eureka Stockade. The Leader, 10 December 1904.
Eureka Stockade 50th anniversary Sports Committee. The Leader, 10 December 1904.
Eureka Veterans at the 50th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, James Lang (Bangerang), W. Hanrahan (Timor), William Braidi (Sebastopol), John Earles (Ballarat), Francis Ackroyd (Shepparton), Michael Carroll (Ballarat), J. Mitchell (Albert Park), W. Wiburd (Bathurst, NSW) The Leader, 10 December 2014

Newspaper Reports

Ballarat is all excitement celebrating the anniversary of Eureka (it being 50 years ago today since the miners took up arms and asserted their rights at the Stockade.[1]
Do you know...
That the 50th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade affair was celebrated on Saturday by a sports gathering, and concert, and on Sunday by a mass meeting at the Eureka monument?
That amongst the speeches were several State and Federal legislations and Dr Lalor, of Richmond, son of the late Mr Peter Lalor, the leader?
That altogether, 40 of those who fought in the stockade were present?
That the gathering included Mr Samuel Perry and Mr Charles Phillips (State School teachers)?[2]

The 50th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade riot was celebrated in Kalgoorlie to-day under the auspices of the A.N.A. A procession, led by the brass bands of Kalgoorlie and Boulder, and comprising a large number of people, marched to the recreation reserve, whose speeches appropriate to the occasion were delivered, interspersed with musical selections.[3]

A EUREKA STOCKADER.Mr J. A. Watts, herbalist, of this town, who was connected with the Eureka Stockade affair, has received a letter requesting his attendance at Ballarat on the 3rd prox., when the 50th anniversary of the incident will be celebrated.[4]

At the Stockade a crowd began to gather long before the hour when the proceedings were expected to commence. What little shelter there was was speedily taken advantage of, and the great majority of the people present had to walk about and try to think the weather was cool. Their task was a difficult one. By the time the procession arrived some thousands were on the ground. The space on the monument was all taken up, so that when the official progress reached that spot it had to halt, someone shouted an invitation to those above to come down and let the procession up, but there was no response those in possession meant to stay in possession. Col Williams in the background waving his staff appeared to be inciting his followers to the charge, but the march had apparently exhausted them. One veteran, indeed, held aloft a flag and dashed up the heights, but none dared follow him. At last a way was cleared and the fort was won. Mr W.D. M’Kee took charge and after a short delay opened the meeting, The veterans were accommodated with seats around the monolith. Mr McKee presided.
The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, on behalf of the committee thanked the Berringa and Creswick bands and the Smythesdale Fire Brigade for coming such a long distance to be present to commemorate the event of the day. Continuing he said there were many in this State who might differ with them in keeping up that event, but there was no one could deny that the miners on that occasion received the greatest provocation. (Hear, hear).
A Voice: What about my poor father?
Mr M’Kee: And they would have been less than men if they had not resented it in good British fashion. (Hear, hear.) There was one thing that resulted from that for the miners, and that was that the licenses, which were 30s and subsequently £1 per month, were reduced to £1 per annum, and every holder of a miner’s right was enfranchised in the future.
Voice: So he ought to be now.
Mr M’Kee: Mr Lalor and Mr J.B. Humffray were returned as the first members to represent Ballarat in the Council. That was before the creation of the Assembly. One had that kind of bull-dog courage, and that determination, that those who thought would receive their rights, the other, perhaps more effeminate, he would not say more clever, was a leader of the peace party, but it was very creditable to Ballarat that they honored both these men in sending them in as representatives without contest. Coming down to the present time, it was such we had made considerable progress.
Voice: Backward!
Mr M’Kee: It is in the hands of the people to do as they like. We have payment of members. The object of this payment was to enable those who had no means to absent themselves from their work to be selected if they were considered fit to represent the people. He hoped - he had no doubt - that when men came to celebrate the centenary of this event - there were many present who would not be present then - but he hoped that they would have representatives and citizens who would commemorate the centnary (sic) of Eureka Stockade. (Hear, hear.)
Mr Carpenter, M.P., of West Australia, thanked those responsible for calling that magnificent gathering for the honor done him in asking him there to say a word or two. Any man might be proud to take part in a celebration of that unique character, and he was particularly pleased that afternoon because he had to convey from the assemblage a message of sympathy to those who that day at that time were conducting a similar celebration in various parts of West Australia. Those who had been inclined to cavil at the promoters of that demonstration would, he thought, for ever hold their peace when they knew how heartily the matter had been taken up, not alone in Victoria, but in that far-off portion of Australia where their own kith and kin had gone by hundreds and thousands and had taken with them the same spirit that animated the men of Eureka 50 years ago. He spoke that day on behalf of those who would gladly have been there and taken part in the demonstration, but because they could not be there, and because they had felt something of the thrill that emanated from the Eureka Stockade, had taken upon themselves to celebrate in that distant part of Australia the great event that was being celebrated in Ballarat. Wherever the British race existed there was an innate love of liberty which refused, at any time to bow its neck to the tyrant’s yoke, whether it were the yoke of a foreign foe or the unfortunate lust of power which sometimes came from among our own people whenever power was held unchecked or unlimited. It stood to the credit of the race that they had always stood up in dogged determination at the expense, if necessary, of life itself, rather than have their God-given rights trampled upon by the tyrant’s heel. It was just that spirit which animated the men who on that spot 50 years ago stood up for what they conceived to be their inalienable rights. It was not that they were opposed to law and order, but they felt that those who represented law and order were abusing their powers, and it was well they took that stand. There were participating that day in a public and national gathering in the widest sense, and all they needed to say was the liberty and political freedom they enjoyed now all over Australia had come from the event which they now celebrated. The same spirit which animated John Hampden centuries ago, which nerved the arm of Cromwell, was the spirit which also nerved the arms of the diggers of Eureka, and all through that chain of circumstances they had been brought up to the present day when they enjoyed in Australia their full political liberties and rights. He wished to say how much he appreciated the action of the A.N.A. and kindred bodies who organised that demonstration and had sought in that way to beget and foster a national spirit among young Australia. He was sure all would strive to hand down to their successors the same rights unsullied and unchecked that were given to them. In conclusion, he conveyed to the gathering hearty congratulations from West Australia.
Mr H. Scott Bennett, M.L.A., who was received with applause, said the promoters of this celebration did well to come before that vast concourse of people without an apology for what happened 50 years ago. (Hear, hear.) There was no need to apologise for one action taken by the miners at the time of the Stockade. When despotism came armed to the teeth, the people had always the sovereign right to defend themselves in whatever manner they might see fit. (Hear, hear.) He rejoiced to see the thousands of people gathered round the monument to pay a tribute of homage and a tribute of respect to those who fell 50 years ago. It was a matter for congratulation we should have so many old veterans still hale and hearty still with us in heart and soul, and if need be to die for the people and the people’s rights. He rejoiced with all his heart in having the opportunity of saying a few words. He rejoiced, too, to see the enthusiasm that prevailed in the crowd, because it showed that here in this city of Ballarat the spirit that animated those who fell had by no means died out. It showed the people were always willing to come forward to celebrate such an action as this. For this was the real people’s day; it was the day when every man, woman, and child should join hands in hearty congratulation and pay tribute to those who still lived, and to raise our hats in solemn homage to those who now slept their last sleep, and who did something to preserve and defend the liberties of the Australian people. (Cheers).
Dr Lalor, the son of Peter Lalor, observed that he was not an orator, and he believed he had never attempted to make a speech before in his life; but he was the only relative of Peter Lalor there, otherwise he might ask somebody else to make a speech for him. He thought the best thing he could do was to give a few particulars of his father which might be unknown to some present. He was born in Queen’s County on the 5th February, 1827, the youngest and smallest of 18 children - 17 boys and one girl. He came to Australia in 1852 with his brother Richard, who went back about a month afterwards and became M.P. for Queen’s County. Peter Lalor had told the speaker that he was very proud of being called a miner, and said he would rather be called that than K.C.M.G. or any other title. He always said miners were the leaders of civilisation. Dr Lalor agreed with that. Take the Phoenecians, for example. With a population no bigger than that of an English county, they ruled the world at one time simply because they were miners. They went to Cornwall, where the best miners in the world come from, and got tin and lead. The Cornish were crossed with the Phoenicians, and he was sure were proud of it. It was Plutarch, he believed, who said wherever there was gold mines there was civilisation. He thanked the gathering in the name of his deceased father the reception given him.
Mr Crouch, M.P., said he was proud to be there to represent his father, who was there 52 years ago, and who was still alive and well. (Hear, hear.) One or two thoughts in coming through the crowd had struck him, and he was proud indeed to speak upon that occasion. That monument stood for revolt and discontent. He was proud indeed of the revolt and discontent that existed 50 years ago. (Hear, hear.) He wanted them to recognise that the time for revolt and discontent had not passed. (Hear, hear.) Revolt against commercial corruption, revolt against social functions, revolt against political cant. Discontent with all these things, and although it was no longer necessary for us to shed our blood in order to remedy these it had been possible by constitutional means - it remained for them to see that this revolt and discontent, this state of things should be abolished, and injustice found out (Hear, hear). When he came up the hill he saw an Australian flag, the ....... [5]

