Henry Goodenough

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The Day Before the Battle from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.
Samuel Thomas Gill, Dangerously Suspicious, c1852, watercolour and gum arabic on paper.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, gift of Mr. Tony Hamilton and Miss. S.E. Hamilton, 1967.


Henry Goodenough was born at Bristol, England, in 1830. He arrived in Melbourne in 1852. He was stationed at Dandenong as a police constable until 1854, when arrived at Ballarat.[1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Trooper Goodenough was a government spy in the lead up to the Eureka Stockade, and he observed the Diggers Meetings at Bakery Hill where he dressed as a digger. He died on 30 January 1890 at Gippsland, aged 60 years.[2] He arrested James Beattie at the London Hotel, and gave evidence against him.[3]

Post 1854 Experiences

Henry Goodenough went back to Dandenong Police Station of the events at Eureka. In 1856 he was moved to Queenscliff, where he was stationed for 13 years. In 1869 he moved to the Geelong Police Station, and in 1871 he moved to his last station at Gippsland.[4]


Hy. Goodenough, formerly sergeant of police in this district, died yesterday, aged 60 years. He entered the force 37 years ago, and took part in quelling the Ballarat riots.[5]

In the News

8th December.
I resume my narrative of the proceedings in the Police Court yesterday, in reference to the State prisoners. I am induced to give these proceedings at perhaps greater length than your columns can easily bear, from my conviction of their importance, and of the fact that the evidence adduced will furnish more satisfactory testimony as to the events of the melancoly Sabbath morn than any personal representation can furnish.
James Beattie, John Fenwick, Josephs, and Raphaello, were placed at the bar. Beattie has rather a feeble and timid expression, and very unlike one's idea of a rebel. Fenwick is apparently a Dane, has a sailor-like look, and appears strong and active. Josephs is a negro, a very tall and powerful man, but with a stupid and vacant expression of countenance. Raphaello is an Italian, of middle age, of spare but vigorous form. His hair and beard are thin, and of a red color. He has black eyes, and an earnest, enthusiastic manner. He was secretary to Mazzini when Rome was captured, and bears the traces of several wounds.
H. Goodenough, a trooper, saw Beattie offer himself as a volunteer at the meeting at Bakery Hill, on Thursday, the 30th ult. He was drilled, then marched with the others to Eureka, and was drilled there that day and the next. On Sunday, the 3rd December, Beattie was arrested by him, at the London Hotel, about one hundred yards from the stockade. Prisoner had no arms when drilled nor when arrested. Many of the volunteers were armed. Fenwick was among the volunteers. Raphaello was captain of a company of about twenty-five, armed with swords and knives. He commanded his company with a sword by his side, and on Thursday a way was opened for them up to the platform where Raphaello made a speech. He said—"Gentlemen soldiers, those that cannot provide themselves with firearms, let them provide themselves with a piece of steel, if it is only six inches long, attached to a pole, and that will pierce the tyrant's heart." He marched his men to Eureka, and drilled them there on that and the following day. In answer to Raphaello, witness said that prisoner's company were more than one-half foreigners, apparently Germans and French.
In answer to the Bench witness stated that the origin of the Wednesday meeting was the return from Melbourne of a deputation to the Governor, and repeated the words used by Hayes and others.
Thomas Atkins, constable, saw one hundred and fifty men being drilled at Eureka on Friday last.
Beattie was in the ranks. Saw Raphaello, mounted, and with a party capturing horses, and giving them over to another party. Was threatened by the party and withdrew.
Patrick Reilly, sergeant in the mounted 40th, saw Beattie on the Sunday morning standing with his back to the stockade and crying fro mercy. Took him prisoner and brought him round to the rest of the prisoners. The firing had just ceased.
William Rivel, of the mounted force of the 40th, saw Beattie come over the wall of the stockade, before the firing had quite ceased. After the soldier ceased firing, several shots were discharged at them from tents. Beattie had a large horse-pistol in his hand as he climbed the stockade. When he saw the troops without, he dropped the pistol inside the stockade, and either fell or dropped on his knees and cried for mercy, saying he "was beaten and would give in."
