Eureka Timeline

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Eugene von Guerard, Old Ballarat as it was in the summer of 1853-54, 1884, oil on canvas, mounted on board, Art Gallery of Ballarat Collection, Gift of James Oddie on Eureka Day, 1885.
Gold License, 01 May 1854, Federation University Historical Collection.
Down With License Fee Poster Displayed at Sovereign Hill, 2016.
Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection
Charles A. Doudiet, Swearing allegiance to the 'Southern Cross’, 1854, watercolour, pen and ink on paper.
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery with the assistance of many donors, 1996.

Eureka Timeline

1851

08 August

Gold discovered at Buninyong by Thomas Hiscock.

26 August

A protest against the gold licence was held at Buninyong.

19 September

Ballarat's first Gold Commissioner, Francis Doveton, arrives at Ballarat.

1853

13 June

Bendigo diggers met to protest at the gold license fee and other grievances. It was determined to start collecting signatures for a 'Monster Petition'.

16 July

Around 6,000 miners attended an anti-license meeting at Bendigo.

01 August

The Bendigo Goldfields Petition was presented to Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe. It boasted over 5,000 miners from across the Victorian goldfields and stretched for more than 13 metres in length. In response, the colonial government proposed doubling the cost of a miner's licence and the Governor of Victoria Sir Charles Hotham (1806–1855) ordered more frequent licence inspections. [1]

21 August

A huge meeting was held at Bendigo. Diggers agreed not to pay next month's license and wear red ribbons to advertise non-payment of the license fee.

24 September

A new act reduced the licence to 40 shillings for three months.[2]


1854

Gold Workings Ballarat, c1854 State Library of Victoria Collection ( H25191}

March

New Constitution Bill for Victoria and Bill to extend the Elective Franchise (conferring vote on holder of 12 months mining licence with certain residence qualifications) sent to England.v

28 March

The Crimean War starts when Great Britain and France declare war on Russia. [3]

May

Charles Joseph La Trobe - study by Sir Francis Grant. This portrait of La Trobe was subscribed for by the colonists of Victoria in 1855. It hangs in the Melbourne Town Hall Melbourne. Two less finished versions were also made by the artist for the family. This version was done for La Trobe himself and remained in the family until it was donated to the State Library of Victoria in 1954. State Library of Victoria Collection (H92.360/162)

Departure of Governor Charles La Trobe. Henry Foster acts at Lieut-Governor pending Charles Hotham's arrival.[4]

16 May

Chief Commissioner Wright recommends Robert Rede to fill the position of Resident Commissioner at Ballarat. [5]

June

Robert Rede becomes Ballarat’s resident Gold Commissioner.

22 June

Captain Sir Charles Hotham arrives in Melbourne to take up the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria. [6] Hotham faces financial debot, and orders weekly license huts as a revenie raising exercise.

August

Arrival of Governor Charles Hotham.[7]

26 August

Governor Charles Hotham and Lady Hotham visit Ballarat. [8]

13 September

Governor Charles Hotham orders license inspections twice weekly instead of once per month, [9] to further increase revenue.

07 October

James Scobie was murdered near the Eureka Hotel owned by James Bentley. The inquest was held the same day and despite evidence implicating James Bentley the verdict pronounced James Scobie's wounds were inflicted by an unknown person. [10]

09 October

James Bentley, Catherine Bentley and John Farrell were arrested for the murder of James Scobie.

10 October

Johannes Gregorius, the disabled Armenian servant of father Patrick Smyth failed to produce a license when requested by Constable James Lord. The policeman reportedly beat Gregorius. A priest's servant was not required to carry a license.

12 October

Charles A. Doudiet, watercolour on paper, 1854, watercolour, on paper.
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery with the assistance of many donors, 1996.

Magisterial Enquiry discharges James Bentley [11] due to lack of evidence. Many diggers believe Magistrate John D'Ewes is a friend and business partner of James Bentley.

15 October

A Monster meeting is held at Bakery Hill, after the Catholic church service, to protest at the actions of Trooper James Lord. It is mainly attended by Catholics. There is a resolution to meet again the following Sunday to discuss actions.

