Cattle Yard Hill

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They descended into the ravine (Specimen Gully) and following up a shallow gully leading therefrom and separating the Free trade Hotel from Stock Yard Hill, arrived close to the hotel and clods withing 200 yards of the enemy's position, as indicated by the guide, when they halted. [1]
A Digger Hunt, University of Ballarat Historical Collection (Cat.No. 4170)
Next day - Thursday - the authorities unwisely organised another digger hunt - the last held in Victoria. It was bitterly resented. Arms and ammunition were requisitioned on the authority of Lalor and his officers. Drilling proceeded vigorously. Blacksmiths hammered away at pikes - rude weapons like a billhook fastened on the end of stringy-bark saplings. The stockade, a rough barricade, enclosing about an acre of ground, on the Eureka lead, behind where the Orphan Asylum now stands, was made Lalor's headquarters. The barricade was a flimsy affair, constructed of slabs stuck on end, brush wood, and whatever could be obtained handy. It enclosed several tents, stores, and windlass claims, and appears to have been designed to conceal the operations of the head quarters staff rather than as a fort, in spite of Lalor's untiring efforts it it was difficult to enforce discipline. Men came and went freely, and all that happened was known to the commissioner. The diggers knew that another large reinforcement of troops from Melbourne was expected, and they believed they were secure until these arrived.
Captain Thomas, the officer in command of the military forces at the camp, realising that the diggers had been lulled into a false sense of security resolved on a surprise attack. On Sunday morning, December 3rd, just before daybreak, he led out his men (276) and stole silently to the gully between Cattle Yard Hill and the hill which Rodier-street now bisects, and wheeled round on the stockade, near the Free Trade Hotel, which was kept by Lester (afterwards of Lester's Hotel Sturt street). It was bright moonlight, and just breaking dawn Lalor's pickets sighted the red coats, and fired, and were answered by a volley from the troops. It is generally agreed there were not more than 300 men in the stockade at the time. Many of these were asleep. Numbers had only the clumsy pikes for arms. A few volleys and then the charge, and tee barricade fell like a pack of cards, and the fight was over in 25 or 30 minutes from the time the first shot was fired.[2]


  1. Samuel Huyghue (identified by Jack Harvey in The Site of the Eureka Stockade: Summary Notes), 1993.
  2. Charleville Times, 31 December 1904