Eureka 36, 1890
3rd December 1890
To-day is the anniversary of the fight at the Eureka Stockade, which occurred on Sunday morning the 3rd December, 1854, a day that will ever be a memorable one in the history of Ballarat and Australia. It will be remembered that the diggers at Eureka had determined to make a stand against the iniquitous license fees imposed by the Government and resist the digger hunting troopers. The Eureka Stockade was then formed as a screen behind which the diggers might drill, and not merely as a fortification. Mr Peter Lalor was chosen as chief of the insurgents, and the Italian, Carboni Raffaelo, was another prominent leader. As soon as the Government found out what was going on in Ballarat they sent up all the remaining available troops, with men-of-war's men, horse and foot police, four field pieces, and a number of baggage and ammunition waggons, The diggers meant to have a revolution and a declaration of independence was drawn up by, it was said, Alfred Black, who was Lalor's Minister of War. Although the diggers had foraging parties at work, ammunition was not abundant at the Stockade, quartz pebbles being used in some instances in place of shot. The Government authorities fortified Camp Hill on the western plateau, and the insurgents held their ground on the eastern plateau. Every Government employee was armed, and told off to his post, and the principal buildings of the camp were all fortified. At four o'clock on Saturday, the 2nd December, a demonstration in force was made towards Bakery Hill, but the diggers offered no opposition. Thus, as it is well narrated in the "History of Ballarat," before daylight on the 3rd of December, a force of 276 men, including a strong body of cavalry left camp for the purpose of attacking the stockade. At early dawn they reached the position sought, and a detachment of the 40th Regiment, led by Captain Thomas, made a quick advance upon the double breastwork which formed the stronghold of the insurgents. After several volleys were fired, the barrier of ropes, slabs, &c., was crossed, and the de- fenders driven out, or into the holes, with which the place was spotted, and in which many were put to death in the first heat of the conflict. One of the foot police secured the rebel flag. All the tents within the enclosure and in the immediate vicinity were burnt, and the rout of the diggers being complete, attention was then paid to the wounded. From thirty-five to forty of the diggers were killed and several wounded. Two officers were wounded, and one of them, Captain Wise, died. The principal of those who were taken prisoners at the stockade were tried in Melbourne on the charge of high treason and discharged. Thus ended this historical struggle, which was ultimately the cause of many of the wrongs under which the diggers labored being redressed. Our readers, of course, all know how Peter Lalor escaped, that he was for many years Speaker in the Legislative Assembly, and that a suitable monument now marks the spot where he and other valiant digger fought against tyranny.
4th December 1890
Yesterday was the anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, when the memorable fight between the forces of the Government and the diggers took place in 1854, Mr J. B. Humffray, the advocate among the diggers for moderation before the crisis, was one of the few who can well recollect all that occurred on that day. He still holds that the diggers were wrong to act as rashly as they did, and says that if they had only taken his advice, they would have obtained all that they wanted without the loss of a single life. His advice, however, was unheeded, and some of the fiery, sturdy diggers, so he states, thrice threatened to shoot him on the day before the riot, if he did not leave the Stockade. Seeing that his arguments had no good effect on the insurgent diggers, he left the Stockade, and at half-past five o’clock next morning, when he returned to it, the Stockade was a sad scene of devastation and death. Every tent had been destroyed, and those present picked up stray pieces of canvas and covered the faces of the dead with them.
10th December 1890
Page 2A fine model of the Eureka Stockade, the work of Henry Francis Gates and Herbert James Thornton, is at present being placed in position at the Juvenile Industrial Exhibition.