Henry Seekamp

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Walter E. Pidgeon, Illustration from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni, Sunnybrook Press, 1942, offset print.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased 1994.


The Ballarat Times and the Southern Cross was launched on the 4th March 1854 in Mair Street. By December 1854 it had moved to the north-east corner of Victoria and Humffray Streets. The paper was closed down by the government in the aftermath of the Eureka Rebellion after its editor Henry Seekamp was arrested on the 4th December 1854 and charged with sedition.[1] Ironically, Seekamp was the only person ever convicted of a crime as a result of the Eureka Rebellion. He was jailed for three months for sedition.[2]

Henry Erle Seekamp was born in 1829, England. Reaching Victoria in August 1852, he arrived in Ballarat in 1853 to dig for gold so that by 1854 he was able to try his luck as newspaper editor. He was able to import some basic printing equipment and bring it to Ballarat. Seekamp reportedly had an ‘Arts Bachelor’ degre<ref<https://halloffame.melbournepressclub.com/article/henry-seekamp, accessed 16 May 2019.</ref>e from an unnamed university.[3]

In December 1853 he married Clara Maria Duvall.

Henry Seekamp died in 1864.[4]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Henry Seekamp was the first Victorian journalist jailed over editorial principles and the only man to serve a prison term as a result of the Eureka Stockade.[5]

Seekamp used his role as the editor of the Ballarat Times to voice the opinions of the miners. In an editorial in the Ballarat Times on 14 October 1854, the troopers of the Camp received a warning for the way in which they conducted themselves. He printed anti-government sentiments over the Scobie affair. On 18 November he printed can editorial on the development of the Ballarat Reform League. In the weeks leading up to Eureka, Henry contunued to print editorials which supported the diggers' cause. On the day of the rebellino Henry Seekamp was arrested and charged with sedition. The trial took place on 23 January 1855, when he received a six month sentence which was reduced to three months.[6]

Seekamp was a witness examined during the report of the Board appointed to enquire into circumstances connected with the riot at Ballarat, and the burning of James Bentley's Eureka Hotel. [7]

On 04 December 1854 Seekamp was arrested in his office while preparing a report of the Eureka Stockade battle. He was found guilty and imprisoned for seditious libel.[8] Charles Ferguson was the only American taken prisoner, and was chained to Henry Seekamp at gaol.[9]

Of the Ballarat Reform League Henry Seekamp wrote in 1854:

The die is cast and fate has stamped upon the movement its indelible signature. No power on earth can now restrain the united might and headlong stride for freedom of the people of this country and we are lost in amazement while contemplating the dazzling Panorama of the Australian future. We salute the league and tender our hopes and prayers for its prosperity. The league has undertaken a mighty task fit only for a great people – that of changing the dynasty of the Country. The League does not exactly propose nor adopt such a scheme but we know what it means the principles it would inculcate and that eventually it will resolve itself into an Australian Congress. It is not for us to say how much we have been instrumental in rousing up the people to a sense of their own wrongs. We leave that to the public and the world.

Post 1854 Experiences

Henry Seekamp was arrested on 04 December 1854. He was given three months for sedition.

Mr. Seekamp, proprietor of the Ballarat Times, and Mr. John Manning, the reporter, are both committed for trial, on a charge of printing and publishing seditious libels.[10]

The last recorded activity of Henry Seekamp in Ballarat was at the procession to the Eureka Stockade site to mark the second anniversary of the event. His movements from 1856 until his death in 1864 are uncertain, however, he is believed to have spent some time in Sydney and Queenland.[11]

After selling his Ballarat Times newspaper at a profit he was not often seen in Ballarat. He disappeared from public view for months on end. In 1860 he edited a small newspaper at Twofold Bay, New South Wales. He finally reached the Clermont in far north Queensland, where he died peacefully on 19 January 1864.[12]

The Trunk of the Elephant: Henry Seekamp


Henry Seekamp A.B. is a man about whom little is known except for a few years he spent on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s. However, during this time he made a significant impact on the course of events, mainly in his capacity as founder editor and sole proprietor of the first newspaper in Ballarat, the Ballarat Times. His Italian friend, Rafaello Carboni gives us valuable clues to his appearance and temperament in his description:- “Henry Seekamp is a short, thick, rare sort of man of quick and precise movements, sardonic countenance; and one look form his sharp round set of eyes, tells you at once that you must not trifle with him. Of a temper that must have cost him some pains to keep under control, he hates humbug and all sort of yabber-yabber.”[13]

