James Ryce

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Samuel Thomas Gill, Marking the Claim, c1852, watercolour and gum arabic on paper.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, gift of Mr. Tony Hamilton and Miss. S.E. Hamilton, 1967.


Goldfields Involvement, 1854

James Ryce was a member of the Royal Commission. He was a member of the Miners Court from 14 July 1855.

Post 1854 Experiences

Capt Brown did not lecture on Monday night for the simplest of reasons, Bath would not give him his room. The meeting to-day was held at 3p.m., the main speakers were as usual. The following are the resolutions; it was "erambe bis decocta," alias "cauId kail het again." The first resolution was proposed by C. F. Nicholls, seconded by James Ryce. "That this meeting protests most earnestly against the course pursued by the Attorney General in the case of the Ballarat state prisoners, and against the insult offered to the inhabitants of Melbourne in the persons of the jurymen, and denounces as cruel and tyrannical the unconstitutional suspension of the Habeas Corpas Act, in the punishing of many by a tedious imprisonment, who have not been found guilty, and whom the Attorney General dare not bring to trial before an honest jury for fear of an acquittal " Proposed by J. B. HUMFFRAY, and seconded by H. S. BINNEY, "That this meeting adopts the prospectus, and pledges itself to support the Victorian Reform League." Proposed by J. F. COLEMAN, and seconded by Captain BROWN, "That this meeting tenders its thanks to those members of the Bar who have taken part in the defence of the Ballarat State prisoners." The meeting on Bakery Hill was about from 400 to 500. A collection was made to the amount of 10/. The new rush near the "Star" is said by some to be doing well, others contradict the assertion. A few days will determine the matter.[1]

Mr. James Ryce, member, of the Local Court, then proposed Mr. John Basson Humffray as a fit and proper person to represent the interests of the diggers in the Legislative Council of the colony of Victoria. He knew Mr. Humffray to be a man of superior abilities and well qualified for the work required of him, but that would be chiefly found in the call for the amendment of the laws relating to the gold-fields, and he felt confident that in the framing of those important amendments, few were better qualified than the gentle man he had the pleasure of proposing. (Hear, hear ) Every one know those laws, as they at present stood, were very imperfect, and what was more necessary than, to have a man as their representative who know how to remedy the evil, as well us to feel assured that in other respects the same individual was a man of integrity, and would serve them faithfully. (Hear, hear.) He did not wish to take up their time by needlessly dwelling upon the well-known merits of Mr. Humffray, whom he had a great pleasure in proposing as their future representative. (Cheers.) Mr. John Yates, also of the Local Court, was proud to be the seconder of Mr. Humffray's nomination, he had known Mr. Humffray for some time as a man of superior ability, although persons did exist who had endeavoured to malign his character, and he (Mr. Yates) now challenged any one who did so to oome forward. (Cries of no one, and of hear, hear.") It was true that the brightness of a glass might be dimmed by the dust that gathered on its surface from apparent disuse, and some evil disposed persons might cast mud upon that surface, thinking to dim its lustre for ever; but when the time came for resuming its original brightness, in clearing off the mud the dust was taken away with it also— (cheers) ... [2]

See also

Ballarat Local Court

J.B. Humffray

Further Reading

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


  1. Geelong Advertiser, 15 March 1855.
  2. Tasmanian Daily News, 20 November 1855.

External links