17 October

A mass meeting of around 10,000 was held near the site of James Scobie's murder. They wanted a more thorough investigation of his death. As time passed the crowd grew aggressive. The hotel was looted and burnt to the ground. [12] The Police and Military cannot control the crown and Commissioner Robert Rede is pelted with eggs.

19 October

Police reinforcements arrived in Ballarat.

21 October

Andrew McIntyre, and Thomas Fletcher and Westerby were arrested for their alleged part in the destruction of the Eureka Hotel, [13] and charged with riot.[14]

A meeting was held on Bakery Hill where those in attendance agreed tp pay the bail Andrew McIntyre and Thomas Fletcher.[15]

25 October

Protest Meeting against the treatment of Father Patrick Smyth's servant, Gregorius.[16]

27 October

Garrison Commander Captain John Thomas developed a detailed plan for the defence of the Government Camp at Ballarat.[17]

30 October

Governor Charles Hotham established a board of enquiry into the James Scobie Murder, and the actions of the Camp officials, to quell the unrest. The enquiry sat in Ballarat pm 02 and 10 November.

Governor Charles Hotham releases Frank Carey from prison after approaches by the American consul, James Tarleton. (Macfarlane)

02 November

A Board of Inquiry appointed by Governor Charles Hotham investigates allegations of corruption at Ballarat begins at Bath's Hotel.

06 November

Alfred Weir received a membership ticket to the Ballarat Reform League.

10 November

The Riot Enquiry sat for the final time, and a statement was submitted from J.B. Humffray, Frederick Vern, 'Capt'. Charles Ross and Samuel Irwin in the name of the Ballarat Reform League. They blamed the camp for all the problems. The report of the Riot Enquiry expressed general satisfaction with affairs in Ballarat, but they recommended the dismissal of Police Magistrate Dewes and Police Sergeant-Major Milne who were duly removed. (Macfarlane)

11 November

Charles A. Doudiet, Swearing allegiance to the 'Southern Cross’, 1854, watercolour, pen and ink on paper.
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery with the assistance of many donors, 1996.

The Ballarat Reform League officially came into existence on this day, although it had been active for several weeks,[18] after 10,000 diggers met on Bakery Hill for public meeting [19]

The meeting expressed regret at recent events, condemned the use of arms by the stockade faction, called on the Crown's officers to show mercy, pledged itself to using constitutional meant to having the miners' grievances addressed and called for a copy of the resolutions to be forwarded to Governor Charles Hotham. The members of the deputation to be to to the Government camp were Thomas Williams (the chairman), Fr Patrick Smyth, J.B. Humffray, Edward Donald and Mr Mostered.[20]

17 November

Governor Charles Hotham announced his attention to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the administration of the Gold Fields. [21]

18 November

James Bentley, Thomas Farrell and William Hance were convicted of the manslaughter of James Scobie. Catherine Bentley was found not guilty. [22]

23 November

James Bentley is convicted of manslaughter of James Scobie.[23]

25 November

Andrew McIntyre, Fletcher and Westerby were convicted of 'riot'.[24]

27 November

Ballarat Reform League representatives J.B. Humffray, George Black and Thomas Kennedy met with Governor Charles Hotham to demand the release of the prisoners. [25]

28 November

Reinforcements - Troops Arriving from Melbourne, This image shows the Camp at Ballarat West, know Camp Street. Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection.

A detachment of the 12th Regiment entered Ballarat, passing though the Eureka Lead. They were attacked by angry diggers. Drummer John Egan, and civilian transport diver, Young, were wounded.


A dinner was held at Ballarat to the American Consul, James Tarleton. Distant shots were heard during the dinner and officials left hurriedly. James McGill rushed in and whispered a password, thought to be the Celtic 'Faugh-a-balagh' meaning 'clear the way. The diners knew the army was on the way.[26]

29 November

Over 10,000 people attended a 'Monster meeting' on Bakery Hill and the Eureka Flag is unfurled.[27] The deputation of diggers report on their meeting with Governor Charles Hotham, and a number of diggers burn their licenses.

