Gilbert Amos

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Born 1830. Died 1866. Gilbert Andrew Amos grandfather was James Amos, a Russian merchant who had been born in India.[1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Gilbert Andrew Amos sworn — In November last I was Commissioner at the Eureka Camp; it was about 2¼ miles from the Camp at Ballarat; Bakery Hill is distant about ¾ of a mile from the Ballarat Camp; the plan produced is a correct description of the Camp, and features of the country. (Witness here was requested to mark out the position of Bakery Hill, and Eureka Camp, and the route the soldiers took when marching to the attack.) Mr Chapman submitted that if the plan is submitted as evidence, stricter proof of its accuracy should be given, and not rely upon the mere jotting down by pencil of this or that position by any witness who may be required to point out the localities mentioned in the examination. [2]

Post 1854 Experiences

Commissioner Gilbert Amos of the Eureka Camp answered the Attorney General's questions during the State Treason Trials thus:

'How was the ground placed; was it on the summit of a hill, in a valley, or how? It was rather in a hollow; it sloped slightly down into a hollow.'[3]

In the News

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.
Unknown maker (Australia), The flag of the Southern Cross (Eureka Flag), 1854, wool, cotton.
Art Gallery of Ballarat Collection. Gift of the King family, 2001
(Melbourne Morning Herald, October 20.)
The readers of the Herald are already aware of the perpetration of a foul and mysterious murder some few nights ago, near the Eureka Hotel, Ballarat, of which James F. Bentley, a reputed wealthy man, is the land-lord. The moment the circumstances at tending the tragedy became known a strong suspicion was created in the minds of a large number of the diggers that Bentley, his wife and the barman (Mooney), were more or less implicated in it, and a long report of a Police Office investigation, in which the suspected parties were acquitted by the presiding Justices, appeared in our yesterday's publication. At the date of our correspondent's last letter (Monday afternoon), the mining population seemed both discontented and dissatisfied at the magisterial verdict, and there were all the premonitory symptoms of an approaching storm. We now regret to say, that the worst has come at last, that the diggers have risen by thousands, set law and order at defiance, and resolved upon sacrificing Bentley, and being disappointed in their intentions, set fire to his hotel, reducing it and all it contained to a heap of ashes The intelligence was received in town, per Government Express, at an early hour yesterday morning, and in order to guard against any renewed outrage, a number of mounted troopers from Richmond, and some twenty- five or thirty of the city police, received orders to set out instanter for the scene of action. The facts, as far as we have been able to ascertain, are thus : — After the result of the enquiry became known, the diggers decided upon holding a monster meeting on the spot where, the body of the murdered man was found ; and accordingly this gathering came off on Tuesday, when strong addresses were delivered, and the supposed authors of the bloody deed denounced. The meeting, after adopting several resolutions, broke up, but any observant spectator might easily guess that a deep feeling of vengeance still lingered in the minds of the multitude. The aspect of things, however, appeared to clear up a little, and nothing farther happened until alter nightfall; when an immense concourse of persons (estimated at between 8000, and 10,000) surrounded the Eureka Hotel, resolved, in the first instance, if they could lay hold of the execrated Bentley to hang him without judge or jury. So far they were doomed to disappointment, for Bentley very discreetly succeeded in escaping to the Commissioner's, camp, and by that means was saved from destruction. The infuriated mob, determined upon having some satisfaction, commenced an attack upon the house, which was soon enveloped in flames and finally destroyed, As a matter of course all the resources available at the Camp were brought into requisition to keep the peace, but to no purpose — for Commissioners, J.Ps., inspectors, Military, and policemen could do nothing against such overwhelming numbers, and were therefore compelled to act the part of passive spectators of the extraordinary doings before their eyes. The Commissioners remonstrated several times with the attacking parties, and were very coolly told to mind themselves, and interfere no further ; that they (the diggers) did not wish to molest or come into collision with the authorities provided they were allowed to pursue their own course. Still, in order to leave no possible means of persuasion untried, when the house was in flames, Mr. Commissioner Rede might be seen addressing the people from one of its windows, and in his blazing rostrum beseeching them (in vain) to desist in their infuriated career. Mr. Commissioner Amos also very praiseworthily exerted himself to a similar purpose, but all their warnings and admonitions were in vain. Even when the mob were found bent on the annihilation of the hotel, the police and Camp followers succeeded in removing the furniture and some other articles of property beyond the reach of the fire, but the moment they did so, the moveables were piled in a heap, ignited and very soon converted into cinders. Having at length to some extent appeased their resentment, the thousands dispersed, and nothing of further note happened up to Wednesday afternoon. Such are all the particulars of which we are as yet aware. The narrative of the lamentable occurrence is probably to a certain extent deficient in many minor particulars, but no doubt to-day or tomorrow will place us in possession of ampler details.[4]