Eureka Veterans at the Eureka Monument, 1904. Courtesy Ballarat Heritage Services.
Probably never once before since the momentous fight of ‘54 had the full significance of the monument erected by the Victorian Government to commemorate the historic rising appealed so much to those present as it did yesterday. There they stood on the precise spot where, 50 years before, the plucky but indiscreet and indifferently-armed diggers made their last and most desperate resistance against the properly-armed and well-drilled forces despatched to rout them and give then their quietus. Looking around the crowd from the base of the monument one saw a sea of faces on all sides, some of tender years and aware of what had taken place in Ballarat 50 years before only by means of what they had been told by their elders; others who might have been born about the Stockade period, and fewer still of the rapidly-thinning band of pioneers who have seen the diggers’ village develop into one of the finest inland cities in the southern hemisphere. The congregation of so many Eureka veterans at the historic spot was in itself appropriately reminiscent of the rising and the stirring incident of that momentous occurrence must have been revived in their memories if only by reason of the very little altered appearance of the immediate surroundings. Probably many of the little hills and eminences of mullock which gave so many golden harvests looked almost exactly as they did half a century ago, when the place was active with the thousands of diggers who followed the common avocation. Looking to the west and lifting the gaze a little brought into view the prosperous city of Ballarat with its fine public buildings, its broad avenues and pretty gardens, with the picturesque Lake in the back-ground, all showing what striking changes had occurred during the roll of 50 years. Summed up, the scene at the Stockade was an impressive one and an uncommon one, inasmuch as it is unlikely that such another site will be presented for perhaps another 50 years, when the younger folk present today may have the privilege of participating in the centennial demonstration that will doubtless be arranged when the time comes. The crowd present was estimated to number several thousands. A large throng followed in the wake of the precisionists, and when the Stockade was reached there were some thousand or two people who had already “pegged out” a convenient spot to witness the unique proceedings about to commence.[6]


Mr James Oddie, who takes the keenest interest in everything concerning the meeting in celebration of the jubilee of this historical event, to be held in the Alfred Hall on Thursday evening. Admission is by a silver coin, which will entitle the first 1900 members of the audience to a 60 page booklet giving a history of the stockade. During the course of the evening the following resolutions will be submitted....[7]

Eureka Veterans at the Eureka Monument, 1904. Courtesy Ballarat Heritage Services.

Back Row - left to right: David Main (Morwell Area); Michael Carroll (Ballarat); Charles Trompf (Maryborough); _________ ; Menallick (Brunswick); W Braidi (Sebastopol); W. Hanrahan (Timor); ________ ; ________

2nd Back Row - left to right: ________ ; James Lang (Bangerong); E. O'Mahoney (Warragul); John North ?; A. 'Sandy' McLaren (Korumburra); ________ ; ________ ; ________ ; A. McNair (Brunswick)

3rd Back Row - left to right: ________; John Kemp (Morwell Area); ________ ; George Firmin (Morwell); ________ ; Isaac Haywood (Morwell Area); Robert Batty (Havelock); ________ ; ________

Front Row - left to right: ________ :James Wilburd (Bathurst, NSW); Laurence Holmes (Arawata); Michael Tuohy ; A Third (Bolamwel); ________

The following resolutions will be submitted to the 50th Historical Eureka Stockade Public MEETING on the 1st of December, at the Alfred Hall:-
1. That a fund be constituted at an early date for keeping in order in perpetuity the graves of the Stockaders who were slain on the 3rd of December, 1854.
2. I the opinion of this meeting the State Government would do an equitable, humane, and graceful deed by granting a pension to the aged widow of the late Mr J. W. Esmond, Victorian gold discoverer, who, with her daughter are worthy residents of the City of Ballaarat, and not in affluent circumstances. [[[James Esmond]]]
3. This meeting is of opinion that the current antiquated State system of police should be superseded by the modern British municipal system.
In 1854 as the territorial system, it controlled the collection of the gold licence at the point of the bayonet and was responsible for the murder of a number of innocent diggers by its officers.
The gift of a 60-page booklet, the history of the Stockade, to each donor of a silver coin is guaranteed to the number of 1900 and not beyond.
The press report of the 50th Gold Discovery Meeting was 2000 and the silver coin approximated. The capacity of the Alfred Hall is 3000. An early seat will assure a booklet, the cost of which represents more value than that of the popular silver coin.
James Oddie[8]

Mr. J. Oddie’s Eureka celebration meeting in the Alfred Hall last night was attended by a large audience, who for the most part listened attentively to the chairman and the five veterans who sat with him on the platform. There was another veteran in the hall who although flatteringly referred to as a good old Stockader who had been chained to another patriot, declined an invitation to come on the platform, and preferred to remain down below, where he enlivened the meeting with sundry interjections of a critical character, and with arguments with another member of the audience. When he was mentioned by name as being responsible for “kicking up all the row,” Mr. Oddie ingeniously suggested that two men should show him the way to the door, but no one volunteered. The veterans, who were seated in State on the platform, told a number of anecdotes of the old days, and of the events before and after the fight, but of the fight itself hardly a word was said. Mr. A. T. Arthur, from beyond Omeo, came on in his shirt sleeves, and delivered the most vigorous speech of the evening. He gave a very picturesque account of what happened to him after he got tired of eating salt beef and ploughing the ocean, and so ran away from a man-of-war and came to Ballarat. A number of resolutions were carried at the meeting, and a selection of lantern views were shown.
The Eureka Stockade Demonstration committee met last evening under the presidency of Mr W.D.M’Kee. The attendance of members was fair. Letters were received from the following pioneers, intimating their intention of being present at the celebrations:- Messrs S. Uridge, Brunswick; W. Hanrahan, Timor West; H. Levinson, St Kilda; J. Heywood, Morwell; A. Waddell, Talbot; J. Kemp, Morwell; D. Maine, Morwell; J. Adam, Deniliquin (N.S.W.), and L. C. Haines, Arawata, via Korumburra a letter was received from J. Ashburner, of Armidale, who stated that he was one of the men taken prisoner by the military and sentanced to a month’s imprisonment, another being the well-known Timothy Hayes. The writer further stated that he and Mr Alex. Sturrock, sen., treasurer of the Eight Hours’ Pioneers’ Society, and their wives would be present at the demonstration. It was decided to endeavour to arrange a social gathering at the close of the celebrations, so that the pioneers and survivors of the fight may indulge in reminiscences of that memorable occasion. It was intimated that the following bands would take part in the procession to the Stockade on Sunday: - Prout’s, Drum and Fife, Orphan Asylum, Creswick Jubilee, and Berringa. Arrangements were completed for the sports to-morrow. Several leading “peds” are competing in the various events, and 30 heats are to be run. The proceedings at the Alfred Hall in the evening will be unusually attractive, as a “Eureka diggers’ camp meeting” is to be held; the scene depicting the diggers at work amongst tents, windlasses, cradles, and other paraphernalia of the digging days. “Upwards of 70 rollicking fellows,” the promoters state, “will occupy the stage and make merry with song, jest, and dance.” The procession to the stockade on Sunday will leave the Galloway Monument at two o’clock.
The prize offered by the West Australian board of directors of the A.N.A. for the best essay on the Eureka Stockade has been awarded to Mr J. B. Castieau, of Melbourne. The judge (Mr Benj. Hoare), in announcing his award, wrote:- “The winner has written a really meritorious work. He has shown a fine appreciation of the value and proportion of subsidiary facts, and of the proper order of his matter. His language is clear, terse, and cirile. He is often elegant, always forcible, and I must say that a cause for which brave men risked life and liberty, and to which a million colonists gave their hearts as against a stupid and tyrannical bureaucracy, suffers nothing at his hands.”[9]

