Monday 3 July 2017

The Eureka Rebellion In Ballarat

A recent visit to Ballarat , 110 kilometres north west of Melbourne on a cold wet and windy day to see the memorials for my long departed grandparents resulted in time spent in and around Ballarat and its gold mining heritage and it was clear that I had forgotten the details of the Eureka Rebellion that occurred in December 1854 , and event that has some significance in Australian history and a movie starring Chips Rafferty as Peter Lalor, the leader of the rebellion.

In brief, the rebellion  was the result of a period of  unrest by miners in Ballarat who objected to the miner's licence fees. Governor Latrobe proclaimed that the government had the rights to all mining  proceeds  and a license of 30 shillings  per month which was a significant fee back then. Miner's protested and the government raised the fee and the miners became agitated and gathered arms. The militant miners were lead by Peter Lalor and on December 1 they gathered at Bakery Hill, burnt the flag  and their licenses  and swore to defend their rights and liberties. They built a crude stockade from timber and over-turned carts and on December 3 some 276 soldiers approached the stockade and outclassed the miners. All up at least 27 people died in the battle that ensued. Of the 120 or so miners detailed after the rebellion  thirteen were brought to trial. and all 13 were finally acquitted.

If in Ballarat there are various reminders of the Eureka Rebellion. The Eureka Trail is well signed and the there is the Eureka Monument built in 1884.

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