Samuel J. Furnell, sub inspector of police, was at the stockade, in command of the mounted police. Some time after the firing had ceased, he saw Fenwick running away at a short distance from the stockade. Cantered after him, and told him he was his prisoner. He endeavored to escape, but being struck and slightly wounded, he yielded.
John King, sergeant of police, saw Beattie and Raphaello taken out of the stockade.
James Goar, private 40th, charged the stockade. Raphaello and two others charged him with pikes as he entered the stockade. He jumped out of the stockade and ran back, pursued by Raphaello till he met the troopers. Raphaello now retreated till he reached the stockade.
Patrick Hynott, a private of the 40th, saw Fenwick in the stockade. He had on a pair of red drawers. He was on the right hand of the tent, armed with a fowling piece. He was very busy. Afterwards saw him a prisoner in the Camp. Saw Josephs with a pike in his hand looking over the stockade at the time. Witness fired at him when he saw him. An order was given to fix bayonets and troops charged. Josephs was taken prisoner by Captain Carter and a constable. Saw Raphaello pursuing the last witness. He was armed, but is not certain as to the weapon, as he only saw the handle.
Daniel Hagherty is a sergeant of the 40th. Identifies Fenwick. Was one of the skirmishers on the 3rd. The troops halted about twenty paces from the stockade, and extended from the right. The 12th were extended from the right of the 40th. The troops advanced a little when the firing began, and received a good many shots, which they did not return until the bugle sounded. We fired and then charged. Several of the 40th were shot Captain Wise fell at this time. Some of our men under Captain Thomas went into the stockade. When the firing slackened a little, Captain Thomas ordered the troops outside. Came out and remained outside the stockade. Fenwick was brought out bleeding at the time, and was put with the other prisoners. Took the principal charge of the prisoners. Josephs resisted the soldiers who had taken him. Raphaello was brought out of the stockade a prisoner. Does not know who took him. Saw Fenwick brought out with a lot of prisoners, but did not see him arrested. Saw Josephs resisting the two soldiers who had him in charge. Told them to push him on with the remainder of the prisoners.
Andrew Peters, a constable at Ballaarat, saw Raphaello drilling men on the Bakery Hill. Josephs was in the ranks, armed. Raphaello had about twenty men in the ranks. This was on the evening of the second day after the meeting. Raphaello was armed. Never saw him but once. Was not present at the stockade on the morning of the 3rd. On the evening after the meeting, Raphaello was armed with a pistol or revolver.
Cross-examined by Raphaello: Saw him with 20 or 30 men. They were chiefly foreigners.
John Badcock, a constable at Ballaarat, was present at the Eureka Stockade on Sunday morning when it was charged. Jumped over the stockade. Saw Raphaello going round the corner of a tent. Presented his firelock at him, but it missed fire. did not see him again until he was a prisoner. He was armed with something like a pike. Saw Josephs and Beattie prisoners outside the stockade at about twenty paces from it.
John Donolly, a private of the 40th: Saw Josephs with a double-barrelled piece in his hand outside the stockade. Saw Raphaello inside the stockade armed with some weapon.
This morning the court sat at half-past nine.
The case of Beattie, Fenwick, Josephs, and Raphaello, was resumed.
Mr. Dunne stated that he appeared for Raphaello.
Thomas Milne deposed: That he was a sergeant of police at Ballaarat. Was in the stockade on the morning of the 3rd. Was at the large slab tent after the firing had ceased. The slab tent was inside the stockade. Saw a number of men running towards where the soldiers were stationed. Saw the prisoners Raphaello and Josephs in custody. They were unarmed. Never saw any of the prisoners previously.
Cross-exmained by Mr. Dunne: Has been here stationed about four months.
Patrick O'Keefe, a private of the 40th, was present at the attack on Eureka. saw Josephs there. He fired on us. Saw him afterwards with a pike running towards the tent, and again in custody outside the stockade. Cannot identify any of the other prisoners.
By the Bench: he fired towards where Captain Wise was stationed and some of the soldiers. At that time Captain Wise fell.