by William Bramwell Withers

The Jubilee Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade tragedy is over and gone, and one feels all the older for it. So many of one’s Australian and other memories antedate that episode in Australian history that the accumulated memories seem to weigh with oppressive force sometimes in the looking back upon the long trail of the years. And then there is a kind of melancholy monotone, after all, in the affair that is not relieved by the comical association of sporting events with the honors of the dead, nor by the apparent competition of celebrants on ?? days, nor by the resurrected echoes of tales told by old pioneers of many kinds, in all of which there seems to be nothing new, or nothing new of moment, ??? new were true. But the future in the Stockade business I had sighed over many years ago, when I had found witness after witness claiming to have some marvellous story to tell, and who had really nothing but “vain repetitions” to recite. or inane trivialities to offer of no interest or relevancy to the main issues involved. There was so much chaff with the grain of fact that the winnowing was wearisome in those long since dead years, and in perusing the reports of the jubilee and the tales of the pioneers, I am reminded of Graves in “Money,” and his satirical, blasé moan, “In my day I have seen already eighteen crises, six annihilations of agriculture and commerce, four overthrows of the church, and three last, final, awful and irremediable destructions of the entire constitution.” That there were Unpleasant competitions, and a somewhat dishevelled lack of dignity and preparedness in connection with the celebrations is regrettable, but in spite of all that was comical, even to the verge of the tragic, one has to look at the underlying motive of honor to what my friend John Lynch, now nearly a jubilee ago, too, called “the manes of the dead.” and. so looking, to respect the motive and regard the celebration under its benign light. But why was John Lynch absent from the gatherings, he whose relation to Lalor, and whose intelligent grasp of the whole episode made him really the most prominent of the survivors of the Stockade encounter? Let me express the hope that not sickness nor other regrettable hindrance kept him apart from the jubilee celebration.[10]