One only has to consider the excellence of Seekamp’s literary style to realise that he is almost certainly an Englishman and has a good educational background (i.e. Arts Bachelor). Withers says “Seekamp was a little man, but a pugnacious writer, and was often in trouble. He was said to write occasionally under inspiration from the source whence tradition tells us Dutchmen have drawn courage. As Chairman of the Royal Commission, Westgarth said “We found here a local newspaper – of course at war with the authorities, local and general – and we amused ourselves with the violent style of the ‘leaders’’’.[14]

Henry Seekamp was born circa 1829 and was therefore only 25 years old when he published the first edition of the “Ballarat Times” on 4th March, 1854. He arrived in Australia two years previously and it is unfortunate that his movements prior to coming to Ballarat are unknown. Nine months after starting his paper and the day after the Eureka uprising, Henry Seekamp was arrested and later tried for sedition. He had the honor of being the only rebel who was convicted and he went to jail for three months. Obviously he was considered to be a threat to law and order in the Colony. Carboni refers to him as “this wild elephant, whose trunk it was supposed, had stirred up the hell on Ballarat.”[15]

Now the trunk of an elephant is very strong. It is flexible, being full of tendons and muscles. An elephant smells, drinks and feeds itself with its trunk. No animal in the world has a better nose. It can feel things with the sensitive tip and can tell the shape of an object. Wild elephants are always sniffing with their trunks, holding them high in the air and then on the ground. The Revolutionary movement on the Ballarat goldfields became the ‘wild elephant’ and Seekamp, through the medium of his paper, was its ‘trunk’.

Is it not in Henry Seekamp, therefore, that we have the real hero of Eureka? Peter Lalor emerged as the leader of Eureka but he had never taken part in any of the diggers’ political agitation before the meeting of 29th November, 1854 at Bakery Hill just prior to the uprising. Lalor went on to succeed in politics and helped to establish the democratic process of government in Victoria. Ironically, Seekamp became a man broken in mind and body, his business failed, he left the goldfields and finally died in Queensland in obscurity. Perhaps if Seekamp had been given recognition for his contribution to history, instead of victimisation, he would have followed in Lalor’s footsteps and contributed further to the progress of the Colony. After all, he was an able and active man, even if he was an idealist and a reactionary.

Before we consider the part Henry Seekamp played in shaping events in Ballarat it is worthwhile looking at his domestic and working life.

Seekamp married a widow named Clara du Val. She was the leading actress of the first canvas theatre set up in the Gravel Pits in December 1853.[16] Clara Marion Lodge was brought up in Dublin and at the age of seventeen she was presented to Queen Victoria in Dublin, at the only function of that nature held by the Queen in that city. Again at the age of seventeen, after a ball given by her father, she ran away with Claude du Val, who was an artist. She married him and they came to Australia, arriving on 29th May 1852 and in Ballarat in March 1853.[17]

“With du Val she took part in theatrical performances in the early days of Ballarat and often appeared before Melbourne audiences.”[18] When her husband died, Clara was left with three small children and when she married Henry, one of her sons (the third and youngest child) took her new husband’s name and was called Francis William du Val Seekamp. Her daughter Clarice had a beautiful voice but died of consumption when young. Another son, Oliver du Val, was born in 1845 and died in 1884 in Melbourne at the age of 39. He is buried with his mother in the Melbourne General Cemetery in a Church of England plot.

Clara tells a story about sitting with her “baby” (presumably Francis) on her knee in her home in Ballarat, facing the troopers who were looking for her husband, Henry, presumably prior to his arrest the day after Eureka. Clara died at the age of 89 years at her son Francis’ residence at Pleasant Street, Pascoe Vale on 22nd January 1908. The “Age” writes “She was of forcible character, high educational attainments and much determination. She numbered many influential friends and was a brilliant conversationalist, and up to the end had a wonderful memory of all that led up to and accompanied the sensational ties which centred in the Eureka Stockade event.”[19] Having considered Seekamp’s family, we turn now to his newspaper, which Carboni referred to as “a plant of cayenne pepper”.[20]