The Eureka Anniversary. It went without much in tile way of celebration, but the 3rd December was one of the historic anniversaries of the colony. The following abbreviated account of the storming of the Eureka Stockade, on the 3rd December, 1854 - one of the best yet published-is taken from "The Early Days of Victoria" in the current number of the "Australian Journal." After describing the events of the week previous and the reasons why Captain Thomas of the 40th, then in command, resolved to attack the stockade early on Sunday morning, the writer goes on to say : in pursuance of this determination Captain Thomas, who was ably assisted by Captain Pasley, R.E., and Captain Wise, had the whole force at his disposal under arms by 2 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, 3rd December. Mr Commissioner Amos, who was intimately acquainted with the locality, acted as guide, and led the troops to within a quarter of a mile of the Stockade. The force consisted of 30 picked men of the 40th Regiment; mounted, under the command of Lieutenants Hall and Gardyne; 87 men of the same regiment, under Captain Wise and Lieutenants Bowdler and Richards; 65 men of the 12th Regiment, under Captain Queade and Lieutenant Paul; 70 mounted police, under Sub-inspectors Furnell, Langley, Chomley and Lieutenant Cossack; 24 foot police, under Sub-Inspector Carter. Total, 100 mounted and 176 foot. The troops reached the ground just as the morning began to dawn, and when about 300 yards from the Stockade the detachments of the 12th and 40th Regiments ex tended in skirmishing order. The mounted men moved to the left, and threatened the flank and rear of the insurgents. As the advance in this order was being made, a sentry within the Stockade gave the alarm by firing his piece. Upon hearing the shot Captain Thomas said "We are seen. Forward, and steady, men ! Don't fire ; let 'the insurgents fire first. You wait for the sound of the bugle." Within the Stockade were about 150 men, and when the soldiers had approached to the distance of about 150 yards they fired a volley, which wounded Captain Wise, Lieutenant Paul, and three men of the 12th Regiment, and killed two and wounded one man of the 40th. Then the bugle sounded the order to fire, and a general discharge brought down all the insurgents who were visible above the enclosure; nine were killed by this volley. Then the order, "On, 40th! Forward!" was heard, and the soldiers cheered, and notwithstanding scattered shots fired at them, rushed at the enclosure with fixed bayonets, followed by the foot police. The hastily arranged face of the enclosure did not impede the troops an instant, and, breaking through it, a series of combats ensued between brave diggers armed with pikes for their ammunition was spent and the soldiers, who had loaded muskets and bayonets fixed. Some, as the swarm of police joined the soldiers, took refuge in the shallow holes and smithy, and, as one of the military officers wrote, many were put to death in the first heat of the conflict, either by bullet or bayonet thrusts." In less than ten minutes the resistance and slaughter were over. Nine soldiers were wounded, one fatally, in the hand-to-hand combats within the Stockade. Vern, with a number of his companions, did not wait to exchange blows with the troops, but escaped by the rear of the Stockade. Lalor, when the troops fired their first volley, was standing upon the top of a logged-up hole close to the barricade, and was shot in the left shoulder as he was in the act of signing to the defenders to retire to the rifle pits. When wounded he fell under a stack of slabs, some of which, in falling, partially covered him, and when the soldiers charged by the spot he was left for dead. While, the soldiers were busy among the tents making prisoners, three non-combatants, whose curiosity brought them to the spot, saw him, and carried him a short distance down the Eureka Lead to a hollow pile of slabs, into which they lifted him. When the resistance was over, fifteen of the diggers lay dead, sight were fatally wounded,and thirty to forty others were more or less severely wounded, some of whom subsequently died. The Southern Cross flag had been torn down by one of the police at an early stage of the combat, and was carried off to the camp. The troops set fire to all the tents In the enclosure and the immediate vicinity, and collecting all the prisoners, to the number of 125, marched back to the camp. Captain Wise died of his wounds before the week ended. [5]

See also

Further Reading

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


  1. Dictionary of National Biography (Amos)
  2. Geelong Advertiser, 24 February 1855.
  3. Harvey, Jack, Eureka Rediscovered, University of Ballarat, 1994.
  4. Freeman's Journal, 28 October 1854.
  5. Oakleigh Leader, 15 December 1894.

External links