George Fraser, constable, was at the attack. Saw Josephs and Raphaello when in the stockade. Josephs was in custody. Was ordered to join guard to secure the prisoners. Saw Raphaello brought out from the direction of the stockade in the custody of two men.
Cross-examined: Have been stationed here and in the force about twelve months.
Inspector Evans, in reply to a question from the Bench, stated that he had evidence to produce with regard to the meetings on Bakery Hill.
Charles Jeffreys Carter: Was in charge of the foot police. Took Josephs out of the tent called the guard-room, while the firing was going on. Did not see any of the other prisoners. Called out to any that were alive in the tent to give themselves up. There were two there. One of them said "For God's sake don't fire on us; we will surrender." He was unarmed. I saw many arms in the guard-tent, which is inside the stockade, as well as many dead and wounded.
This was the case for the Crown.
Mr Dunne submitted that there was no case against Beattie, but the Bench overruled the objection, and committed the prisoners to take their trial for high treason.
Nicholas Edwards, Joseph Gray, Francis Kent, Henry Trynon, Henry Bazley, Thos. Bisk, George Davidson, Richard Humphreys, Charles Adams, John Delamere, Hen. Robilliard, Nicholas Allaire, Peter Priaulx, Isaac Hinds, Joseph Hindon, Andrew White, Joseph Macknon, Charles Brown, and Thomas Barry, were discharged, there being no evidence against them.
Mr. Dunne appeared for the following prisoners who were likewise discharged, there being not sufficient evidence against them to warrant a committal:— Patrick Gilhooly, Walter Ryley, John Powell, Joseph Penrose, Robert Winkfield, Dugald Magennis, John Quin, Edmund Burn, Wm. James Steer, Arthur Smith, Kennedy O'Brien, Martin Kinnear, Matthew Orr, Alexander Ross, Robert Leslie, George Thompson, Martin Ryan, Thomas Box, Thomas Ferdinand Tighe, and John Cahill.
John Manning, reporter of the Ballaarat Times, was next arraigned.
Mr. Dunne appeared for the prisoner.
Inspector Carter saw Manning on Sunday morning in the tent called the guard-room. It was within the stockade. I arrested the prisoner and handed him over to the 40th. The firing had not ceased. The tent was full of arms. He was one of the two taken out of the tent.
Daniel Higgarty, a sergeant of the 40th, was in the engagement at the stockade. Saw Manning brought out of the stockade under the charge of Lieutenant Richards, 40th.
Cross-examined: Manning was in custody when he saw him.
Thomas Barr, district surveyor, was present at several meetings. Was on Bakery Hill at the meeting on Wednesday 29th November. The object of this meeting was to raise subscriptions for organising a large force, and to defray the expenses of delegates to the different diggings. Heard Black, Lawlor, Vern, Kennedy, and some others speak at the meeting.
Mr. Dunne submitted this was not evidence, as the prisoner was not alleged to have been present.
The Bench ruled that the evidence must be received.
Examination resumed: Did not recognise the prisoner there.
William Dalgliesh: I was at a meeting on Bakery Hill on the 30th ultimo. Recognised the prisoner as one of a party of about twenty being drilled armed with pikes. Does not know who commanded them. Saw the prisoner the next time in custody. Did not see him in the stockade.
[A portion of the copy appears to have miscarried and this examination is incomplete.]
Four men — Pohill, Bryant, Rodan, and Ferguson were brought up.
John Gillman, sergeant mounted police, was at the attack at the Eureka. Saw Bryant about 100 yards from the stockade; was called to the seize him. Did so when he was running from the stockade. He had no arms, but was running to hide himself behind a chimney.
Mr. Hackett, Stipendiary Magistrate for the District : Received on Sunday morning a message from Captain Thomas requesting him to accompany the troops and police on an expedition. He did so. They advanced in the direction of the Eureka. As they approached the position of the intrenchment, he was told that it was quite near. To night being very dark, he lay down, and saw a flag flapping. One shot, and then a volley, shewed where they were. The bugle sounded, which he believes is the signal for the troops to fire. After ten or twelve minutes the troops went into the stockade. Identifies Pohill, Bryant, and Ferguson. Cannot say when they were taken. Has been informed that Ferguson can bring evidence to account for his being found where he was. Dr. Kenworthy and another American gentleman can account for his being there.