Eureka Veterans, 1904
(From the Stockade Jubilee Prize Essay in the Recent A.N.A. Competition.) by J. B. Castieau, Melbourne
"Remember the Sabbath Day (December 3 1854) to keep it holy."
Carboni Rafaello. (Raffaello Carboni)
Even before the discovery of Ballarat, practically the first Victorian goldfield which presented a new population problem to the authorities Governor La Trobe (Charles LaTrobe) realised that he must be prepared for extraordinary events. He therefore followed the policy of New South Wales, the first available, for he was not a man of nerve and bold initiative. A proclamation, asserting the right of the Crown to all gold found on common lands, was followed on the 18th August, 1851, by an announcement that, commencing from 1st September, persons would be authorised to dig for that gold if provided with a licence costing 30s. a month to keep alive.
These Acts of Administration, enforced as they were by the paraphernalia of armed police-aboriginals-sowed seeds of irritation at the very outset. An indignation meeting was held at which many references were made to Magna Charta, slavery, tyranny, and political rights. The language indicated not only intense irritation but also deep feeling. The outcome was a deputation to the Commissioners. These officers intimated that they had not made the law; they could not unmake it; but it was their sole duty to enforce it. So, with the shadow of the black troopers over them, the diggers grudgingly and somewhat shamefacedly complied with the obnoxious regulations.
By the time La Trobe met his first Legislative Council on 11th November, 1851 the goldfields all over Victoria had become so extensive as to make them the most pressing subject of legislative concern. The Governor announced to the Council that, although £14,000 had been collected in licence fees during two months, the Government expenses exceeded. that sum. In a word, from the administrative point of view, the fields were not worth their cost. The Council, mostly composed of squatters, had little sympathy with the diggers. It determined that the difficulty should not be met by an increased general tax — the only right way out of the difficulty — but that the diggers should themselves pay for what they cost. So the licence fee was doubled! And while taxation was thus made twice as great, the political representation of those who had to pay it remained at nothing. The Governor proclaimed this first product of a plutocratic Legislative Council in all its crass crudity. Once more the embers of revolt leapt into fiery life. Every goldfield became a Runnymede, where miners assailed the Government with rough-tongued eloquence and claimed the charter of their citizen rights. The tax was extended beyond the actual diggers to every individual who resided on a goldfield, store-keepers, and tradespeople of all kinds. Unkindly as this was taken, it yet contained the only elemental germ of equity in the incidence of the tax.
Taxation without Representation.
Had the same principle only been extended to "every" resident of "Victoria," the tax would not have become so pregnant with disaffection, although the real grievance — taxation without representation — would still have remained in the breasts of the miners. As it was, however, the extension of the licence system converted the non-diggers from being only interested sympathisers with the diggers into being fellow victims with them and, ultimately, comrades in arms. Meanwhile wholesale merchants in Melbourne made fortunes out of the goods they imported to the fields, and were not taxed at all on that account. Not only that, but, by reason of their wealth, some of them actually became members of the Council, and, quite characteristically of the Australian legislative plutocrat, helped to pile burdens on the diggers so that they might escape themselves.
The outbreak of indignation on the goldfields became so menacing that the tremulous La Trobe was driven to the extreme of counting his soldiers so as to reckon probable results in the event of a resort to arms.
Flood of Immigration
Meanwhile the fame of the Southern Eldorado had spread to England, Europe Asia, and America, and a flood of immigration tumbled upon Victoria. During 1852 the population was increased by 94,000 new arrivals. England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Continent, America, and China all contributed their racial ingredients to this cosmopolitan plum pudding. Melbourne grew rapidly and provincial towns sprang up in the vicinity of every field and seaport. Victoria simply buzzed with excitement, and it was a strange pandemonium in which prosperity, poverty, crime, political activity, and the earnest founding of social institutions by far-seeing private citizens proceeded in a wild whirl, the outcome of which no prophet could definitely predict. The gold-adventurers continued to be treated like aliens. They were not the least encouraged to become constituents of a happy community. On the contrary, they were thwarted. They could not obtain land; they were unrighteously taxed; and they were harassed by a deliberately obnoxious officialdom.
So the mining population on every field remained in a simmer of discontent, which was made the most of by those liberty-loving spirits fresh from the hot-beds of Chartism and Continental revolution. These sturdy pioneers had come to Australia for freedom, and they were naturally the first to murmur when they did not find it. To them it was more precious than gold and it is well that there was a little leaven like this "to leaven the whole lump."
Not a Mere Local Eruption.
While Ballarat was growing and Eureka waa in the womb of events, constant agitations were disturbing other fields. It is necessary to trace them in order from 1852, so that it may be properly appreciated that Eureka Stockade was not the climax of a mere local eruption, but of a widespread disaffection. The Commissioners got into the way of "digger hunts." The young bloods who officered the aboriginal troopers regarded these excursions as a sport only inferior in ferocity to the slave chases immortalised in Uncle Tom s Cabin." Mere cubs as they were, ignorant, vicious, and often corrupt, they took a fiendish joy in humiliating the miners, many of whom were infinitely their superiors. Their behaviour was astounding, and it is almost un-believable that the authorities allowed it. Far more incredible is it that the diggers were so patient under it.
In February, 1853 at the Ovens diggings, a constable, seeking to dislodge from a claim some unlicensed miners, shot one of them dead. Something like a riot was provoked, and one or two ob- noxious officials were roughly handled. But the trouble soon subsided. News of it, however, spread to all the fields, and intensified the irritation which existed.
In July there was a more serious demonstration against the authorities, this time at Castlemaine, A police sub-inspector burnt down the shanty of a man accused by an informer of sly-grog selling. The stores of two other people, supposed to be implicated, were also destroyed, A Baptist minister protested against this outrageous method of vindicating the law and was threatened with arrest. Public feeling grow to white heat, but there was no violence committed. A few inflammatory placards appeared, that was all. Finally the informer got five years for perjury. The brunt of the blame, somewhat unjustly, fell on La Trobe, and the general discontent became concentrated in a definite agitation against his administration and the licence system.
In August Bendigo became the centre of the main movement. Meetings were held in Melbourne and passed resolutions regretting the disaffection spreading against the Government and attributing it to the fact that the goldfields residents were denied their "political and social rights."
First Australian Flag.
Shortly after a riot occurred at Warranga, owing to the arrest and attempted rescue of miners who had no licences.
Next day [Bendigo] arose in picturesque and potent protest. A procession of 4,000 miners carrying a Union Jack, the Irish flag, the French tricolour, the German revolutionary barnier, the Stars and Stripes, and the diggers' own flag, the first flag of Australia — the Southern Cross in silver on a blue ground — marched to interview the Commissioner. He gave them no satisfaction, but he confidentially advised La Trobe that the full licence fee could never again be collected. The Governor was once more vacillating. He was conciliatory, but stated that he could not remit the fee until the Council authorised the act. In due course, the Legislative Council met and continued the tinkering policy. Then the tired legislators went to sleep again or turned to look after their wool gathering. Mean-while Governor La Trobe's resignation had been accepted, and in May, 1853, he departed for England, broken in spirit, but yet beloved by the people whom he had tried to govern.
Eureka Stockade.
Up to this stage the Government had utterly failed to mentally grasp the gravity of the situation, and to grapple with it either firmly or intelligently. On the other hand the diggers had borne injustice, persecution, and insult with mared self-restraint and commendable patience. while exhausting all peaceful and mild means and measures to obtain bare justice. There seemed nothing left but a resort to arms, and it is at this point that the narrative comes within the significant shadow of Eureka Stockade.
Arrival of Governor Hotham.
When Governor Hotham arrived in Victoria, on June 21, 1854, he received a welcome which testified to the loyal inclinations of the people, who wished to remain true subjects of the Queen, but oligarchical Government and abominable administration had bred and bred again all the elements of revolution. It is really not saying too much to state that the majority of the people were ripe and ready for Republicanism. The presence of soldiers in the maintenance of law and order amongst civilians, an element always objectionable to Britishers, had inspired ill-temper against the imperial idea. Then the Government was held very closely within limits by the leading strings of the Colonial Office. The Legislative Council was largely composed of nominees of the Governor, himself an Imperial nominee. Any change in this state, of affairs seemed desirable and all the more so as the petty annoyances of the goldfields officials became daily more unendurable. In such circumstances human nature turns to contrasts and extremes, Thus the idea of Republicanism was attractive and seriously entertained. The Governor soon visited Ballarat, now the headquarters of discontent and the new, spirit of Democracy.
The citizens, including the miners, gave the new Governor a hearty and most hospitable reception. Hotham inspired hope, but it was disappointed. It was soon seen that a change of Governor did not mean a change of advisers. The old policy of "laissez-faire" was pursued. Sir Charley conveyed to the Colonial Office his impressions of the goldfields population in three comprehensive terms:— "The mass of the diggers are true-hearted and loyal men, who, if well treated, may be depended upon; and all are interested in upholding law and order." Yet these very men continued to be not "well treated" ; and, moreover, they had awakened to a big sense of their citizen rights and political potentiality. The agitation continued against the license fee and the ob- noxious methods of enforcing its conditions. But Hotham gave no promise of immediate reform.
