Benjamin Welch

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Background

Benjamin Welch sailed to Australian in 1852 on the Chalmers.[1]

(Also Welch/Walsh) Benjamin Welsh was the husband of Mary Ann Welch and the father of Bernard. He applied for compensation for the destruction of a tent and property after the burning of James Bentley’s Eureka Hotel, and received £40. Welsh saw Rowlands shot after the battle.[2]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Post 1854 Experiences

Obituary

MR. B. WELCH DIES AT NINETY
One of the very few remaining people who had any personal experience of the Eureka Stockade, Ballarat (in 1854), Mr. Barnard Welch, died at his residence in West Subiaco on Tuesday at the age of 90 years, For the past eight years Mr Welch had been totally blind, but his memory was very keen, and he clearly recalled the tragic episode. The late Mr. Welch was born, in London in 1852, and came to Melbourne in the sailing ship Chalmers, with his parents, five other boys and two girls. Only one member of the family now survives. She is Mrs Medcalf who lives with her daughter un Subiaco. She was also was present at the siege.
We stopped for a time at Canvastown Port Phillip, now Colllngwood. Mr. Welch said recently when discussing the adventures of his youth, and then went to Ballarat East, where my father joined in the Little Bendigo goldrush, enjoying good luck.
GOLD AS HIS PAY
'Later we went to the Eureka field, where my father supplied the chums with timber and other things, and I used to wash the dirt in a tub to help to guide the diggers in their search, getting whatever gold I found as my pay. 'One day in October, 1854 a Scotchman named Scobie, who had just arrived, went with his cousin, Archibald Carmichael, to Bentley's Hotel for some whisky. A little later they went back for more, but found the hotel closed. They broke a window, and while returning home were overtaken by Bentley's people as they were passing our tent door. One of the men picked up a spade, and hit Scobie on the head, killing him.
Mr. Welch was a witness at the trial in Melbourne,-. following the committal of Bentley and two other men. He was only just 12 then, and he was paid £8 a day expenses in Melbourne because it was found that the tub of dirt he was washing when he left his job, contained two ounces of gold. This was taken as a days work, and he was allowed £4 an ounce.
THE STOCKADE TRAGEDY
Describing the historic Eureka Stockade in December, 1854, Mr, Welch recalled the digging of trenches and the building of the stockade, in consequence of the imposition of licence fees on the diggers and the drastic action taken by the police when payment was refused.
'One morning said Mr. Welch, soldiers of a British regiment, who had marched from Geelong to Ballarat, were passing the stockade when someone threw a stone, hitting a young drummer on the head and killing him. The drummer was a favorite with the soldiers, and his fate infuriated them. They turned round and charged the diggers in the trenches, and after some resistance the men surrendered, but while being marched along by the soldiers they broke away.
'I was with my father nearby at the time, and a man, who was talking to him, and who had nothing to do with the affair, ran towards his tent to take cover. A trooper called upon him to stop, but he ran on, and the trooper shot him dead. My father called out 'That was a cowardly action and the trooper replied. 'I'll put you down, too in a minute!' I remember those words very clearly but fortunately my father kept a cool head. A little later the troopers showed their spite by setting fire to the diggers' tents over a big area
BUSINESS AT COOLGARDIE
The late Mr. Welch was the fourth son of the late Dr. Benjamin Welch, who before coming to Australia practised in London. Mr. Welch was engaged in the butchering trade in Ballarat West for 40 years, before being attracted to the Western Australian goldfields, where he opened a butcher's shop in Coolgarlie. Later he conducted a carrier's business before retiring to his home opposite the West Subiaco station, where he had lived for the past 26 years.
His death was very peaceful. He suffered a slight stroke a week ago, and took to bis bed. Ho was talking to a relative, and suddenly expired. Until a week ago he was in good health, except for his blindness, and he retained all other faculties until the last. The deceased is survived by four daughters, one of whom is Mrs. Shortland Jones; the well-known social worker, nine grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. His son. Major L. B. Welch was killed in action in the Great War. His wife died four years ago at the age of 83. The funeral took place this afternoon.[3]

See also

Barnard Welch

Further Reading

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

[4]

References

  1. Perth Daily News, 10 May 1934.
  2. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  3. Perth Daily News, 10 May 1934.
  4. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.

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