Goldfields Involvement, 1853-1854
Signed the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition. 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
- SUICIDE BY DROWNING.
A very old resident of Charcoal Gaily, Chewton, named Colville Armstrong, committed suicide yesterday morning in the Junction Re servoir, which is situated near the railway line between the Chewton station and the Elphinstone tunnel. Some time ago deceased became deprived of the sight of one eye through an accident, and has since been in a despondent mood occasionally. On Sunday night his wife observed him to be in a melancholy state, and advised him to go to bed. He refused to do so for some time, but afterwards retired to rest. At about 7 o'clock yesterday morning Armstrong left his house, accompanied by his dog, and as he did not return to dinner, his wife became alarmed as to his whereabouts. Towards noon, however, a man named Daniel O'Grady heard a dog barking, and also noticed a hat and walking stick on the bank of the reservoir, which was used at one time to supply the local station with water for feed purposes. O'Grady suspected that a person had committed suicide and gave an alarm. Information having been given to Constables Arthur and Foers at Chewton, steps were taken to recover the body, which proved to be that of Armstrong. The reason assigned for his act of self-destruction Is that whilst suffering from despondency, and no doubt temporary insanity, he became tired of his life, and ended his career in the manner stated. De ceased, who was about 63 years of age, leaves a widow, and grown-up family. He was a tin smith by trade, and was in the habit of paying house-to-house visits in the district in pursuit of his occupation. The body was brought to the Quartz Miners' Arms Hotel, Chewton, where it awaits an inquiry, which will be held at 10 o'clock this morning.
- Mount Alexander Mail, 26 February 1889.
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