William Creelman

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Signatures of William Creelman & John Jones from the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition
Signature of William Creelman from the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition
Detail of Chart of Van Diemen’s Land from the best authorities and from surveys George William Evans (1780-1852) dated January 29th 1822. State Library of Victoria
William Creelman & John Jones, McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser, Friday 30 June 1865, page 3
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



There are two possibilities of a William Creelman signing the petition. One William was said to be born in Northern Ireland, while the other William was said to be born in Montreal, Canada. They could even be the same man, but more research needs to be undertaken to ascertain more information. I have included information that is at hand to date. Please contact if you have more information.

William Creelman was born to John Creelman and his wife Elizabeth Camble in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He was convicted at London Derry [sic] in 1842 and sentenced to 7 years transportation. Creelman was transported on the North Briton arriving in Hobart in 1843. He was probated and employed by Mrs Lackey at Bagdad, Tasmania. He married Catherine on 7 October 1851 in Hobart. His name at the time of his marriage was spelt as Crellman. Her name is variously given as Lonry-Lowry and Ryan, also Gloury and Glory! Catherine arrived in Hobart on 26 August 1849 with her parents Michael Gloury and Margaret MacQuiniff (also known as Macneiff) on the vessel William Jardine. Catherine married William Creelman (Crellman) in Hobart in 1851. Catherine died on 21 August 1896. William Creelman and Catherine Gloury had a daughter Mary Ann Creelman.[1]

Goldfields Involvement, 1853-1854

Blacksmith William Creelman signed the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition, but his name has been previously transcribed as "Crulmony". Five entries above Creelman's signature is the signature of John Jones, who applied for a Gold Mining Licence with Creelman in June 1865.

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 1865 William Creelman was living at Heathcote.[2]


Creelman died in 1893 and was buried on 9 June 1893 at Heathcote.

DEATH OF MR CREELMAN.-We are sorry this week to have to record the death which occurred on Saturday morning last, of a very old resident of Costerfield, Mr William Creelman. Mr Creelman had been connected with mines at Costerfield for a number of year as manager and engineer, other mines. He also taking an interest in the mines. He had been ailing for some time, but last week he received a paralytic stroke, the cause of death being cerebal haemorrhage. Mr Creelman erected the first machinery at the old and celebrated Costerfield mine. He floated the North Costerfield mine, holding about three parts of the interest in it, and conducted it as owner fon about, 4 years, and was also interested in ming at Heathcote. He after wards went to Western Australia, and was manager of the Geraldine Copper mine there. he was afterwards in several parts of Tasmania in mining business there. (In the opening of the Dark River Goldfield, beyond Beechworth, he went there to report on some of the mines, remaining about two months. While there he caught a severe cold in the head, resulting in inflammation of a membrane of the ear. He was in Rushworth between three and four years, managing the well-known Phoenix mine there. He afterwards went to the borders of Queensland, and was there some time, managing a gold mine. He left there about twelve months ago and came home, and from the effects of the inflammation arising from the cold caught at the Dark River Goldfield, for the twelve months previous to receiving the paralytic strike, he only enjoyed middling health. The deceased who was aged 65, leaves a wife and family grown up to mourn their loss. As Showing the respect in which, the deceased was held the funeral, which took place on Sunday, was very largely attended, there being over 30 vehicles in the procession and a number of horsemen. The remains were interred in the Heathcote Cemetery the burial service being read by the Rev, Mr Finter.[3]


See also

  Bendigo Goldfields Petition   Ballarat Reform League Inc. Monuments Project

John Jones  

Further Reading



  1. Wm Creelman, Tasmania, Australia, Convict Court and Selected Records 1800-1899, Employment, Registers of the employment of probation passholders 1848-1857, Research by Dorothy Wickham 2020.
  2. McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser, Friday 30 June 1865.
  3. McIvor Times, 8 June 1893.


External links


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