Bakery Hill

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Charles A. Doudiet, Swearing allegiance to the 'Southern Cross’, 1854, watercolour, pen and ink on paper.
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery with the assistance of many donors, 1996.

Bakery Hill was the hub of the Ballarat goldfields where all roads met in the narrow gully. Hotels, merchants and goldbuyers centred on Bakery Hill[1] to harness passing trade.

A temporary platform had been erected in prepartion for the Bakery Hill meeting of 11 November 1854. J.B. Humffray was in the Chair, and the proceedings were opened by Dr Carr. Thomas Kennedy addresses the crowd starting with "Brother diggers!". He advised unity and to obey the law, but denies the legality of the licence tax. He decalires he would die for the Queen, but would shed the last drop of his blood before paying another licence fee. The Ballarat Reform League is is officially launched at this meeting with J.B. Humffray as the President, Timothy Hayes as Chairman and George Black as Secretary.


On 29 November 1854 a ‘Monster Meeting’ was held on Bakery Hill against the gold licence which was seen as an unjust tax. A flag, representing the Southern Cross, with white stars on a dark blue background, was said to be flown on an eighty foot pole. The diggers took the ‘Oath of the Southern Cross’. They knelt, and with heads uncovered pointed to the banner and said,

We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and defend our rights and liberties.


In the News

During the whole of the morning several men were busily employed in erecting a stage and planting the flagstaff. This is a splendid pole of about 80 feet and straight as an arrow. This work being completed about 11 o’clock, the Southern Cross was hoisted, and its maiden appearance was a fascinating object to behold. There is no flag in Europe, or in the civilised world, half so beautiful and Bakery Hill as being the first place where the Australian ensign was first hoisted, will be recorded in the deathless and indelible pages of history. The flag is silk, blue ground with a large silver cross; no device or arms, but all exceedingly chaste and natural.[2]


St Paul's Ballarat, Federation University Historical Collection.
A very old colonist Mr. John Balderston, died on Tuesday. Born at Kirkaldy, Fifeshire, in 1831, he engaged in 1851 as a station hand with Philip Russell, of Carngham, but hearing at the Cape of the discovery of gold at Port Phillip, he and his companions started for the goldfields on their arrival in Hobson's Bay.
He built the first bakery in Ballarat, near the present St. Paul's Church, since known as Bakery Hill. Some years ago he purchased a property at Glenalvie, near Loch, where he died at the age of 77 years.[3]

Further Reading

Where did the Bakery Hill monster meetings take place?

Also See

Ballarat Reform League

Ballarat Reform League Inc. Monuments Project

Eureka Flag

J.B. Humffray

John Holland

References

  1. The Eureka Trails publicity brochure, undated.
  2. Ballarat Times, 30 November 1854.
  3. The Argus, 28 December 1908.
Samuel Thomas Gill, Deep Sinking, Bakery Hill, Ballarat - 1853, handcoloured lithograph.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ronald Wrigley Estate, 1979.