Eureka Hotel

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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.

On 18 November 1854, James Bentley, Thomas Farrell and William Hance were convicted of the manslaughter of James Scobie, a Scottish miner who had been found dead near James Bentley’s Eureka Hotel on 7 October 1854. Bentley, and his employees Farrell and Hance, had been tried and acquitted previously for this murder, but due to the outcry on the Ballarat Diggings, the insinuation of police corruption, and the subsequent riot and burning of the Eureka Hotel on 17 October 1854, there had been cause for a new trial. [1]

Maurice Ximenes, a Sub-inspector of police who commanded the Foot Police at Ballarat, was present at the burning of Bentley’s Eureka Hotel when 30,000 angry miners conducted a protest meeting. Ximenes had a number of police under his control hiding inside Bentley’s Eureka Hotel before the encounter, which led to the hotel’s destruction. Ximenes lent his horse to James Bentley so he could escape the crowd outside the hotel. The pregnant Mrs Catherine Bentley was left inside the hotel.[2]

The men accused of destroying the Eureka Hotel, Henry Westerby, Thomas Fletcher and Andrew McIntyre, were convicted and sentenced to gaol on 20 November 1854. J.B. Humffray, Black and Kennedy, representing the Ballarat Reform League demanded the release of these prisoners on 27 November. It was a fatal mistake, as the use of the word “demand” strengthened Governor Hotham’s resolve for control.[3]

S.T. Gill, Site of Bentley's Hotel - Eureka Ballaarat, 1855, lithograph, Art Gallery of Ballarat Collection, Purchased, 1977.

In the News

BALLAARAT RIOTS – Bentley’s Hotel - Mr Humffray moved, pursuant to notice, That a select Committee be appointed to enquire into the claims for compensation arising out of the losses alleged to have been sustained at the time of or in connection with the destruction of Bentley’s Hotel, on Ballaarat, with power to take evidence and examine all books, petitions, reports, or other documents relating thereto, now in the hands of the Government, and that the following gentlemen be appointed to act on the Committee – Mr Haines, Mr Greeves, Mr Stawell, Mr Pyke, Mr Michie, Mr Horne, Mr Grant, Mr Brooke, Mr Sargood, and the Mover. [4]


Ballarat's Oldest Residents
One question asked at a meeting of Ballarat Historical Society was: "Who is the oldest living miner in Ballarat?"
Mr. N. F. Spielvogel (president) said that he was Mr. Joseph Oringe, Ligar street, who was 97 years of age. As a lad he was employed as a whim boy at Post Office mine, Ballarat East.
Another question sought the identity of the oldest industry in Ballarat. This was stated to be Foord's bacon works, founded by John Foord in 1856 on its present site in Eureka street, opposite where Bentley's Hotel stood. That hotel was burned in sensational circumstances prior to Eureka.
The second oldest firm was stated to bee that of John Hollway, tinsmith, Armstrong street, established in 1857.[5]

Also See

James Bentley

Catherine Bentley

James Scobie

Maurice Ximenes

References

  1. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  2. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  3. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  4. Victorian Votes & Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, 2 December 1856
  5. Port Pirrie Recorder, 21 October 1939.