There were other pin-prick pests which kept the diggers in a state of irritable unrest. La Trobe had forbidden the sale of liquor on the goldfields. The result was sly-grog selling, accompanied by persecution of lawbreakers, who would not pay the price of police connivance. Then the Chinese question arose. An attempt was made to drive the Mongolians out of the diggings but authority, always thwarting the miners, sided with the Chinese, and the movement fiascoed. Finally came the vital influence which was to fan the smouldering fire of disaffection into furious flame—the arrest and sentence of three obviously innocent miners who were made the scapegoats by the police for the burning of the Eureka Hotel, whose landlord Bentley, was suspected of murdering Scobie, a newly- arrived Scotchman. A mass meeting of miners deputed George Black, editor of the "Digger's Advocate"; Thomas Kennedy, a Chartist Scotsman; and John B. Humffray, secretary of the Ballarat Reform League, to wait upon the Governor and demand the release of the prisoners. Hotham dismissed the deputation.
Licence Papers Destroyed.
The delegates were received on their return to Ballarat on Wednesday, 29th November, 1854 by a meeting of 10,000 indignant miners, gathered around a platform, above which floated the Australian flag, a Southern Cross in silver stars upon a sky-blue ground. Fiery speeches followed. It was resolved that all licences be burned, a resolution no sooner decreed than done. Fire sprang up all over the place and licences were tossed contemptuously into them. It was then agreed that if a single man were arrested for not having a licence, all should unite in his defence.
Next day the authorities, in retort, ordered a "digger hunt." Several were arrested for failing to produce their licences. This was the gage of battle, and the diggers immediately took it up. At 8 o'clock in the afternoon a meeting was held at Bakery Hill. The Australian flag was once more the rallying point. Peter Lalor, gun in hand, presided. He called upon the miners to arm and drill. A small army of 500 men immediately sprang into being. Later on all prepared to fight, bared their heads beneath the flag and took the following oath:
Unknown maker (Australia), The flag of the Southern Cross (Eureka Flag), 1854, wool, cotton.
Art Gallery of Ballarat Collection. Gift of the King family, 2001
"We Swear by the Southern Cross."
"We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.—Amen!" Squads of miners commenced to drill. The erection of the Stockade was started. That very night the palisaded enclosure was occupied by 800 men armed with guns pistols, and pikes.
A final effort was made to effect a peaceful settlement. A meeting was held and George Black and Carbino Rafaello (Raffaello Carboni)were appointed a deputation to wait on the officials. They were indignantly received by Commissioner Rede, who described their movement as "a strong democratic agitation by an armed mob."
This rebuff only increased the ardour with which the diggers prepared for resistance. The Stockade was strengthened; drill was pushed forward. Four hundred miners from Creswick came in to reinforce the Stockade garrison. But there were neither arms nor accommodation for neither and next day they went home.
On the other side Hotham had despatched a force of infantry, artillery, and marines from Melbourne.
On Saturday morning the Stockade was busy. There was much marching and counter-marching, but there was no plan of campaign. It looked as if no immediate danger need be apprehended, and many miners went home, not to return. During the middle of Saturday the Stockade was entirely deserted. But later on 200 Californians in uniform and armed with revolvers appeared in the enclosure. Soon the Stockade was again occupied by a fair force. As night wore on, however, only 150 determined fighters remained in the garrison.
Fall of the Stockade.
Captain Thomas, in command of the police and military camp, resolved to take advantage of the situation. He ordered an attack on the Stockade for 3 o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 3rd December. He led 276 men, military and police. They reached the Stockade as dawn was breaking. Alarm was given of their approach within 800 yards of the Stockade. The first shot was fired by the insurgents. It was answered with a volley. Then the fight began in deadly earnest. Lalor was conspicuously in command until picked off and wounded. Men fell on each side, some instantly killed. The end came in a bayonet charge. The diggers' defence was easily forced. Hand to hand fights took place, but, in ten minutes after the bugle call of "Charge!" had sounded, Eureka Stockade, the protest of a few brave spirits against a tyrannous authority, had fallen. The killed on both sides totalled 28, of whom 22 were diggers and 6 were soldiers.
Thus ended the Eureka Stockade. It had been a fizzle, yet had accomplished its big purpose. The persecution of diggers was at an end. The dawn of democracy had come with the first red streak of that Lord's Day sun upon the eastern sky, and the first crimson stain of blood spilt across the Stockade's palisades.
Significance of Events.
There was no malign motive underlying the maladministration which culminated in Eureka Stockade. There was no deliberate attempt by a few to make themselves a tyranny. The governing authorities were apathetic and aimless: not aggressive and self-seeking. In 1850 Victoria's population was 76,162, mostly pastoralists; in 1854 it was 812,307, mostly miners and tradesmen. But the system of government by the pastoralists for the pastoralists was not changed. It was pig-headedly persisted in. The aristocrats: refused to acknowledge that their aimable oligarchy had become impossible.
More Behind the Rebellion than the Gold Licence.
The gold licence became the battle cry of rebellion. But like the "lettre de cachet" of the French Revolution, ship money in King Charles's day, and the Tea Tax in America, there was very much more behind it. A Royal Commission, which sat immediately after the Stockade battle, reduced the causes of the trouble to three :—the violence with which the licence fee was collected, the locking up of the lands, and the deprivation of political rights from non-landholders.
It had never struck any person in power that big principles moved the miners. Yet it was often enough represented. The protest against taxation without representation was repeatedly made. But Chartism the bogey of the forties and the fifties, was suspected in the agitation and the dread of it seems to have paralysed the responsible powers. This, too, notwithstanding the fact that such reputable Melbourne citizens as Blair, O'Shanassy, Embling, Fawkner, McCulloch, and others supported the diggers. It will never cease to be a wonder and a regret that Victoria's Belshazzars not only had not a Daniel in their midst to decipher the writing on the wall, but were too blind to even see it. Revelation came when they tested their authority. No jury would convict a participant in the Eureka Calvary, and public opinion applauded every acquittal. There were to be no more martyrs.
The men of Eureka did not realise the full significance of the events in which they moved. So strong were they in sentiment, earnestness, enthusiasm, and in their thousands that they might have achieved a far advanced Democracy, which might have saved much of the weary work, worry, and wordy warfare of the ensuing fifty years, but the province of Eureka was but to install Democracy in the miner's cradle; not to present it to Australia in all the dignity and virility of complete development.
Summing up of Events.
Eureka produced no heroes. It was hardly an occasion for them. Names of men might, however, be recalled and recorded for the brand of infamy and shame. But they are best buried in oblivion. They were the goads who stung men of passion into action. They caused the sturdier spirits to break down the long-suffering patience which might have nursed wrong until it fathered an infinitely worse tragedy than that which was precipitated. For Eureka was precipitated. It is well it was. Had it not been, many a secret and foul crime might have prefaced the outbreak which was bound to be. The obstinate stupidity of the authorities gave no hope. Real obstinate stupidity will always stand as sufficient justification for Eureka Stockade.
There was never a revolution carried out in a more rational fashion. Just enough was done to carry conviction. It may truthfully be said that there was no desire for bloodshed on either side. But it seemed that obfuscated Bumbledom required a splash of blood to remind it that there was such a thing as life. It became imperative that the mental darkness of officialdom should be luridly illumined by a blood-letting of the oppressed. It had been too amply proved that nothing less would suffice.
If Eureka had no heroes it did not lack characters. Peter Lalor, who lived to be Speaker of Victoria's Legislative Assembly and to refuse knighthood was a man of such sterling merit that he could distinguish between heroism and heroics. He was a grim, determined leader, but with a sense of humour which saved him from the melodramatic. The most honorable badge he carried through life was that strangely dignified empty sleeve of his grey coat which told eloquently of the arm he lost at Eureka. Then there were Vern, Raffaello, Black, and one or two more, all conspicuous. And there were the dead. But no hero, absolutely none.
Finger-post of Australian Democracy.
Yet, without its hero, Eureka Stockade stands as the finger-post of Democracy in Australia. It was positively the first self-assertion of Australians to be treated as free-born citizens — subjects of Great Britain for preference, perhaps, but free- born citizens in spite of sentiment, prejudice, selfish interest, or any other poetical or sordid consideration. Eureka was much more that cannot be easily defined. It decided a community's point of view. The years immediately following it were filled with a splendid spirit of political aspiration and achievement in which the names of George Higinbotham and Graham Berry stand out amongst a phalanx of fighters for freedom and democratic ideals. Much that came might eventually have come. But had it not been for Eureka it would not have come so soon.
Australia can honestly and proudly cherish a sober and a noble memory of Eureka Stockade. It was a happening which proved that her pioneers of Liberty had patience under oppression, pluck under arms, and reasonableness in all things. Many a monument has been raised in Australia to infinitely inferior subjects. The monument worthy of Eureka has never yet been erected. Sculptured marble or brazen records of names are paltry compared with the exent. But, notwithstanding Eureka is immortalised in an eternally endurable medium — the heritage of Democracy and the blood which beats in Australian hearts, and will be transmitted to Australian posterity from generation to generation. The men who died for Democracy at Eureka did not die in vain.
"Full of a fever of fighting fervour
They fell upon the foe,
And with never a quiver of nerve, or A falter or fear of woe.
For they fought for Freedom, and fighting fell.
And their tally of fame old Time will tell !" [11]

