Frederick Ladbury

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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


Frederick Lement Ladbury was born at Wednesbury, Staffordshire, England.

On the 26th inst., by special license, at St. Stephen's, Richmond, by the Rev. T. C. Perks, Mr.

Frederick Clement Ladbury, of Bendigo, (son of the late Robert Ladbury, Esq., surgeon, Wednesbury, England,) to Catharine, daughter of Mr. Samuel Argyle, late of Heage, Derbyshire, England.[1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1853-1854

Frederick Ladbury signed the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition, listing himself as working at the dispensary in Bendigo. 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

I feel highly honored by the requisition which I have received emanating from a body of gentlemen possessing so great an interest in the success of Sandhurst.
As an old resident of Sandhurst, my interests are, like yours, indentifled with its progress; and I certainly am of opinion that it behoves yon to select men as your representatives in the Municipal Council who by a vigilant supervision of the taxes and a zealous care of their appropriation to the purposes contemplated by the Legislature, may prevent that progress having a downward tendency.
As you, gentlemen, think that my knowledge of the wants of the town and the feelings of the people may be made available in supplying those wants, and in acting in unison with those feelings, I have muoh pleasure in acceding to the request with whioh yon honor me by becoming a candidate for one of the vacant seats in the Municipal Council.
Should I be elected as one of the representatives of the Municipality of Sandhurst, I can only promise that by an assiduous attendance at Council, and a zealous attention to your interests whilst there, to endeavour to merit a continuance of the high opinion which you now entertain of me.
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient servant,
FREDERICK. C. LADBURY. Sandhurst, 8th January, 1858.[2]


An Early Bendigo Gold Buyer.—Mr. Frederick C. Ladbury, a very old colonist, died at his residence, Moonee Ponds, last week. He came to Victoria from Wednesbury, Staffordshire, in 1849, and on the discovery of the Bendigo goldfield he at once went there, and was the first gold buyer on the field. He was one of the first committeemen of the Bendigo Jockey Club. He afterwards joined the Railway department, retiring only a few years back. Latterly he has been living privately at Moonee Ponds, where he died at the age of 84.<ref<Bendigo Independent, 12 February 1901.</ref>

See also

Bendigo Goldfields Petition

Ballarat Reform League Inc. Monuments Project

Further Reading


  1. The Argus, 29 September 1854.
  2. Bendigo Advertiser, 12 January 1858.

External links

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