“The Ballarat Tines and Southern Cross was the first paper actually published in Ballarat, the first number being published on 4th March, 1854, at an office in Mair Street, opposite the Market Square. Subsequently the “Times” office was removed to Bakery Hill, near the intersection of the present Victoria and Humffray streets, by the proprietor and editor, Henry Seekamp. The paper lived for several years and died on the 5th October, 1861.”<re>W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat”, p. 63</ref> In 1859 the “Times” office was at Nos. 1-3 Victoria Street. History records the names of several of Seekamp’s working colleagues. “William Benson was once an escort-trooper in South Australia, then a reporter on the “Ballarat Times” and subsequently a mining surveyor”. [21]

Mr. Harrison worked on the “Ballarat Times” and subsequently became manager, editor and sole proprietor of the “Tribune” which appeared on 21st November, 1861 and ended on 11th July, 1863. Blanchard was one of the compositors on the “Ballarat Times”. He informed Withers that after the fight at Eureka “the soldiers had the diggers’ flag hoisted on a pole at the Soldiers’ Hill Camp, and were dancing round it as if wild with joy and grog".[22] John Manning was one of Seekamp’s most influential reporters and appeared with him for trial at the Ballarat Police Court in early December, 1854, following Eureka. In 1867 Manning was fined and jailed for a month on a charge of sedition in New Zealand, concerning a mock funeral for Sinn Fein members who were executed in England for murder.

In 1855 Henry and Clara owned six houses on Bakery Hill in the corner allotment formed by Humffray Street and the Melbourne Road (to the north), five of the houses had street frontages with one behind. They were all detached, one storied, wooden buildings and one of them was the printing office. This was specially built with skylight, etc. and had three rooms attached to it, which made four in all. There was a four roomed residence cottage, a house at the rear (comprising the kitchen and servant’s rooms), a coach house, stables and an iron office detached from the printing office. Seekamp had two rooms entirely to himself for editorial purposes.[23]

Ballarat in 1854 was a swarming city of tents and Bakery Hill in particular was the centre of feverish mining activity. In 1858 the Welcome Nugget (weighing 2217 ounces) was discovered in this area.

It was here on Bakery Hill that Henry lived with his family and conducted his newspaper and printing business. He also concerned himself with civic matters.

In September, 1854 he was a member of a National School Committee which included Rede, Oddie, and James Douglas. In his editorial on 3rd September dealing the “The Denominational and National Systems of Education” he denounced the Denominational School Board at Melbourne and contended that the National Schools in Ballarat were vastly preferable to the Denominational Schools. Seekamp stated that “the education of people should form the first concern of every enlightened state”. [24]

Seekamp was also concerned with the health of the miners and inserted the following Notice in his paper:- “BALLARAT MINERS’ HOSPITAL A general meeting is hereby convened by the committee, subscribers, and all persons desirous of promoting the foundation of a free Hospital for sick and destitute miners of Ballarat. The meeting will take place in the large room at Bath’s Hotel, on Wednesday afternoon at four o’clock. By desire. H. Seekamp Hon. Secretary.”[25]

In November, 1855 the Government granted 5 acres near the Railway Station for the Miners’ Hospital. In 1856 the Base Hospital opened on its present site. Was Seekamp responsible for initiating the health services in Ballarat?

Henry Seekamp identified himself with the miners and their problems, the main one being the method of collecting the Licence Tax. It was through his vitriolic editorials that he was able to voice their grievances, hopes and aspirations. He was the ‘Media Man’ of the moment. Without him the rebellion would not have occurred when it did.

On 23rd September, 1854 in the “Ballarat Times” Police Court Report on “Grog Selling” Seekamp remembers seven years before in Geelong dealing a rebuke to the Chief Constable of Geelong.

In an editorial in the “Ballarat Times” on 14th October, 1854 the troopers and constables of the Camp were admonished for their various misdemeanours. The article concluded with this warning, “Let the Camp gentry be a little more courteous, and act with something like feeling, or they will soon find themselves in a very unenviable position.”

In 1854 there was a series of events which preceded and resulted in the Eureka Affair and Seekamp was a close observer and commentator.