One of the attractions of the Eureka Stockade jubilee celebrations on Saturday will be the concert in the Alfred Hall at night, when memories of the old digging days are to be revived by a digger’s camp meeting. The stage is to be set out as nearly like that of the Eureka camp as possible - one of the survivors has assisted Mr Spielvogel in this matter - and, to quote the programme, “amongst tents, windlasses, cradles, and other diggers’ paraphernalia upwards of 70 rollicking fellows will occupy the stage and make merry with song, jest and dance.” They will be called on by their camp nicknames, and the programme will in every way be illustrative of the Ballarat diggings in the early fifties. The second part of the programme will be of the ordinary concert type, and contains the names of well known amateurs.[12]

When the Eureka Stockade and the old digging days are mentioned in Ballarat, one seems instinctively to think of Mr James Oddie, who not only played his part in those stirring times, but whose public-spirited conduct ever since has kept him prominently before the notice of his fellow-citizens. Mr Oddie has strong views as to the injustice with which the diggers were treated, and the importance of the stand they made for liberty. Some time before the 50th anniversary of the fight at the Stockade approached, he endeavoured to rouse people to the significance of that event, and to get them to celebrate it in a fitting manner, and pursuing this object with his accustomed energy, he called a public meeting in the Alfred Hall last night. A silver coin was charged for entrance, but each of the audience was presented with a little book containing an interesting account of the life of Peter Lalor, and a history of the Eureka Stockade. There was a very large attendance. Seats on the platform were occupied by five veterans of the fight. Messrs G. Hartley (Mount Egerton), John Manning, T. Marks, M. Carroll, and A. T. Arthur. Mr Arthur had come from somewhere beyond Omeo to be present.
James Oddie, University of Ballarat Historical Collection.
After a few selections on a gramaphone (sic) in charge of Mr B. Humphreys.
Mr Oddie addressed the audience, and explained that when lecturing last year, he stated it was his intention to call a meeting in June to prepare an entertainment for the 3rd of December. Another party started in April, and seeing another movement was going on, he thought it better to carry out this on his own account. He was one of the pioneer diggers of 1851, and knew from the inception the institution of law upon the goldfields. Golden Point diggings were started on 1st September, 1851, and Government officials did not appear till 19th September. On 20th September, they issued the first licence. Two commissioners, Doveton and Armstrong, came with 15 black troopers as caretakers of the diggers. Trouble arose over the collection of licences, and a deputation of which he (Mr Oddie) was one, waited upon one of the commissioners to urge that it had been promised no fees should be collected for two months. The deputation were (sic) soon cut short, and from then to the Stockade the trouble came on by degrees. As the audience knew, the licences were collected at the point of the bayonet, and the diggers who had none to show were taken to the logs. It was not possible for people now to realise the conditions that prevailed. Life was not worth living. The only wonder was that the riots did not come sooner. Men who were present in those times were on the platform, among them Mr Hartley, from Mount Egerton, the poet of the Stockade, and he asked Mr Hartley to step forward and recite his poem, “The Eureka Stockade.”
Mr G. Hartley recited the poem, which was one of his own compositions.
Mr Michael Carroll, the son of the man who took Peter Lalor to Geelong after the Stockade, and who helped in the undertaking himself, then described his experiences. They took Lalor, he said, to Father Smythe’s (sic) presbytery, where his arm was amputated. They had a very difficult task to get him away. They left Ballarat on a Sunday morning, and travelled through the bush, principally at night time, getting to Geelong on the third day. Lalor waited there until the State trials were over and the reward for his apprehension withdrawn, and then he came out and wrote some pretty strong letters to the press. There was a certain individual in Ballarat who said he took Lalor to Geelong, but he had nothing to do with it, and the facts just mentioned could be proved. He moved - “That a fund be constituted at an early date for keeping in order in perpetuity the graves of the Stockaders who were slain on the 3rd of December, 1854.”
Mr G. Hartley seconded the motion.
Mr Oddie observed that he proposed setting in motion a movement to provide a fund to keep the graves in order as long as they existed. He suggested that £100 should be raised and invested in Government stock, which was more or less of a perpetuity.
The motion was put, and carried unanimously.
Mr John Manning, an old Stockader, said that the deaths of those killed at Eureka were due to bad law. The diggers were hunted by the police. There were about 780 men on the Eureka field, and to his own knowledge half of them were not getting anything, yet they had to pay a heavy licence fee. They could stand it no longer, and took up arms. He gave at considerable length his recollection of the times when the diggers were drilling and preparing for the fight, and described what led up to the burning of Bentley’s hotel. In conclusion he repeated that the trouble was all due to bad laws. He had every sympathy with the young natives, and he wished the nation well. He moved -- “That in the opinion of this meeting the State Government would do an equitable, humane, and graceful deed by granting a pension to the aged widow of the late Mr J. W. Esmond. Victorian gold discoverer, who, with her daughter, are both residents of the city of Ballarat, and are not in affluent circumstances.”
Mr A. T. Arthur, who said he came 400 miles to be present, seconded the motion. He had been, he said, on a man-of-war, but thought he would like something better than salt beef, so he ran away, and came to Eureka in 1853. He had not been on the diggings a week when the “traps” came round. A man who would not be kept on board a ship to grease the masts demanded his licence. He said he had none, and then an argument ensued, and he was arrested. He saw an Irishman tied to a stump, with a bag thrown over him to keep the sun off, and all for nothing more than giving three cheers for Dan O’Connell and three groans for the Government. (Laughter.) Mr Arthur added that he still had the rose that was put on his breast at the Stockade by Donovan to fight for Ballarat. (Hear, hear.)
Mr Oddie supported the motion, and urged that the granting of a pension to Mrs Esmond would be a very gracious and acceptable act. He had a letter from Mr Hitchcock, of Geelong, enclosing £5 from his brother, in London, towards any fund established for the celebration of that anniversary. He (Mr Oddie) had no use for the money, and proposed to hand it over to the jubilee celebration committee. He moved -- “That this meeting is of opinion that the current antiquated State system of police should be superseded by a modern British municipal system.”
At this stage Mr Oddie noticed Mr G. Goddard in the audience, and asked him to come forward. Mr Goddard, he said, had told him he was in the Stockade and was afterwards chained to Timothy Hayes. He was a real Stockader, and ought to be on the platform. Mr Goddard stood forth for a while, but did not accept the invitation.
Mr Oddie (continuing) argued in favor of the change in police organisation in the direction indicated in the resolution.
Mr M. Carroll seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
Mr T. Marks said he took a very active part in trying to bring to trial the man who murdered Scobie, and Mr Thomas Wanliss worked like a Trojan for the same end. Mr Marks described in detail the incidents relating to the efforts to bring Bentley to justice. The Stockade was a brutal affair, and it could be proved that the men who took no part in it at all were shot. The speaker was in a very reminiscent mood, especially as far as the trial of the rioters was concerned. Mr Marks said he had been employed by Peter Lalor, and had received many a bright sovereign from him, and lately his son Dr Lalor, in giving him a present had said to him, “Tommy, my father often used to talk of you.”
After the speeches a number of lantern views illustrative of the great event now being celebrated were shown, and these brought the programme to a close.[13]

There was a pathetic interest attached to the gathering at the Alfred Hall last night of the veterans of the Eureka Stockade, when a public meeting arranged by Mr James Oddie was held to celebrate the anniversary of the fight at Eureka.
The audience was not a very large one. It consisted mainly of the old folks, and though all could not claim to have taken part in the historic battle, there were those there who did. On the platform there were assembled a little group of veterans, who wore on their arms a badge, denoting that they had fought within the stockade, and they chatted together, while the audience assembled, and exchanged experiences, or renewed old acquaintances, and revived the life of the early days. The veterans were very diverse in their characteristics. Some were tough, wirey men, knarled (sic) and brown, who looked good enough for another forty years, while others were bent and feeble, and it was only when the stirring tale of the stockade opened out before them that the old light came back into their eyes, and their minds went back to the time when, as young, fiery, and impetuous men, they rallied around Peter Lalor, and took the stand against the powers that were, that secured the abolition of the diggers' license. Some of the veterans had come long distances to attend the meeting: one old digger, as vigorous and alert as when he helped to build the stockade, having travelled four hundred miles, from the Snowy River, for the express purpose of meeting the remnant of the old friends who had gathered on the Eureka to "see it out."
The veterans were heartily cheered as each finished his short experience, and they were evidently as proud of the part they were now taking in the meeting as of the part they had taken in the greater meetings of '54.
The audience, as they entered the hall, were presented with a neat booklet, describing the life of Peter Lalor.
Mr James Oddie, who presided over the gathering, explained that it had been the intention that the late Cr Murray (sic) should take the chair, but unfortunately death had claimed that gentleman. A difficulty had arisen, owing to there being two movements. When lecturing a year ago, he had stated his intention of calling a meeting to organise this gathering, but a second party stepped in, and decided to run another show. He was not sorry, and he hoped that it would realise £500 for the charities. He was one of the pioneers who had been on the diggings in '51. The diggings were not then controlled by the government. That came on the 19th December, and the licenses were first issued on the 21st. Two commissioners came - Messrs Doveton and Armstrong- and a deputation of two diggers, of which he was one, waited on them, to ask that the licenses be remitted. They were told if they did not pay the license, they would soon be made to. Then the government began to enforce the license at the point of the bayonet. He remembered at one time that 30 diggers were locked up at "the logs," and so it went on until the stockade evolved. Life then was made so hard that it was not worth living. The present generation could not understand it, but those who lived in those days wondered that the fight was not precipitated before. There were a few of the old stockaders there that night, and he would call on some of them to give their experiences. Mr George Hartley, of Mt Egerton, was the poet of the Stockade, and he would give his experience.
Mr Hartley, a veteran digger, came forward, and recitated a lengthy poem, describing the Eureka fight and the causes that led up to it.
Mr M. Carroll, the son of the man who took Peter Lalor down to Geelong, described how Lalor was taken to Father Smyth's presbytery, where his arm was amputated. A certain man in Ballarat had claimed that he had escorted Peter Lalor to Geelong, but such was not the case. It was desired that the graves of those brave men who had fallen in the fight should be kept in proper order, and he had much pleasure in moving:- "That a fund be constituted at an early date for keeping in order in perpetuity the graves of the stockaders who were slain on the 3rd of December, 1854."
Mr G. Hartley seconded the resolution, which was carried. Mr. Oddie explained that what he wished to do was to raise a fund of £100, to be invested in Government stock, and the interest thereon would suffice to maintain the graves as they should be kept.
Mr John Manning, another stockader, next spoke, stating that the men who died there had lost their lives because of bad law. The diggers had worked in the face of immense difficulties, until at last they flew to arms. Mr Lalor had on the Friday night before the day of the battle about 1100 men under him. A rumour was circulated that 500 soldiers with five guns were on their way to Ballarat, and a number of diggers went out to meet them. Mr Manning described the burning of the miners' right, and the building of the stockade. He moved- "That in the opinion of this meeting the state government would an equitable, humane, and graceful deed by granting a pension to the aged widow of the late Mr. J.W. Esmond, Victorian gold discoverer, who, with her daughter, now resides in the city of Ballarat, and they are not in affluent circumstances."
Mr. A.T. Arthur, who seconded the motion said he had come 400 miles to attend this function. His mother and sister were living on the Eureka at the time of the fight. He had not been on the diggings a week before a "slovenly looking trap" came along and demanded his license, and as he had not got it he was arrested. When he got to "the logs" he found an Irishman tied to a stump just for giving three cheers for Daniel O'Connell and five groans for the government. He stuck to the Eureka and saw it through. The resolution was carried with applause.
The chairman said if any man did well to his country it was Esmond, the man who found gold, and it would be a grand thing if a fund were established to keep his aged widow in comfort to the end of her life. This morning he had received a letter from Geelong from the brother of one of the oldest diggers of Victoria (Mr W. Hitchcock), enclosing £5 towards the jubilee funds, which he proposed to hand over to the jubilee committee.
At this stage a slight diversion was caused by the interjections of another aged stockader in the audience, which became so insistent that the chairman, who was endeavouring to move another resolution, found it difficult to go on. Eventually, however, the chairman moved the resolution, as follows:- "This meeting is of opinion that the current antiquated State system of police should be superseded by a modern British municipal system." He proceeded to explain what the resolution meant, when the stockader in the hall point blank contradicted him.
The chairman remarked that the interjector was in the stockade at the time of the fight and was afterwards chained to another man - Timothy Hayes- and he should be on the platform. Mr M. Carroll seconded the resolution, which was carried.
Mr. Marks then addressed the audience, stating that he took an active part in trying to bring to justice the man who murdered Scobie, and he helped to bury the murdered man. He described the burning of Bentley's hotel and the events leading up to the Eureka fight. Mr Marks proved himself the most eloquent of the speakers, and he described in much detail the State trial of the prisoners taken at the stockade. In the midst of this the vetran (sic) interjector rose and made his way ostentatiously to the back of the hall. Mr. Marks stated that he was a close friend of Peter Lalor and was proud of the friendship of such man.