The Bench advised Ferguson to lose no time in procuring the evidence of these gentlemen.
Bryant asked Mr. Hackett if he knew him?
Mr. Hackett said he did, and his feeling was surprise to see him where he was.
Bryant called the attention of the Bench to a cut on his head, and stated that it was the cause of his being where he was. The wound had been inflicted by a trooper because he could not move fast enough and then he arrived at the Camp he was detained because he was bloody.
Sub Inspector Cossac saw Rodan inside the stockade, attempting to crawl out. He called to him to surrender, and he did so. There were arms lying about.
John Mordan White, trooper, saw Rodan in the stockade, at a corner between two tents. There was a passage out on the left and a dray on the right. The prisoner was under the dray. Many arms lying about.
Cross-examined: Prisoner had been wounded in the left shoulder, though slightly.
William Murrell, corporal of the 40th, was at the Eureka on the 3rd. Saw Ferguson twenty years inside the stockade, and ordered him to join the other prisoners.
George Byford, private 40th, recognises Fergus- son. Saw him inside the stockade. He had no arms. Saw him run from one tent to another.
Henry Perry, private mounted 40th, recognises Bryant. Saw him jump over the stockade. He had a pike, and struck at witness.
For Rodan, in defence, George Anderson, who had lived two years near the Eureka, deposed that Rodan was his mate, and was in the tent at ten o'clock on Saturday night; that they ordered Rodan out saying, "If you don't come we will shoot you." Witness had concealed himself between the tent and the lining, or he is sure he also would have been compelled to go. Had incurred odium by not attending the meetings. Had been attacked on Friday night by three men, knocked down and called a "trap."
Rodan assured the Bench that he had been forced away unarmed.
Ferguson described himself as having been seized on his way to visit a friend, and detained by the rioters against his will.
The Bench decided on remanding Bryant till next day, in order that he might produce the witnesses he spoke of. The other prisoners were discharged, with an admonition to some of them for allowing the stockade to be erected so near them without giving information to the authorities and seeking their protection.
A public meeting of the inhabitants of the town- ship was held this afternoon, at which a committee was appointed to draw up a memorial to the Lieutenant Governor. The committee met this even- ing, and adopted a memorial for general subscription, of which I enclose a copy.
To His Excellency Sir Charles Hotham, K.C.B.,
Lieut.-Governor of the colony of Victoria.
The memorial of the undersigned merchants, landholders, storekeepers, and inhabitants of the goldfields at Ballaarat,
Humbly sheweth —
That your memorialists view with extreme regret the late disturbances on these gold-fields, arising from causes on which they do not feel called upon to express an opinion.
Reposing the utmost confidence in your Excellency, they earnestly urge the necessity that exists for your Excellency's presence on these mines, and humbly, yet earnestly, pray your clemency, and the issue of an amnesty in favor of those individuals who have taken a part in the late lamentable disturbances.
That your memorialists desire to express their loyalty towards Her Majesty, and pledge themselves to support your Excellency in the maintenance of order.
Your memorialists would respectfully draw your Excellency's attention to the benefits that would arise by the issue of an amnesty, in restoring confidence, and in the return to their occupations of hundreds who have left this district from various causes connected with the late disturbances.
And your memorialists as in duty bound will ever pray.
11 P.M.
A slight alarm was created a short time ago by a gun fired in the proximity of the Camp. All were instantly on the alert. Sounds of preparation were heard all over the Camp, and the frequent challenge of sentries. Two troopers galloped south- ward along the road, and one of them soon re- turned with a prisoner in charge, but whether or not he had anything to do with the suspicions shot, or it had any omen of danger to the authorities, it is equally impossible as yet to tell.
A reward of £500 is offered for "the body, dead or alive, of Frederick Vern, sometimes called Colonel Vern."
The Right Rev. Dr. Goold, Roman Catholic Bishop of Melbourne, arrived at Ballaarat this evening.[6]