On 21st October, 1854, concerning the murder of Scobie and the burning of Bentley’s Hotel he says … ”the events transpiring at Ballarat are so interesting and so extraordinary that we shall endeavour to record them as fully and as faithfully as possible: not allowing our own private feelings or convictions to carry us away from our duty as the faithful chronicle of Ballarat.”

Then a week later he writes “No one who ponders over the present aspect of affairs at Ballarat, and indeed of all the other mining districts of the country, but must see that something is radically wrong in the administration of affairs to cause such determined opposition to the Government by the mining community, and so great and settled a determination to have that wrong redressed.”[26]

Further grievances are given in a Report of a Board of Enquiry:- “Mr Seekamp, the editor of the “Ballarat Times”, set forth the following grievances, which amount to a general attack upon all the authorities. He complained of the Resident Commissioner acting in opposition the orders of the Lieutenant Governor respecting the licences to storekeepers within a certain distance of the township ….He complains of streets deviating from the lines laid down in original survey, to the detriment of the purchasers of land, - a matter clearly for remonstrance to the Government, not of complaint against the local authorities. He deprecates Mr. Johnstone’s manner when presiding as a magistrate, and finally alludes to anonymous and other communications he has received accusing individuals of the camp, from policemen to commissioners, of being influenced in their public duties by bribes and personal interest. He owns no personal knowledge of these matters, but fervently believes in their truth.”[27] On 11th November a meeting at Bakery Hill, attended by ten thousand men, marked the official inauguration of the Ballarat Reform League with Humffray as President.

On 18th November the “Ballarat Times” editorial read as follows:- “THE REFORM LEAGUE …….”Indeed it would ill become the “Times” to mince in matter of such weighty importance. The league is nothing more or less than the germ of Australian independence. The die is cast, and fate has stamped upon the movement its indelible signature ……. …….. It has never been our desire to embarrass the government of this country, but when the government involves itself, it is our duty, as an independent journalist, to make clear statements of facts, without fear, favour, or partiality …….”

Once again the “Ballarat Times” was first to publish a story and this time it concerned the new flag, the Southern Cross, which was to be a symbol of the diggers’ demands – a flag of freedom and Australia’s independence.

On 29th November the paper published the following:- “It is not for us to say how much we have been instrumental in rousing up the people to a sense of their wrongs, we………that to the public and the world……” “The coming Christmas is pregnant with change, for on next Wednesday will be held such meeting for a fixed determinate purpose as was never before held in Australia. The Australian flag shall triumphantly wave in the sunshine of its own blue and peerless sky over thousands of Australia’s adopted son.” The clash at Eureka occurred soon after, early on Sunday, 3rd December, 1854. “Mr. Seekamp was arrested on the Monday after the capture of the Stockade, he having £105 on him, and about to go to Bendigo. An extraordinary issue of the “Ballarat Times” was in course of publication when Mr. Seekamp was arrested. Hearing of his arrested, a friend called at the “Times” office and found a quiet enough account of the capture of the Stockade, wound up by about a “S………” commencing thus, “This foul and bloody murder calls to high Heaven for vengeance, terrible and immediate,” etc. etc. The copies that had already printed were taken away and burned, all save one, which probably by this time has shared the same fate.”[28] On 8th December Seekamp and Manning appeared at the Ballarat Police Court, together with other prisoners taken at the Stockade. On 1st January, 1855 in the “Ballarat Times” there appeared the ominous Notice “All persons having any demand against me requested to send in their accounts. H. Seekamp.” Immediately beneath appeared the following:- “Nothing extenuate, nor set down out in malice.” TO OUR READERS. A happy new year to you all, and that you may have better health, more wealth, and much more justice this year than during the one just past, is the earnest prayer of your fellow labourer – the Editor.”