This closed the addresses and after some praphophone selections and a "divertisement" by the vetrean (sic) interjector a splendid series of pictures, of the pioneer gold discoveries and also some early pictures of Ballarat, showing the site of the first discovery of gold were thrown upon the screen. Mr Oddie, as the pictures passed before the audience, gave some interesting details, which were warmly appreciated.

The meeting then closed.[14]

Eureka Re-enactment, Ballarat Historical Society
Eureka Re-enactment, Ballarat Historical Society
Ballarat, Thursday
The celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most exciting incidents in the history of Victoria, the fight between the diggers and the Government troops at the Eureka Stockade, is to be commenced here this evening, when a public meeting will be held in the Alfred Hall.
The meeting has been convened by Mr James Oddie, who was the first Chairman of the municipality of Ballarat.
Resolutions will be submitted providing for the maintaining in order of the graves in the local cemetery of the diggers who were killed in the fight; affirming the desirability of the Government granting a pension to the widow of James Esmond, one of the captains under the late Peter Lalor, and one of the first discoverers of gold in Victoria; and in favor of the abolition of the present police system with a view of establishing the British municipal system.
Efforts have been made to trace all the surviving diggers who took part in the conflict, and several of them, from different parts of the Commonwealth, will address the meeting.
The celebration will be continued on Saturday next, when a sports gathering will be held on the Eastern Oval, followed in the evening by a diggers’ camp fire concert.
On Sunday the celebration will be brought to a conclusion by the holding of a big demonstration at the site of the Eureka Stockade. The demonstration will be preceded by a monster procession.[15]

One of the Eureka rioters, Mr Main, of Boolarra, has been granted a free pass to travel to Ballarat, to be at the jubilee of that riot. Main claims to have assisted Peter Lalor to bind his :broken arm.[16]

Recently Mr Bent, as Minister of Railways, promised a free pass to all survivors of the Eureka Stockade in order to permit them to attend the anniversary celebration at Ballarat on 3rd December. To-day Mr Bent received an application, the writer of which was an eye witness of some of the stirring incidents of that sensational episode in the history of Victoria. He was, he says, living with his mother very close to the slab enclosure raised by the diggers and came near being shot. His brother, who died two years ago, received two bayonet wounds to the shoulder. The writer helped to catch the horse of the Rev. Father Smith [sic], who went to Mr Peter Lalor’s assistance when he was wounded. The pass has been granted.[17]

To the Editor of the “Courier”
Sir,- The Government are issuing free railway passes to people who were at the Eureka Stockade so that they may attend the forthcoming celebration. This is a proper thing, and they might, too, also give poor old men and women free passes to ride on the railway where they like in the State after attaining the age of 70 years. - Yours, etc,

On Saturday evening the Eureka anniversary celebrations were continued by a concert in the Alfred Hall. There was a fair attendance. The chief feature of the programme was the realistic diggers’ camp, a representation on the stage of an old-time camp meeting among the tents, windlasses, &c. A number of “diggers” in orthodox costume took part in this distinctly novel item. Mr Fred. Spielvogel, stage manager, was captain of the camp, and under his direction a selection of songs, dances, and recitals was given by Messrs Kennedy, Smith, Hore, Clift, Eurey, Finch, Higgens, Dorter, Rogers, Nankervis, Hoskin, Kearney, Walsh, Callinan, O’Grady, M’Kissock, Nicholson, Bennett, Warne, Troup, Whidburn (2) and Fred. Spielvogel. Other items in the programme included - Overture, “The goldfields,” and selection, by the Cremona Orchestral Society, under the direction of Mrs C. Dorter; character sketch, “The Eureka Stockade,” by Mr A.N. M’Kissock; solo by Mr R. Bennett; Highland fling by Mr. B. Matthews; “Comicalities,” by Mr W. Nankervis; cutlass drill, by the Ballarat North Naval Brigade (Mr J.J. Kellett, instructionor); duet. “The dolls,” by Misses Hanrahan and Brooks; descriptive scena, “ Masks and faces,” by Mr F. Spielvogel; coon specialty, by Miss Vera Doyle; sketch, “The Two Tramps,” by Messrs B. Kearney and B. Hoskins; double sailor’s hornpipe, by the Misses L. And E. Boggins; solo, by Mr P. Rogers; and comedietta, “The Irish substitute,” by Misses L. and E. Boggins and Messrs J. Morrisey, F.J. Spielvogel, W. Nankervis, C. Dorter, R. Wilson, and Fitzpatrick; concluding with an Irish reel by the company. The piano used for the concert was lent by the Beale Australian Piano Company.[19]

Rival poets put in an appearance at the Eureka Stockade anniversary meeting last night. Mr George Hartley one of the men who fought with Peter Lalor in the stockade, wrote some verses, entitled “The Eureka Stockade,” which he recited to the audience at the Alfred Hall. He had hardly concluded when there came forward a local versifer, known as “Vancouver,” who, with much ostentation, presented to the chairman a sheet of paper containing another poem, presumably on the same subject. The chairman, however, declined to recognise the new aspirant for the poet-laureateship of the stockade and the disappointed poet placed his production on the platform, and turned away with a strongly-expressed disgust in his comments in chairmen in general and this one in particular. Later on “Vancouver” made another effort to attract the attention of the chairman to his poem without avail and the effort, so far as that meeting was concerned, was born to blush unseen.[20]