30 November

In the late afternoon on [Bakery Hill] diggers swore an oath by the Southern Cross to defend their rights.[28] Peter Lalor becomes leader of the diggers and calls for volunteers. Robert Rede reads the Riot act and troops fire a volley over the diggers heads. A number of diggers move to the Eureka Lead and erect a barricade which becomes known as the Eureka Stockade.

02 December

The Day Before the Battle from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.

The building of the Eureka Stockade was completed.[29] Assistant Commissioner Gilbert Amos of the Eureka Camp was briefly held prisoner by some of the Stockaders and his horse taken.

Father Patrick Smythe tries to persuade Catholics to lay down their arms and attend mass the nest day (Sunday).

03 December

Eureka Stockade battle is fought at dawn led by Captain Thomas, and a well armed contingent of 296 soldiers and Police. Twenty two diggers and seven military are officially lised as killed. Many others are wounded.

A meeting of the Ballarat Reform League was organised for 2pm on 03 December 1854 at the Adelphi Hotel. The intention was to elect a Central Committee of the Ballarat Reform League, and that each 40 members would have the power to elect one member for the Central Committee.[30]

Robert Rede released a Proclamation after the Eureka Battle.

V.R.
PROCLAMATION.
Notice.
Government Camp,
Ballarat, December 3rd, 1854
Her Majesty's forces were this morning fired upon by a large body of evil-disposed persons of various nations who had entrenched themselves in a stockade on Eureka, and some have paid officers and men were killed or wounded. Several of the rioters habve paid the penalty of their crime, and a large number are in custody. All well-disposed persons are requested to return to their ordinary occupations and to abstain from assembling in ground, and every protection will be afforded to them.
Robert Rede, Resident Commissioner.[31]

04 December

Governor Charles Hotham proclaims martial Law in Ballarat. [32]

Major-General Nickle arrives in Ballarat and takes command. In Melbourne a public meeting of over 4,000 people condemned the actions of the Government and called for the resignation of Foster.

Gunfire from the Government Camp is witnessed. John Wilson writes:

Tom Wilson came very near to getting shot on Monday night after the Stockade affair. The (Government) Camp took false alarm and kept up a continued fire all over the flat which is densely populated. For maore than 20 minutes the thickest of the fire fell were Tom was living, riddling the tents all around about.
The ground had been rushed at one time but afterwards left doting the locality over with holes from three to four and five feet deep(one to 1.5 and 1.8 metres), to these holes the inhabitants crowded for safety and Tom among the rest. Unfortunatley the one he got into had been used for a certian purpose - but he won't tell ohow much soap ot cost him to make his clothes nose sweet again though we often ask him.

J.B. Hummfray corroborated these events:

On the Monday Night, the fourth of this month (December), I was on teh flat a short distance from the bridge her about seven or eight o'clock when I head the rapid and consecutive reports of an immense number of firearms, and I heard a number of bullets whiz over my head, and i sat upon the gound to escape the bullets. Robert Rede released a Proclamation on 03 December 1854 after the Eureka Battle.

[33]

05 December

A public meeting was held in Melbourne regarding measures to protect the city after the Eureka Stockade.

To the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Melbourne... [from] the undersigned Inhabitants of Melbourne considering the Unsettled State of a portion of the Diggings, and the necessity measures for the Better PROTECTION OF THE CITY, and upholding the cause of Law and Order, hereby request your Worship to convene A PUBLIC MEETING... John Ferres, Government Printer, 05 December 1854. State Library of Victoria Collection (H141396).

06 December

A group of 13 prisoners are charged with treason.

A meeting of around 6000 Melbourne residents meet at St Paul’s Cathedral to condemn the actions taken by the Government and the administrators in Ballarat.

