Ballarat Reform League Inc. Chewton Monument

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The Great Meeting of Diggers

With the news of further discoveries of gold more and more people rushed to seek their fortune. The Forest Creek Diggings, near Mount Alexander, saw the few diggers that arrived in September 1851 become a multitude by November 1851 as word got out about the abundance of gold being found there.[1]

The colonial government in Melbourne proposed doubling the already unpopular licence fee from 30 shillings to three pounds, paid in advance. The resentment and frustration expressed by the diggers at this new outrage led to a public meeting near the shepherd's hut on the Forest Creek Diggings at 4pm on 15th December 1851. It is believed that around 14,000 people attended the meeting.[2]

Because of the huge numbers of diggers that came to the meeting it became known as The Great Meeting of Diggers. [3]

The meeting was a peaceful one. It was recorded in a drawing by David Tulloch and later engraved by Thomas Ham. The image of the engraving as well as early maps and drawings of the Diggings at Forest Creek were used to determine the exact site of the meeting in what from 1856 became known as Chewton.[4]

The monument to this significant meeting is placed near the site of the former shepherd's hut.[5]

John Semmens of the Ballarat Reform League Inc. and Professor Weston Bate stand on the dray addressing the crowd at the unveiling of the monument, 15 December 2005.

Location of the Chewton monument

Golden Point Rd, Chewton. Turn north off the Pyrenees Highway, where there is a prominent sign indicating the direction. The plaques are on the left hand side of Golden Point Road, less than half a kilometre from the turn-off.

Also See

Ballarat Reform League

Ballarat Reform League Inc.

Ballarat Reform League Inc. Monuments Project

Ballarat Reform League Inc. Bendigo Monuments

Ballarat Reform League Inc. Creswick Monument


Map of Victoria showing sites of Ballarat Reform League Inc. monuments, Courtesy Ballarat Reform League Inc.

Other Sites


't the site as it is today, Glenn Braybrook points to the area where the Great Meeting of Diggers took place. This is a copy of a photograph by Antoine Fauchery of the Forest Creek Diggings, taken in 1858. This, along with original maps and drawings from the Barbara James collection held at the Chewton Town Hall, helped to identify the site.'
'Installation of the monument. John Ellis, Chewton Domain Society, Margaret Rich, Ballarat Reform League Inc., Daryl Wilson of RockWorks in Ballarat with Eddie and Ron, also from RockWorks.'
'Professor Weston Bate inspects the monument to the Great Meeting of Diggers after the unveiling on 15th December 2005.'