Every great fight has its heroes. The historian is sometimes silent as to them, but in long after years, when time has ripened to their opportunity, when the weakened memory of the living and the silence of the dead have made corroboration vague, they come from a modest retirement, and admit their prowess. Eureka is the great est of Australian fights—in fact, the only fight—and it too has its worthies. Their deeds, like those of Falstaff, grow in the recital. Thus quite a hundred men were standard-bearers at Eureka, and carried the Southern Cross. Quite half as many sheltered Peter Lalor, scores nursed him, and a dozen at least escorted him through the bush to Geelong when there was a price on his head. It would be cruel almost to disbelieve these men, for by long practice many of them have come to believe themselves. But this element of after- romance has made the telling of the story of Eureka somewhat difficult. It was ever a delicate matter to handle, for the motives of those who fought on Eureka Hill were as wide as their nationalities. The one great purpose—resistance to the gold license and the detestable practice of digger-hunting—may be freely recognised. The worst of it is that those who look upon the men of Eureka as being all brave, high-minded, high-souled reformers will see no other motive than this one; while those who hold by the law admit it as the last motive of all. They see in Eureka only the desperate resource of a band of rebellious agitators. Either of these extremes misses the mark, but the prevalance of party statement renders it difficult to sift the wheat from the chaff, and makes it essential almost that one should skip controversial matter in telling the story of a desperately foolish but all the same a gallant undertaking.
The foreign element was largely mixed up in Eureka—it did most of the talking and boasting, but, as often happens in such a case, least of the fighting. In the runing it was foremost. Some of the men who fought there knew it, and, as Mr. John Lynch says, were impressed when the brave, kindly old general, Sir Robert Nickle, who had often led the Connaught Rangers, said, "I would rather have you Irishmen before Sebastopol than in a thing like this. Why didn't you Britons settle your differences between yourselves, instead of allowing foreigners to meddle in your domestic affairs?" Yet not all the foreigners ran, for some of them died bravely and like men under the palisades of Eureka, seeing through to the bitter end that to which they had put their hand. The story of Eureka, the fight, the flight, and all connected with it, cannot be told in a single article. The better way, perhaps, were to begin with a few words as to the more picturesque of the men who figured in it.
Highest of all in the group looms the figure of Peter Lalor, whose after-prominence in Victorian political life commemorated by a statue in the main street of Ballarat, has made him the one man whom very many people to-day are able to associate by memory with the Eureka fight. He came to Ballarat first a young, stalwart, handsome Irishman, standing nearly 6ft. in height, with dark brown hair and beard, the firm upper lip and powerful neck always clean shaved. In manner a quiet, unassuming young fellow, with the air of an educated, well-bred man, he at first took no part in the agitation, and only came prominently into notice when, after the formation of the Diggers' Reform League, a fighting leader was required, and fighters, as apart from "spouters," had become suddenly scarce. Lalor was a man who neither by training nor disposition was inclined to turn the other cheek. His family was a historic one in Queen's County, Ireland, tracing back to the chieftains of Glenmalure and Slievmargy. His people had been patriots or rebels—as you please—from the time of the Tudor intrusion, and his father, a member of the Imperial Parliament, was a follower of O'Connell. The speech in which Lalor took command of the men of Eureka was essentially a manly one. "I have not the presumption," he said, "to assume the chief command, no more than any other man who means well in the cause of the diggers. I shall be glad to see the best among us take the lead. If, however, you appoint me as your commander-in-chief I shall not shrink. I mean to do my duty as a man. I tell you, gentlemen, that if once I pledge my hand to the diggers, I will neither defile it with treachery nor render it contemptible with cowardice."
There was a time just before Eureka when two currents of public feeling which had hitherto followed the same channel diverged. Peter Lalor headed the more turbulent stream; the milder followed the lead of John Basson Humffrey, a man who took no part in the rebellion, but was a recognised leader in the agitation which led up to it. He was a mild man who opposed the extreme step, and thought the end would be gained by legitimate agitation. It required courage to give such counsel then, for one man named Frazer who advocated it at a meeting on Bakery Hill would have been torn to pieces but for the inter vention of the chairman. Humffray has been described by one of his compatriots as a man "with a quiet sort of John Bull smile." He was in turn exalted as a hero and denounced as a traitor, and the term "Apostle of Peace" was applied to him in anything but a complimentary sense. He saw the folly of armed resistance, the use-lessness of burning licenses, through which policy the diggers thought every man on Ballarat must be arrested and the camp overwhelmed with prisoners. It has been urged that Humffray, as a leader, went too far if he were not prepared to take the extreme step, and it is a fact that up to the last he was expected to assume command. From beginning to end he was, however, a man true to the diggers' cause, and who fought for it according to his lights. When years afterwards representatives were required for Ballarat the two men chosen were Lalor and Humffray.