His last editorial “The Foreigners” attacks Sir Charles Hotham for his assertion that “the whole and sole cause of the late disturbance at Ballarat is the presence and influence of foreigners.”[29] From this date his wife took over the publishing of the paper while he awaited trial and was in gaol. The “Argus” of 31st January, 1855 reports on the petticoat press as follows:- “The Ballarat Times contains as a leading introduction to its leading article in its last number, a manifesto from Mrs. Seekamp, as startling its tone, and as energetic in its language, malice, and capitals and the free use of the words “sedition”, “liberty”, “oppression” etc. as a Russian ukase would be from the autocrat of all the Russians. I only hope that Sir W. A. Beckett will at once perceive that a lenient sentence upon Mr. Seekamp, and a quick return to his editorial duties, will relieve, at all evoke , the goldfields of Ballarat from the dangerous influence of a free press petticoat government under which we, as a matter of course, must all rol………volens, at once succumb.” Following Eureka, Hotham made a few concessions but was determined for revenge against the rebels. He lay charges of treason against the rebels (they were acquitted) and charges of sedition against the editor of the “Ballarat Times” for opposing him and encouraging the diggers to fight. The trial of Queen v Seekamp commenced on 23rd January, 1855 and Seekamp was accused of sedition, with a strong recommendation to mercy. He received a six month sentence, which was reduced to three months. The “Geelong Advertiser” said… “the sedition proven against the Editor of the Ballarat Times is a very foolish sedition .” …..”our political Pharisees were in reality, the cause of the whole disturbance…..”[30]

In the light of these comments and considering all the circumstances, does it not appear that Seekamp was the victim of a miscarriage of justice? A memorial from the inhabitants of Ballarat, addressed to the Governor, Sir Charles Hotham and received on 29th May, 1855, prayed for the release of Henry Seekamp. The petition is about 30 ft. long, mainly comprising the signatures of the petitioners. The minute of Sir Charles Hotham on this petition reads as follows:- “Say that the disastrous occurrences which took place at Ballarat are too recent to justify me in according to the prayers of the petition.” A memorial was also sent from the inhabitants of Sandhurst, addressed to Sir Charles Hotham, and was received on 13th June, 1855. On this petition Sir Charles Hotham made the following minute:- “I am very sorry but the case has been too recently tried to enable me to comply with Petition’s request.” At the beginning of 1855 Seekamp served his three months gaol sentence and at the end of the year Hotham died, supposedly form dysentery but, according to Withers “his death is attributed to the harassing anxieties which accompanied the crisis.” On 3rd December, 1855, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Rebellion, Carboni sold copies of his record of the events to many of the thousands who attended the ceremonies. His book was called The Eureka Stockade – The consequence of some pirates wanting on quarter-deck a rebellion.

In February, 1856 Seekamp was once again in trouble and this time it was with the courtesan and dancer, Lola Montez. Throughout her life she caused the downfall of many men. Was it her conflict with Seekamp that finally led to his unpopularity with the miners and contributed to his broken health and departure from Ballarat? He had once been their champion, yet later they came to despise him. Lola had performed in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide……..delayed her appearance at the goldfields until a suitable theatre was ready for her. The proprietors of the United States Hotel built the Victoria Theatre in Main Road and here Lola delighted the miners with her famous Spider Dance and other performances. She was also popular with the miners because she ‘shouted’ them drinks, christened a reef and sportingly descended one of their mining holes. The day following Lola’s opening night at the Victoria Theatre a letter appeared in the Ballarat Times under the fictitious name of ‘Civis’, condemning the Spider Dance and claiming that Lola was notorious for her immorality. It said: “The press should be a moral guide to the people. How can it discharge that duty when it fosters an unhealthy excitement about one who to say the least has no claim on our respect and whose notoriety is of an unenviable kind?” That night Lola made a speech form the stage of the Victoria Theatre, repudiating the charge of immorality and accusing Henry Seekamp of accepting her hospitality and getting very drunk in her presence. The Ballarat Star reported that she had said: “That great gentleman attacks poor little innocent me. I am called notorious for my immorality. While he was at my house the sherry and port and champagne were never off the table. You all know Mr. Seekamp is a little fond of drinking. I was a ten-pound note out of pocket by Mr. Seekamp but I was rather green at the time. “His wife is obliged to do his duty while he goes out drinking……a good for nothing fellow. Mrs Seekamp told me that the …… a set of --- hogs. He told me that he was a great man in Ballarat; and could do as he liked. He said, ‘I am going to be made a member of the Legislature.’” Mr. Cosby (the theatre manager) thought that the other paper (The Star) was a young, a rising, and a more respectable one, and that this, belonging to a drinking, good-for-nothing fellow, could not do the printing properly. He - this Mr. Seekamp – has said he will write me out of town.”[31] The following day Lola won a riding whip at a lottery and said that she would use it on the editor who had offended her. Seekamp came to hear of this and went to the United States Hotel with his whip. When Lola hit him on the shoulders he returned the “compliment with interest”.