Colonel Secretary Henry Foster resigns.[34]

Governor Charles Hotham declares a state of martial law in the district of Buninyong which covered Ballarat.[35]

Head Quarters, Ballarat
6th December 1854
GENERAL ORDER
Major General Sir Robert Nickle, K.H., Commanding the FOrces in the Australian Colonies, announces to Her Majesty's subjects, Civil and Military, that, acting under the authority of His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor of Victoria, He has assumed command of the force at Ballarat, to restore confidence and to preserve the lives and property of all peaceful persons.
The inhabitants are recommended to pursue their ordinary lawful avocations as heretofore.
Military Law having this day proclained, the Major General directs as follows:
1. Stores of every kind may be brought into the District, exept Arms and Ammunition; and any conveyance containing Arms and Military Stores will be confiscated, and the persons in charge will be tried by a general Court Martial.
2. All persons in whose possession or on whose premises Arms of Ammunition may be found after Twelve o'clock on the day of Saturday, the Ninth of December, will be tried by a general Court Martial.
3. All persons having Arms and Ammunition in their possession, are hereby required to deliver them, by that time, to a Storekeeper at the Camp, appointed to receive, and register, and to give a receipt for the same.
4. Should any insult or violence be offered to any Soldier, or Policeman, or any recognised authority, the offending persons will be tried by General Court Martial.
5. Should a shot be fired on the Camp, or on any of the above-named authorities, from teh neighbourhood of any Tent, it will be immediately burned down, unless the occupants give such information as shall lead to the conviction of the perpetrators of such outrage, who will, in every case, be tried by a general Court Martial.
6. Any persons found lighting a fire, having an appearance of a signal fire, will be tried by a general Court Martial.
7. Officers commanding the Force, whether Civil or Military, now serving withinf this District, will receive orders through the medium of the Deputy Adjutant General, and will in like manner make their reports for Sir Robert Nickle's consideration.
8. Public Meetings are prohibited, except with the premission of the Major General.
(By Command,)
Edward Macarthur,
Colonel,
Deputy Adjutant General
Printed at the "Times" Office, Bakery Hill

07 December

Royal Commission of Inquiry into Goldfields appointed. [36]

08 December

Ballarat Police Courts commit 13 diggers for trial on charges of high treason.[37]

09 December

Martial Law was repealed at Ballarat.[38]

11 December

Colonial Secretary Foster resigned.

A rally of 1500 miners, shopkeepers and other took place on Bakery Hill. The meeting expressed regret at the recent stocade fation, called on the Crown's officrs to show mercy, pledged itself to using contitutional meants to having the miners' grievances addressed and called for a copy of the resolutions to be forwarded to Governor Charles Hotham. J.B. Humffray was arrested.[39]

14 December

The first Ballarat sitting of the Gold Fields Commission sat at Bath's Hotel, Ballarat.

1855

January - March

Agitation for amnesty of Eureka prisoners.[40]

02 January

Governor Charles Hotham orders Gold License hunts to resume.

08 January

Members of the gold Fields Commission meet with Governor Charles Hotham informing him that even though their investigations were not complete they were unanimous in recommending the abolition of the Gold Licence.

10 January

Members of the Gold Fields Commission recommend to Governor Charles Hotham that a general amnesty for all those connected with the Eureka Stockade be declared. The request is refused.

23 January

Henry Seekamp, the editor of the Ballarat Times, was tried and found guilty of sedition. On 26 January he was sentence to six months in prison.

25 January

Henry Seekamp is found guilty of seditious libel, and on 26 March 1855 starts a 6 month prison sentence.

February-March

Thirteen stockaders, with the exception of Thomas Dignum, were tried for treason and found not guilty. [41]

17 February

In Bendigo around 400 people attended a meeting to raise funds for the defence of the Ballarat diggers who had been tried with treason. After the meeting an effigy of Attorney-General, William Foster Stawell, was burned.

22 February

The trials of the thirteen diggers charged with treason commenced. John Joseph was the first to be tried.

28 February

John Manning was the second digger charged with treason to be tried.

19 March

Timothy Hayes, charged with treason, was tried.

21 March

Raffaello Carboni, charged with treason, was tried.

22 March

Jan Vennik, charged with treason, was tried.

23 March

Henry Reid, James Campbell, William Molloy, Jacob Sorenson and John Phelan, all charged with treason, were tried.