Every tragedy has in it some elements of burlesque. That of Eureka was largely supplied by two foreigners—Colonel C. H. F. de la Vern, a Hanoverian, and Signor Carboni Raffaello de Roma—an Italian. The names and titles take up some space, but they are worth it. As often happens with mountebanks in the same line of business, the two cordially detested each other, and so one gets at their real characters.
Vern was a long man, whose legs were so obviously made for retreat that they took the initiative, and carried the gallant fellow off over the back of the stockade the instant the first shot was fired. A captain of pikemen who saw him run called on someone to shoot him, but Vern was too good a sprinter. He claimed to be a military strategist, and a specialist in fortification. The only strategy he displayed was in leaving hurriedly for the Warrenheip Ranges, and the Eureka Stockade, the outcome of his skill in fortifications, was a howling farce. It had been designed on the basis that the troops would attack from one direction. But, as troops often do, they came over at the back, where there was no protection worth the name. One great and undeserved honour was paid to Vern. Imagining him to be a leader, the Crown offered £500 for his arrest, and only £200 for Lalor. Vern had really expected to be leader, and sulked when the young Irishman was appointed. He talked much of a German legion he had enrolled, and which was to rush to arms the minute the Southern Cross waved from Eureka Hill. This was the original legion that never was listed—at least nothing was ever heard of it.
His rival, Raffaello, was something less of a poltroon perhaps, but still one braver in argument than fight. He was a fiery little Vesuvius, who at the meetings moved everything in the direction of extremes. The "hated Austrian rule" was dragged into all his speeches, and he claimed to have fought under Garibaldi. He had seen so much of active service, indeed, that when it came to fighting at Eureka he graciously allowed others to get to the front for their baptism of fire, and retired to the shelter of a well-built turf chimney, the best protection against bullets that the stockade afforded. He has written a book on Eureka—a wild mass of rodomontade that reads very curiously now. It begins with the magnificent assertion, "I undertake to do what an honest man should do, let it thunder or rain." He announced his book for sale at Eureka "from the rising to the setting of the sun," on the anniversary of the fight, and there publicly mourned his ost comrades and the lost cause—quite oblivious of the fact that through Eureka that cause had been won. He appears to have had an Italian eye for small economies, and on leaving Ballarat a prisoner, he wept, not for the poor fellows he had talked to their death on Eureka Hill, but for the loss of his tent and puddling machine. He was known as "Great Works," a pet phrase of his—but Great Talks would have been much more appropriate.
It was not so with all the foreigners, though. In the rank and file were men who fought well. Few were better known on Ballarat than Edward Thonan, the poor Prussian lemonade seller, who carried his keg around amongst the claims. He stood to the brest-work till a bullet passed through his mouth and killed him. Another big German blacksmith was busy within the stockade forging pikes and spear-heads for days before the fight. As the soldiers came over the stockade with a gallant rush, the big German, fighting bravely, picked out Lieutenant Richards, and made a dash for him, but the officer, in fair fight, ran him through and killed him.
It is a curious coincidence, indeed, that nearly all the orators of Eureka cut a poor figure in the fight. Some apology is needed for mentioning them at all, but they were picturesque characters in the life of the time, unlike so many of the silent fellows who simply took the post given them and fought till they were overwhelmed. One of the fiercest of rebels up to a certain stage was Thomas Kennedy, a voluble little Scot, whose large aim in life was the regeneration of mankind. He had all the attractive phrases of the Chartists on his tongue, a remarkable facility for making speeches that were rarely to the point, but which breathed always resistance to the death. A favourite couplet in his platform address was—"Moral suasion is all a humbug, Nothing convinces like a lick o' the lug."
No one's "lug" tingled from any blow struck by Mr. Kennedy at Eureka. One of his last outbursts before the battle was:— "On, on, my brave comrades; before to- morrow's sun shall have set Victoria willhave lost one of the brightest jewels in her crown." He flourished a sword as well as a tongue in quite a tremendous way, but before a shot was fired became, it is said, absorbed in a pipeclay drive at the bottom of a disused shaft, and so missed the chance of striking that blow in revenge for his murdered mate Scobie, of which he had so often boasted.
