Eureka Government Camp

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Eureka Site Plan, 1870 This plan shows Stockyard Hill, The Orphan Asylum, and the Free Trade Hotel
Gilbert Andrew Amos sworn — In November last I was Commissioner at the Eureka Camp; it was about 2¼ miles from the Camp at Ballarat; Bakery Hill is distant about ¾ of a mile from the Ballarat Camp; the plan produced is a correct description of the Camp, and features of the country. (Witness here was requested to mark out the position of Bakery Hill, and Eureka Camp, and the route the soldiers took when marching to the attack.) Mr Chapman submitted that if the plan is submitted as evidence, stricter proof of its accuracy should be given, and not rely upon the mere jotting down by pencil of this or that position by any witness who may be required to point out the localities mentioned in the examination. [1]

Former Court House

The old local court, which is about to be pulled down to make way for the erection of the City Free Library, is perhaps the most interesting relict of that golden city of the past, whose, fame spread with such wonderful rapidity from one end of the earth to the other. The assemblage of diggers which sat in this building, exercising both legislative and administrative powers, was one of the first fruits of that aggressive movement against the shameful goldfields’ policy which culminated in the Eureka Stockade, at which the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (the Hon. P. Lalor), lost his arm. It was in this old building, which was erected almost ere the tramp of the soldiers aud the voice of the sentinel had ceased to fall upon the ear, that many of the notabilities of Ballarat began their public career. Broad featured, manly, honest John Yates, long since gone to his rest. Weeks—he of the Ipse dixit ; the embodiment of pining literature. Weeks, with his fiddle, who afterwards sprang with a bound from the position of a porter to a seat in the Legis lature. A. A. O'Connor, with his soft musical voice in conversation,and his clarionet like organ when addressing meetings. A. A. O'Connor whom the hon. and gallant colonel and J. M‘lntyre hoisted into a waggon and public notoriety at the same time on old Bendigo the best exponent of stump oratory yet seen in the colony', R. M. Serjeant, manager of the Band of Hope and Albion Consols, best of Ballarat citizens aud one of the first members returned to Parliament for the newly formed Ballarat West electorate. Willie Frazer, most corpulent of members that ever sat in Parliament. He who won Host Stutt’s favorite lion at a raffle, and demanded that it be brought forth after midnight aud placed beside him in his buggy. Large hearted big brained Willie Frazer, who had force enough of character to have placed him iu the highest position attainable in the colony. Duncan Gillies, now Premier of Victoria, a man evidently not sufficiently' appreciated in those days, as none but his most intimate associates credited him with those brilliant qualities which he has since displayed. These and many others first raised their voice* as public men in the old building which iu a few days will be gone for ever. The room until lately occupied by the Mining Department was, at the time of the Eureka Stockade, used as a hospital for the wounded miners, the injured soldiers being treated at the Military Camp, further up the hill. Near here, on one occasion, the doctor who was attending to the wounded men was challenged by a sentry. Neglecting the challenge, the sentry tired. Fortunately, the bullet missed its mark, but went through the wooden wall adjoining, aud the mark has often been pointed out by old pioneers as a relic of stirring times. The warden’s rooms were at the weatherboard structure near by', facing Camp street, aud known as Graham’s buildings, or the “ Trades’ nail.” Here the first local court was opened iu 1855, under the presidency of Commissioner James Daly. Amongst those who constituted the court were Mr James Baker, who is now a police magistrate aud warden iu New South Wales, aud Messrs Yates, A. A. O’Connor, Samuel Thompson, Green, and Miskelly. In 1557 the first mining board held its initial meeting, amongst the members elected being Messrs D. Gillies, Baker, W. Fraser, R. Lamb, A. A. O’Connor, R. M. Serjeant, Reid, James, and Yates. Amongst the lawyers who practised at the court was Mr Rainey, a West Indian, who amassed a considerable fortune. Concerning the dates, all the old residents are very hazy, and any attempt at absolute correctness would be futile. The main facts, however, will, we think, be found correct. Near Graham’s buildings is a spot that is pointed out as that where Captain Wise, of the 40th Regiment, was attended to for wounds which afterwards proved fatal. Before the end of the month these old buildings will be sold by auction and preparations made for razing them to the ground. It is fitting that a building called into exist ence in the manner described should be replaced by one of an enduring character, erected for the especial purpose of permanently benefiting the people. Nevertheless there are many residents of Ballarat who will view with regret the demolition of structures around which cluster so many memories of stirring times.[2]

Also See

Gilbert Amos

Government Camp, Camp Street


Treason Trials


  1. Geelong Advertiser, 24 February 1855.
  2. Ballarat Star, 15 July 1887.