Decimus Lamb

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Bendigo Goldfields Petition Cover, August 1853. State Library of Victoria (MS 12440) and Condemned them to hard labor on the Public Roads of the Colony - A proceeding Your Petitioners maintain to be contrary to the spirit of the British Law which does not recognise the principle of the Subject being a Criminal because he is indebted to the State
That the impost of Thirty Shillings a Month is unjust because the successful and unsuccessful Digger are assessed in the same ratio
For these reasons and others which could be enumerated Your Petitioners pray Your Excellency to Grant the following Petition
* First. To direct that the Licence Fee be reduced to Ten Shillings a Month
* Secondly To direct that Monthly or Quarterly Licenses be issued at the option of the Applicants
* Thirdly To direct that new arrivals or invalids be allowed on registering their names at the Commissioners Office fifteen clear days residence on the Gold Fields before the License be enforced
* Fourthly To afford greater facility to Diggers and others resident on the Gold Fields who wish to engage in Agricultural Pursuits for investing their earnings in small allotments of land
* Fifthly To direct that the Penalty of Five Pounds for non-possession of License be reduced to One Pound
* Sixthly To direct that (as the Diggers and other residents on the Gold Fields of the Colony have uniformly developed a love of law and order) the sending of an Armed Force to enforce the License Tax be discontinued.
Your Petitioners would respectfully submit to Your Excellency's consideration in favour of the reduction of the License Fee that many Diggers and other residents on the Gold-fields who are debarred from taking a License under the present System would if the Tax were reduced to Ten Shillings a Month cheerfully comply with the Law so that the License Fund instead of being diminished would be increased
Your Petitioners would also remind your Excellency that a Petition is the only mode by which they can submit their wants to your Excellency's consideration as although they contribute more to the Exchequer that half the Revenue of the Colony they are the largest class of Her Majesty's Subjects in the Colony unrepresented
And your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray etc.
Red Ribbon Movement Monument in Rosalind Park, Bendigo [detail], 2013. Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection


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


An old pioneer of Australia, and a former resident of Sale, in the person of Mr. Decimus Lamb, passed away at his residence, 41 Weller-street, Geelong West, on the 25th ult. He landed in Adelaide in the year 1851, coming out to his brother, who had predeceased him, and was in practice as a solicitor. After a short stay in Adelaide he journeyed on horseback to Bendigo, where he followed mining for some years. Whilst on one of his many journeys he was accosted by the then well-known bushranger, Black Douglas, and bailed up at an inn called the Pick and Shovel, where the bushranger treated all the inmates to a sumptuous supper. Later he went to Deniliquin, N.S.W. In 1882 he took up his residence in Sale, but latterly has resided in Geelong. A widow and family survive him. Deceased was at one time during his residence in Sale licensee of the Exchange Hotel, and the Albion Hotel. He was also formerly licensee of the Swan Hotel, Stratford, and had property at Darriman.[1]


On the 21st instant, at the Sportsman's Arms, M'Ivor Creek, Mrs. Lamb, the wife of Mr. Decimus Lamb, of a daughter.[2]

The funeral of the late Mrs. Barbara Lamb, widow of the late Decimus Lamb formerly of Gippsland and 6e!ong West, took place yesterday afternoon, her remains being intered in the family grave in the Church of Englaan portion of the New General Cemetery. The cortege, which left the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. H. Mitchell, Latrobe-terrace, Geelong West, comprised the glass hearse, landau carriages, motor car and a number ot public and private vehicles. The polished kauri coffin was carried to the grave by Messrs. R. and E. Lamb. W. and R. Lloyd. G. H. Selt and W Ray, and the following gentlemen supported the purple pall: Messrs. J. C Bennett, H. Crawcour, R. Foster, W. Branch, P. Moran, J. Tapp, F. W. Cocking, B. Bluker. Rev. W. Edgar Wood of St. Paul's Church England conducted the burial service at the home and graveside Mr. Alex Monro funeral director, of Ryrie street, carried out the mortuary arrangements.[3]

See also

Bendigo Goldfields Petition

Ballarat Reform League Inc. Monuments Project

Further Reading


  1. Gippsland Times, 04 March 1918.
  2. Bendigo Advertiser, 25 May 1858.
  3. Geelong Advertiser, 07 October 1920.

External links

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