Another very voluble—if not in the fighting sense valuable—man was Timothy Hayes, who acted as chairman at the diggers' meetings, and was to have hammered home bullets behind the palisades as deftly as he did arguments on the platform. Mr. Hayes had a turn for rhetoric, a strong partiality for such sonorous defiance as— "The sun shall see our country free, Or set upon our graves."
His last speech before the fight wound up with the fateful words, "Are you prepared to die?" Mr. Hayes was apparently not quite prepared. It may have been his misfortune, though, rather than his fault—for men came to the stockade and left it as they pleased—that at the time of the fight he was absent without leave, and took no part in it.
So much has been said of the mounted banks of Eureka that the belief may gain ground that they were a majority. If puerile, they were, as has been said, picturesque, hence the prominence given to them.
If one man on Ballarat had more right than another to protest against gold-getting being made difficult, it was surely James Esmond, the first discoverer of gold in Victoria—not a chance discoverer either, as one who stumbles upon a nugget in his path, but an observant man, who applied the experience he had gained elsewhere. He was a quiet man, who said little, thought a great deal, and backed up the opinions he held with a stern, resolute courage. Such men were plentiful enough at Eureka, in spite of the buffoons and charlatans who aspired to lead them. While others were talking Esmond set to work, so that the miners who meant to fight might be properly armed for the encounter. Another of much the same mould was John Manning—a very fine fellow indeed, but a man who would stand no nonsense. Equally honest and earnest was the like- able Lieutenant Ross, a Canadian, and one of Lalor's captains at Eureka. His one wish was to resent as men the insults to which the diggers had been subjected. He fought well in the grey dawn of that Sunday morning until he was shot in the groin and died soon afterwards of his wounds.
No one in Ballarat to-day needs to be told of what stamp of man Mr. John Lynch, the well-known surveyor, Smythesdale, is. None more upright, loyal, and honourable—yet he, too, fought under Lalor at Eureka. He lives to tell the story now, probably because he took the precaution when manning the palisade to close up the open spaces with some of the loose planks lying about. "How the fight was to benefit us," he explained, "I never could see. But then, like others, I didn't moralise over the matter at all, but just took out my miner's right and burned it." Mr. Lynch on joining was told off to the Californian Independent Rifle Brigade, most of whom were only armed, though, with revolvers and knives. It was commandered by James McGill, largely on the strength of his own statement that he had had a military education at West Point. He left his Californian Rangers to fight without the help of his skilled control, for he, too, was absent without leave. There was one Shanahan, in whose tent the councils of war were held, but that fact did not inspire him to valour, for he took refuge behind a bag of flour, which was quite bullet-proof. A contrast was Patrick Curtain, captain of the hopeless, helpless Pikemen, whose share in the fray was just to be shot at, and Thaddeus Moore, who had a bullet through both his thighs, and died of his wounds. John Robertson, a pugnacious Scot, fell full of wounds, and, being somewhat like the Italian Raffaello, those who found him said, "Poor Great Works, he had some fight in him after all." "Their joy on finding I was not dead," says the Italian himself, "was pleasing to me." Robertson didn't count for much—except as a casualty. The first man wounded at Eureka was a miner named Downes. He was fighting alongside John Lynch, and staggered back, with a bullet through his shoulder, crying out "I'm shot!" "Don't worry," said his comrade, "that may be all our case soon," and just at the instant John Diamond rolled away from the palisades— dead. Some who died at Eureka were known by not even a name to their leaders. One of them has come down to us as "Happy Jack," while a big blackfellow, whose name and fate are alike a mystery, has been described as one of the pluckiest fighters in the Stockade.
One name has often been mentioned in connection with Eureka—Raffaello's book teems with execration of it—the name Goodenough. The business of a spy, though a detestable one in popular fancy, was a task that in this case demanded nerve. Goodenough was a sergeant of the forces, who went in with the miners to spy out their works, and it was because of his reports as to preparations at the Stockade that the sudden night surprise was determined on. Sergeant Goodenough took his life in his hands, for had his mission been suspected he would have been hanged on the flagstaff of the Stockade. When all is said, indeed, the name of Goodenough comes down out of the distance with far less of contempt than upon those who execrated it—empty-headed, noisy charla- tans such as Raffaello and Vern. [7]

See also

Andrew Peters


Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.


  1. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  2. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  3. The Argus, 11 December 1854.
  4. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  5. The Age, 01 February 1890.
  6. The Argus, 11 December 1854.
  7. The Argus, 3 June 1899

External links