Seekamp addressed an open letter to Miss Montez in his paper signing it with his own name. Mainly it was defence against her attack on him from the stage but one sentence in it seemed to invite legal action for defamation: “You say I ate with you and drank with you and I wonder you did not go further, but perhaps you could not call on Mr Crosby to prove it.”[32] This provoked another horse whipping incident in the United States Hotel which was broken up by the crowd when the assailants started tearing at hair and clothes. The crowd began to hoot and hiss at Seekamp and hit him with various missiles so he retired to a nearby hotel. On the 23rd February, 1856 Lola Montez laid an information alleging criminal libel against Henry Seekamp. Seekamp was committed for trial at Geelong Circuit Court on 10th April and released on bail of £300 with two sureties’ of £150. When the libel hearing was due to begin in Geelong, no evidence was presented and the case was struck out. Lola did not attend Court – she had left Ballarat and was appearing at Castlemaine.

Meanwhile, Lewis, Miss Montez’ solicitor, had begun his own criminal libel case against Seekamp, who in his newspaper had referred to Lewis as “the dirty petty fogging Jew informer”. He was fined £100 for the libel on Lewis. One wonders whether Seekamp’s vindictive attitude towards Lola had more to it than protecting the morals of the public. It is strange to consider that his wife had also been an actress and was only a year younger. Was he jealous of Lola’s fame and fortune, or did he see Lola as a threat to his wife’s reputation? However, Clara and Lola were completely different characters and their lives were poles apart. Lola Montez left Australia in June. 1856 and arrived in San Francisco without any money or her Manager. Both had disappeared overboard near Fiji in strange circumstances. Once again she tried acting but her day was past and she was ailing. She became religious and probably knew she was dying. She exhibited herself to prostitutes as a warning of what could happen to women who contracted syphilis. At the age of 42 she died, destitute and alone. Meanwhile, the fortunes of Henry Seekamp also declined. On 4th October, 1856 there appeared in the “Ballarat Times” a Sale Notice. …….”In consequence of the present Proprietor being called to England for a short time.”

The business was sold the following day and on 23rd October the first publication appeared under new management, together with a tribute:- “To H. Seekamp, Esq. is due the credit of first providing the practicability of establishing gold fields’ journals. It is not surprising that years of toil, arduous and exacting, should have led him to desire the quietude of retirement; and we trust that a cessation from active political warfare will contribute to the re-establishment of his shattered health.” A week later there appeared a letter in the “Ballarat Times” signed MEDICUS calling for a public testimonial dinner “to cheer and solace Mr. Seekamp when far distant from his family, in search of improved health; and be no more than a simple act of duty and gratitude on the part of those in this district whom he has studied to benefit.” MEDICUS also writes “I am very unwilling to judge harshly of his previous supposed misdeeds or revolutionary sentiments. It is sufficient for me to know that Mr. Seekamp has already suffered and suffered fearfully, in mind and body, for all of them, and that much of the prosperity, tranquillity, and progress of this wealthy district is unquestionably the result of Mr. Seekamp’s devotion to the cause of the miner, at a time, too, when it was suffered to be neglected.” There appears to be no further correspondence on this matter, so one wonders whether Henry Seekamp was, in fact, given a grand farewell when he left Ballarat. Just over a month later Seekamp was in a procession from the Stockade to the Cemetery to make the second anniversary of Eureka. The editorial of the day in the “Ballarat Times” concerns “Memory of the Dead” when “the first blood was shed for Australian liberty.” Perhaps it is fitting that this should be the last recorded activity of Henry Seekamp in Ballarat.

His movements from this time until his death are uncertain but it is believed that in 1858 he established a printing works in Smythesdale and ran the newspaper “Smythesdale Despatch”. It is known that in 1861 Seekamp was ill and was in Sydney. His wife held a Power of Attorney on his behalf in connection with a Select Committee enquiry into claims made by her for loss of property. In 1856 five of their six houses were removed to widen the Melbourne Road and then a twelve foot high cutting was made. The Seekamps purchased more ground at the back and built three more houses so they could carry on their business but in 1859 three more houses were demolished, which left them with one out of nine.

