Goldfields Involvement, 1853-1854
Signed the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition. Agitation of the Victorian goldfields started with the Forest Creek Monster Meeting in 1851, but what became known as the Red Ribbon Movement was centred around the Bendigo goldfields in 1853. The Anti-Gold License Association was formed at Bendigo in June 1853, led by George Thomson, Dr D.G. Jones and 'Captain' Edward Browne. The association focused its attention on the 30 shillings monthly licence fee miners were required to pay to the government. They drew up a petition outlining digger grievances and called for a reduced licence fee, improved law and order, the right to vote and the right to buy land. The petition was signed by diggers at Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, McIvor (Heathcote), Mount Alexander (Harcourt) and other diggings. The 13 metre long petition was presented to Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe in Melbourne on the 01 August 1853, but their call for a reduction in monthly licence fees and land reform for diggers was rejected. The diggers dissatisfaction erupted into the Red Ribbon Rebellion where agitators wore red ribbons on their hats symbolising their defiance of the law and prohibitive licence fees.
Post 1854 Experiences
In 1864 David Ducate was living in or around Myrtleford.
- An adjourned public meeting took place as arranged at Mr. Blacketer's Hotel, on the advisability of forming a company to work Mackay's old reef.
- Mr. Glass in the chair.
- The prospects of the proposed com pany were briefly explained by Mr. J. 0. Lyons, and twenty-four of the townspeople and miners assembled gave in their names as favorable to the proposed formation of a company under "Pyke's limited liability act."
- It was then proposed by Robert Corneyn, and seconded by J. 0. Lyons, "That a company be formed for the purpose of working Mackay's reef, and that a committee be appointed to enquire into the neceseary outlay required."
- Proposed by Mr. Smith, and seconded by David Ducat, "That the committee be formed of five members."
- Proposed by Mr. Smith, and seconded by Samuel Lane, " That John Boyd, Robert; Corneyn, Henry Boyd, Samuel Lane, and William Smith, comprise the committee."
- Proposed by David Ducat, and seconded by Robert Corneyn, " That the committee be paid current wages for a days services."
- Proposed by Thomas Elgar, and seconded by Samuel Lane, " That the committee meet the members of the proposed company on Saturday even ing, 23rd inst., to give in their report."
- The meeting then passed a vote of approbation to Mr. J. C. Lyons for his public spirit, -&c.. which was enthusiastically received, and the usual vote to the chair concluded the evening's business-thus was inaugurated the first meeting towards the formation of Mining Companies on the Ovens for the encouragement of capital and labor. ... 
- Warden's COURT-Mr. Warden Barnard and assessors heard a case of dispute as to some ground on the Buffalo Reef on Wednesday last, by which Thomas Cole sought to be put in possession of certain ground held by David Ducat and party. The disputed ground was an extension of the line of Cole's claim but as Ducat's party assert that they were on the ground at a given date, and there was no one working in Cole's claim at the time, the decision of the Court went in favor of Ducat and party.
- We read that an eccentric individual giving the name of David Fisher Ducat, was arrested about 3 a.m. the other morning, by Sergeant O'Shannassy, at Blrunswick The man went to the residence of Mr Dods, on the Sydney Road, and deliberately broke a large pane of glass. Word was sent at once to the police station, and the sergeant, under the impression that a burglary had been attempted, went in pursuit, and arrested thie man on the Sydney road. He made several rambling state ments about nine buses having been knocked off, and said he was going to drive a four home one that would meet all requirements. The accused was placed before the bench and remanded for medical examination, whereupon the prisoner, remarked that if they (the three justices) thought he was mad, they must be mad themselves. This is the contractor who lately left Alexandra, and at the time, owing to his strange conduuot, doubts were entertained as to his sanity.
- Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 06 March 1861.
- Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 06 March 1861.
- Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 03 August 1861.
- Alexandra and Yea Standard, 25 November 1881.
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