Alfred Carr

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Dr Alfred Carr sailed to Australia on the Araminta arriving in Geelong on 04 October 1852. He qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1842. He died in the Ararat Asylum in June 1894.[1]

Pre-Eureka 1853

Dr Alfred Yates Carr and Henry Silvester formed the Ballarat Gold Diggers Association, a body which, on 6 September 1853 sent a Petition to the Legislative Council. This was signed by Ballarat diggers who objected to the high licence fees, and the manner in which the fees were collected. They were ‘alarmed’ by the poor administration of the goldfields and were disgusted by the way men were chained to the logs for not paying their licence fees. Richard Brown in commenting on the agitation in Ballarat in the latter months of 1853 posted that: Silvester also requested that a deputation should be heard at the bar of the House in support of the petition. In mid-September, he and Carr gave evidence to the Legislative Council Select Committee on the Goldfields dwelling on the injustices that stemmed from the license fee with Carr pointing to increasing opposition to the fee and the semi-military manner in which it was enforced. Silvester maintained there were some in Ballarat who anticipated the establishment of a republic in Victoria and Carr later concluded that dissatisfaction in 1853 was greater than in the weeks leading up to Eureka a year later. On 26 October, Silvester wrote to John Foster, the Colonial Secretary seeking the introduction of a bill to enfranchise diggers. Almost a month later on 21 November, he expressed his concern to Foster at the failure of the government to carry out its promises to the Diggers’ Association concerning the police in Ballarat. Eight days later, a petition from the Association was forwarded to Foster that opposed proposed legislation for managing the goldfields but added that the Ballarat miners had no sympathy with the ‘lawless and unjustifiable proceedings…at Bendigo’. Although the Ballarat diggers were unsympathetic to the nature of the protests in Bendigo, meetings on 19, 21 and 26 November and 17 December all expressed widespread support for immediately enfranchising the mining population. (Argus 22, 25, 29 November 1853; 20 December 1853.) The Anti-Gold License Association was disbanded on October 1853, near the site of the first mass meetings at View Point, Bendigo and twelve months before the two Monster Meetings were held in 1854 on Bakery Hill, Ballarat. Its message had spread throughout the goldfields of Victoria and beyond. The speakers on this final occasion in Bendigo were Dr David Griffith Jones (David Jones), George Edward Thomson (George Thomson), William Edmonds, William Dixon Campbell Denovan (William Denovan), and Henry Thomas Groves Holyoake (Henry Holyoake).

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

In 1854 Dr Carr was conducting a hospital with Dr George Clendinning at Red Hill, Ballarat. He was the closest doctor to the Eureka Hotel, there was the first doctor called with George Scobie was murdered. He preformed the autopsy[2] Dr Alfred Carr was a witness at the Inquest into the death of William Hardie on 04 December 1854.[3]

Martha Clendinning, claimed to have piece of Eureka Flag given to her by Dr Alfred Carr.[4]

It was reported that Dr Alfred Carr was struck by a bullet fired by a sentry, soon after the Eureka Affair. On Friday night the Camp Surgeon and Dr. A. Carr had a narrow escape from being shot; owing to some blunder, while the former gentleman was going into the Hospital he was fired on by one of the sentries. How this happened I do not know; the ball barely missed him, went through the wooden wall of the hospital, through the lid of the medicine chest, which was open at the time. and passed close to the shoulder of Dr. Carr, who was reading in the hospital; some. splinters from the lid of the chest struck Dr. Carr on the side. The "Criterion" conveyance brought up the papers, on Saturday, under six hours; some of them were delivered before half-past Twelve.[5]

Post 1854 Experiences

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.

Dr Carr was a witness examined during the report of the Board appointed to enquire into circumstances connected with the riot at Ballarat, and the burning of James Bentley's Eureka Hotel. [6] He returned to England for a holiday in 1855, returning to Victoria on the Persia in 1857. He was suffering from mental illness and he became a patient of the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum. He never recovered from his mental illness and was transferred to the Ararat Asylum in 1887. He spent the rest of his life there.[7]


Friday 30 May



This case was resumed on Friday morning before his honor the Chief Justice and special jury of 12. The Attorney General, Mr Billing and Mr Fellows for the plaintiff and Mr Michie, Mr Wood and Mr Wyatt for the defendant. Wm. McCrae M.B. Chief Medical Officer was called and examined by Mr Wyatt and deposed as follows: I was formerly a member of the Board of Visitors to the Yarra Bend Asylum.

At the commencement of the examination of this witness as to the condition of the Asylum, the Attorney General objected to any statement being made as to what passed between witness and patients or attendants, except in Dr Bowie's presence. There were some instances in which bags were used at the Yarra Bend Asylum for other purposes besides those of protecting patients from cold. Some of them were lined with flannel. In September 1857 I saw a patient named Dr Carr in a bag. The bag was not lined with flannel. He said that he had been kept in it seven or eight days. This statement was made in the presence of an attendant named Fitzgerald.

The Attorney General again too objection to this line of evidence as the statement was not made in the presence of the plaintiff.

His Honor allowed the objection to be good so far as the nature of any complaint was concerned, but observed that the second objection might have been taken to the greater part of the evidence addcued in the case.

The bag in which I saw Dr Carr was fastened at the neck. It reached from his feet to his neck. He could move his arms about in it. It was a bag for the purpose of restraint. I ordered it to be taken off directly I saw him in it. I thought it barbarous treatment, as he was perfectly quiet and spoke rationally. He appeared to be clean. He accounted for this by telling me that he managed to get out of his bag sometimes. I met Dr Eades and Dr Barker to investigate thee subject. I subsequently saw a man named Macdonald who was in a bag so tight that he could not move. I spoke to Dr Bowie about it, when he told me that the man had committed two murders while in the Asylum. He was also confined in a cell for some time. I spoke to Dr Bowie about the case more than once. In January 1860 I saw Dr Carr in confinement in a padded cell. He was then in a very filthy state. There was no convenience of any kind in the cell, and the floor was also exceedingly filthy. I can give the number of patients under restraint at variuos periods, from a record which I have before me. In January 1856 there were 8 males and 16 females; 24 of both sexes in February; and 17 in March; In January 1857 10 males and 6 females and, in June of that year, there were no patients under restraint. .... [8]

See also

William Hardie

Eureka Flag

Further Reading

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


  1. Dianne Campbell, Anglo-Irish Lawyers in Post Goldrush Ballarat, Masters theses, 2002, p.183.
  2. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  3. PROV, VPRS24/p, Box 24, Unit 23.
  4. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  5. Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, Tuesday 12 December 1854
  6. Report of the Board appointed to Enquire into Circumstances Connected with the Late Disturbance at Ballarat, John Ferres, Government Printer, Melbourne, 21 November 1854.
  7. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  8. Star, 31 May nd

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