27 March

Gold Fields Commissioner reports in favour of gold fields reform. The Gold License was abolished, Local Courts to be elected by miners and a 'Miners Right' of 1 pound a year which conferred electoral rights. [42] The Miners Right gave miners the right to mine gold and entitled its bearer to a vote in parliamentary elections.[43]

12 April

A public meeting was held at the stump on Bakery Hill to organise a welcome back for the 13 diggers who were acquitted after being tried for treason.

22 May

New Electoral Act framed to give representation to mining areas in existing Legislative Council.[44]

12 June

The third Goldfields' Act was proclaimed, and incorporated the changes suggested by the Royal Commission.

14 July

Raffaello Carboni was one of nine diggers elected to the local court at Ballarat.[45]

10 November

The Hon [i.e. Honorable] John Basson Humffray, First Commissioner of Mines - of Victoria, pastel on brown paper by Thomas Flintoff, 10 August 1859. State Library of Victoria (H325)

Peter Lalor and J.B. Humffray were elected to the Legislative Council.[46]

22 November

A meeting was held on the site of the Eureka Stockade. Daniel Sweeney was in the Chair to consider the subject of compensation to the sufferers of loss incurred by the soldiers eleven months earlier.[47]

23 November

Governor Charles Hotham proclaims assent of Queen to Constitution Act. [48]

31 December

Governor Charles Hotham dies at Melbourne.

1856

May 1856

Costs relating to the Eureka Stockade were released.

We have Melbourne papers to the 17th. inst, A Council paper, just published, states that an outlay of £26, 733 18s. 6d. was incurred by the Ballarat riots, —the items being as follows : Expenditure for military, £19,871 0s. l0d.; police, £230 18s. ; conjointly for both services, £5119 13s. 8d.; contingencies, £1512 6s.[49]

03 December 1856

John Lynch gave an oration on the site of the Eureka Stockade. There was a small procession to the site, and about 200 people assembled. At the conclusion of the oration a procession then marched to teh Ballaarat Old Cemetery where another oration was presented by Dr Harry Hambrook.[50]

1884

16 April

The Eureka Stockade Memorial Committee met for the first time. They decided to invite designs for a memorial. [51]

Eureka Veterans at the 50th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, o4 December 1904. Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection.

1904

50th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade.
  1. http://www.myplace.edu.au/decades_timeline/1850/decade_landing_15_1.html?tabRank=2&subTabRank=2, accessed 19 October 2016.
  2. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 190
  3. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 190
  4. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  5. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 190
  6. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 191
  7. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  8. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 191
  9. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  10. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 192
  11. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  12. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 192.
  13. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 193.
  14. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  15. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 193.
  16. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  17. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 193.
  18. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 194.
  19. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  20. Eureka 150, Ballarat Courier Supplement, 24 November 2004.
  21. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  22. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 194.
  23. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  24. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  25. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 195.
  26. Corfield, J., Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  27. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1995, p 195.
  28. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1996, p 196.
  29. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  30. From Tent To Parliament, Berry Anderson & Co., Ballarat, p12.
  31. Eureka 150, Ballarat Courier Supplement, 24 November 2004.
  32. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1996, p 197.
  33. Eureka 150, Ballarat Courier Supplement, 24 November 2004.
  34. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  35. Eureka150, Ballarat Courier Supplement, 24 November 2004.
  36. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  37. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  38. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  39. Eureka150, Ballarat Courier Supplement, 24 November 2004.
  40. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  41. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1996, p 199.
  42. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  43. http://www.myplace.edu.au/decades_timeline/1850/decade_landing_15_1.html?tabRank=2&subTabRank=2, accessed 19 October 2016.
  44. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  45. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1996, p 200.
  46. McFarlane, Ian, Eureka from the Official Records, Public Record Office of Victoria, 1996, p 200.
  47. Ballarat Courier, 15 May 1954.
  48. Rich, Margaret (Ed), Eureka, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
  49. Tasmanian Daily News, 22 May 1856.
  50. Ballarat Courier, 15 May 1954.
  51. Chisholm, J.A., A few notes o the site of the Eureka Memorial, 1974.