According to Clara Seekamp, the inconvenience of the cutting and the loss of buildings caused a serious decline in business and the success of the other newspaper was due to their misfortunes. The Seekamps had possession of the land on account of four diggers’ licences and a business license.[33] One the other hand, the Lands Department had a right to appropriate Crown land to extend the Melbourne Road. However, it would not be surprising if Seekamp felt he was being harassed unduly as a reprisal. The outcome was that in 1862 £500 compensation was paid for loss of business and property. Henry Seekamp’s troublesome life finally came to and end on 19th January, 1864 at Drummond Diggings, Clermont, at the age of 35. His death certificate records:

Occupation: Journalist.

Cause of Death: Natural causes accelerated by Intemperance.

Name & surname of Father and Mother: Unknown

Where married: Unknown

Issue living: None

Where born: Unknown. 12 years in Victoria, N.S.W., Queensland

It is interesting to note that once again he was a Journalist living at the ‘Diggings’. Perhaps he was trying to recapture the spirit of Eureka but unfortunately another spirit seems to have poisoned his genius and hurried him to a youthful grave. Mark Twain says of the Eureka Revolt: “I think it may be called the finest thing in Australian history. It was a revolution-small in size, but great politically; it was a strike for liberty, a struggle for a principle, a stand against injustice and oppression. It was another instance of a victory won by a lost battle. …..They keep green the memory of the men who fell at the Eureka Stockade, and Peter Lalor has his monument.”[34] But what about Henry Seekamp, “the trunk of the wild elephant”?


Mr Dunne, on behalf of Mr. Seekamp, stated that two important witnesses in the above trial, namely, George Dunmore Lang and John Manning, were undergoing imprisonment in her Majesty's gaol; and applied for a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum for their appearance at the trial.
The application was granted.
The court then adjourned until ten o'clock this day.[35]

See also

Ballarat Reform League

Ballarat Times

John Manning

Clara Seekamp

United States Hotel

Further Reading

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


  1. The Eureka Trails publicity brochure, undated.
  2. http://www.peacebus.com/Eureka/111128ToscanoMedia.html
  3. Rod Kirkpatrick, Eureka and the editor: A reappraisal 150 years on, https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:9519/Eureka.pdf
  4. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  5. https://halloffame.melbournepressclub.com/article/henry-seekamp, accessed 16 May 2019.
  6. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  7. Report of the Board appointed to Enquire into Circumstances Connected with the Late Disturbance at Ballarat, John Ferres, Government Printer, Melbourne, 21 November 1854.
  8. The Eureka Trails publicity brochure, undated.
  9. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  10. Hobart Colonial Times, 19 December 1954.
  11. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  12. https://halloffame.melbournepressclub.com/article/henry-seekamp, 16 May 2019.
  13. Raffaello Carboni, “The Eureka Stockade”, Melbourne University Press, 1869. p. 114
  14. W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat”, F.W. Niven & Co. 1887, p. 143
  15. Raffaello Carboni, “The Eureka Stockade”, Melbourne University Press, 1969, p.114
  16. W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat”, p. 66
  17. Roll Book- Ballarat Pioneers (Ballarat Historical Society) p. 38
  18. “Argus” 25th January, 1908 p. 15(a)
  19. “Age” 25th January, 1908
  20. W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat”, p. 100
  21. W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat”, p.74
  22. W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat”, p. 158
  23. Report of a Select Committee Paper D.33 (Year 1860-1862)
  24. “Ballarat Times” – 2nd September, 1854
  25. “Ballarat Times” – 2nd September, 1854
  26. “Ballarat Times”, 28th October, 1854
  27. Parliamentary Papers. Legislative Assembly of Victoria. Riot at Ballarat 1854 A. No. 27
  28. W.B. Withers, “The History of Ballarat” p. 128
  29. “Ballarat Times” 1st January, 1855
  30. “Geelong Advertiser” 26th January, 1855 and 3rd February, 1855.
  31. Harry Gordon “An eyewitness History of Australia” Rigby Ltd. Aust 1976 p.59
  32. Harry Gordon “An eyewitness History of Australia” Rigby Ltd. Aust 1976 p.60
  33. Report of a Select Committee Paper D. 33 (Year 1860-1862)
  34. Mark Twain, “Mark Twain in Australia and New Zealand” Penguin Books Ltd 1973 p. 233
  35. The Argus, 20 January 1855.

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