EUREKA STOCKADE. JUBILEE CELEBRATION. PROCESSION AND SPEECHES. A LARGE GATHERING. The fiftieth anniversary of the Eureka stockade was celebrated yesterday, and the enthusiasm and enterprise of the promoters could have received no better reward than the large crowd which yesterday watched the proceedings. Since the movement for the jubilee celebration was first mentioned, the events of fifty years ago at Ballarat have been canvassed in the columns of the Press and at numerous meetings. Historical accounts have been published of the stockade, the name given to the enclosure formed by the diggers when, resenting the increased tax demanded as a mining licence and the vexatious methods resorted to for its-collection, they resolved upon armed resistance. It was on December 3, 1854, that the stockade was taken by storm by Capt. Thomas. of the 40th Regiment. Full publicity has been thrown on the events before and after the fight at the stockade, by the discussion in the Press evoked by the movement which culminated in yesterday's demonstration. The celebration took the form of a procession and mass meeting on the Esplanade. The procession was formed in James street, marching from thence to the Esplanade, along the northern side of which flags and bunting were flying. The weather was excellent, the breeze which raised the dust in the streets having no such disagreeable result in the Esplanade. The meetings on the Esplanade were addressed from two platforms, round each of which several thousand people had gathered, it being estimated that there were altogether from five to six thousand people present.
THE PROCESSION. In the procession the members of the celebration committee, the A.N.A., labour unions, and friendly and benefit societies of Perth and Fremantle took part. The procession was formed up in James-street, in the vicinity of the Public Library, and moved off at a few minutes before 3 o'clock. A very large number of persons witnessed the preparations made to marshal the participants, and the streets along which the procession passed were crowded. The post of honour was given to the survivors of the Stockade, of whom 14 were present. The veterans, who looked hale and hearty, and appeared to be proud of the distinction conferred upon them, were accommodated in a drag, drawn by four handsome bay horses. Then followed a lorry, on which was erected a miniature stockade, from behind whose shelter several men, attired as diggers and armed with obsolete firearms, occasionally, in dumb show, took sighting shots at the crowd. Attached to the sides of the lorry were pieces of calico, on which were painted the following inscriptions :-"Australians gratefully remember Eureka" and "The A.N.A. honours the heroes of 1854." In the rear of this again were members of the trades and labour unions, friendly societies in their regalia, and several lorries carrying banners. On one 'of these vehicles a number of men were engaged at work illustrative of the methods adopted to win gold from the earth. Some exceedingly handsome banners were carried, and these added not a little to the picturesqueness of the scene. The two which attracted general notice were those of the Fremantle Lumpers' Union and the H.A.C.B.S. Five bands played inspiriting music at intervals during the progress of the procession. The line of march was thronged with spectators, and the survivors were frequently cheered during the course of their march through the city. The police had but little to do in the way of securing an unimpeded course for the procession, the people being orderly and well-behaved. The arrangements connected with the spectacular portion of the proceedings were admirably carried out. and no hitch of any kind cccurred. The procession, regarded as a pageant, was very creditable to the organisers. After marching along the principal thorough fares the procession reached the Esplanade, where speeches were made. A number of gentlemen, armed with money-boxes, took up a collection to defray the expenses of the celebrations, and in aid of the charities, but the result of their efforts was not available last night.
THE SURVIVORS. Following are the names of and a few interesting details concerning the survivors who took part in the procession : H. de Longville (took an active part in the reform movement, on sentry duty in the Stockade and on the approach of the troops gave the first alarm to Peter Lalor): Lieutenant Kossack (a captain in the Hungarian Army, led the left flank of the police against the stockaders, and was one of the few officials in sympathy with the miners): Chris. Christesen (a member of the Ballarat Reform League,present from the firing of the first shot until the fall of the Stockade, succeeded in evading the troops); W. G. Holmes (in the Stockade during the fight, and saw his brother fall dead in front of him); William Atherden (in the Stockade, and was taken prisoner); Duncan Clark (a member of Ross's corps. out scouting, but returned in time to assist to carry Ross, who was wounded to Irwin's Star Hotel); Montague Miller (as a boy reached the Stockade after the soldiers had retired, and assisted the wounded and to bury the dead): Arthur Curnick (worked as a boy in the blacksmith's shop in which the stockaders' pikes were forged, father and brother in the Stockade); James Madden (as a lad was present on the fateful morning with his father, who was on duty): John Williams (a member of the Reform League, present at the monster meeting, when the licences were burned): W. R. Taylor (a prominent Chartist in the ranks of the Bendigo Reform League): John Hall (as a lad was present at the site on the morning of the affray: John Greenwell (when a boy was present at the meeting which preceded the tragic conclusion of the reform movement): and Matthew McCormick (present at the Stockade at the close of the fight). ... [21]


On December 3 the fiftieth anniversary of the Eureka Stockade fight was celebrated at Ballarat. On December 3, 1854, the diggers, incensed at the harsh and highhanded manner in which the authorities enforced the collection of the License Tax, were driven to armed resistance. The license tax was 30/- per month, and the digger was required to produce it when called upon by the public officials. "Digger hunts" by mounted troopers were of frequent occurrence, and all those found without a license were handcuffed and marched off to "the logs," as the local gaol, a mere log hut, was called. Reform meetings and public agitations, prior to the Stockade fight, had been held on Ballarat and other mining fields, to protest against the severity of the license fee and the unwise manner in which it was collected...... Friction between the diggers and the officials increased. There was a strong peace party, who wished to secure a redress of the diggers' grievances in a constitutional manner, but the turbulent spirits were too strong for them. On November 29 a great meeting assembled on Bakery Hill, and insurgent flag was run up, and thousands of licenses burned, and a resolution made that the tax would be paid no longer. Organisation began, drilling was carried on, and arms and ammunition obtained. Peter Lalor was elected commander-in-chief, and his headquarters were a rough stockade of slabs, on the Eureka Lead behind where the Orphan Asylum now stands. The military attacked the stockade at daybreak on Sunday, December 3, 1854, and, after about 25 minutes' fighting, captured it. Over 20 diggers were killed and about a dozen wounded. Captain Wise and three privates in the attacking force were also killed, and several wounded. Lalor had his left arm smashed, but escaped. His arm was amputated, and he lived to become a prominent citizen, and for some years was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The total number killed on both sides was 28.[22]

Also See

Howard Hitchcock

Eureka 50 Ribbon


  1. Daylesford Advocate, 3 December1904.
  2. Daylesford Herald, 7 December 1904.
  3. The Leader, Melbourne, 10 December 1904.
  4. Transcribed by Chrissy Stancliffe from The Ballarat Star, Wednesday 23 November 1904, p. 6.
  5. Ballarat Courier, 05 December 1904.
  6. Ballarat Courier, 05 December 1904
  7. Ballarat Courier, 29 November, 1904.
  8. Ballarat Courier, 29 November, 1904.
  9. Ballarat Courier, 02 December, 1904.
  10. Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), Saturday 17 December 1904, p. 6, By W.B.W..transcribed by Christine Stancliffe
  11. West Mail (Perth), 10 December 1904.
  12. Ballarat Courier, 02 December, 1904.
  13. Ballarat Courier, 02 December 1904
  14. Ballarat Star, 02 December, 1904
  15. Mount Alexander Mail, 02 December 1904.
  16. Ballarat Star, 02 December, 1904.
  17. Mount Alexander Mail, Castlemaine, 25 November 1904.
  18. The Ballarat Courier, 30 November, 1904.
  19. Ballarat Courier, 05 December 1904.
  20. Ballarat Star, 02 December, 1904.
  21. West Australian, 5 December 1904.
  22. The Australasian, 3 December 1904.