Raffaello Carboni

From eurekapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Raffaello Carboni
State Trial Prisoners, Mount Alexander Mail, 02 March 1855.
State Prisoners from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.


The multi-lingual Raffaello Carboni was born in 1817 at Urbino, Italy. He participated in the Garibaldian revolutionary wars in Italy during the 1840s, and supported the Risorgimento.[1]

After being arrested in 1854 a reporter described Carboni as: an Italian, of middle age, of spare but vigorous form. His hair and beard are thin, and of a red color. He has black eyes, and an earnest, enthusiastic manner. He was secretary to Mazzini when Rome was captured, and bears the traces of several wounds.

Carboni estimated around 500 men took up arms during the Eureka Affair by 29 November 1854, and this, he wrote, was before the Americans became involved.[2]

Carboni died on 24 October 1875, aged 57.[3]

William Henry Archer by John Botterill. State Library of Victoria (H29504)
William Henry Archer", Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Golden Point and the Alluvial Goldwashers
Courtesy Ballarat Heritage Services.

Carboni reached the Ballarat goldfields in 1852. He had moderate success at Golden Point and Magpie Gully, then spent some time as a shepherd where he experienced living with Aborigines. He returned to Ballarat mid-1853 and became embroiled in the digger' grievances over the gold license tax, and the manner in which the authorities were policing the collection of the licence fee. Because of his language skills he was chosen by Peter Lalor to act as a go-between with the non-English speaking European miners.

Carboni was one of twelve miners charged with high treason as a result of the Eureka Stockade. Not long after his capture evidence was given against him. Trooper Henry Goodenough said Raphaello made a speech. Gentlemen soldiers, those that cannot provide themselves with firearms, let them provide themselves with a piece of steel, if it is only six inches long, attached to a pole, and that will pierce the tyrant's heart." He marched his men to Eureka, and drilled them there on that and the following day. In answer to Raphaello, witness said that prisoner's company were more than one-half foreigners, apparently Germans and French. [4]

Private James Goar of the 40th regiment, charged the stockade. Carboni and two others charged him with pikes as he entered the stockade. He jumped out of the stockade and ran back, pursued by Carboni till he met the troopers. Carboni then retreated till he reached the Eureka Stockade. [5]

Raffaello Carboni, in his usual florid style, describes the attack on the Stockade: "Remember this Sabbath Day (3rd December) to Keep it Holy. - I awoke. Sunday morning. It was full dawn, not daylight. A discharge of musketry - then a round from the bugle - the command "forward" - and another discharge of musketry was sharply kept on by the red-coats (some 300 strong) advancing on the gully west of the Stockade, for a couple of minutes. The shots whizzed by my tent. I jumped out of the stretcher and rushed to my chimney facing the Stockade. The forces within could not muster above 150 diggers." He goes on to relate, "Dead and wounded had been fetched up in carts, waiting on the road, ............ I hastened, and what a horrible sight! Old acquaintances crippled with shots, the gore protruding from the bayonet wounds, their clothes and flesh burning all the while. Poor Thonen had his mouth literally choked with bullets; my neighbor and mate Teddy More (sic), stretched on the ground, both his thighs shot, asked me for a drop of water. Peter Lalor, who had been concealed under a heap of slabs, was in the agony of death, a stream of blood from under the slabs heavily forcing its way down hill."

Raffaello Carboni wrote a letter to his friend William Henry Archer on 18 October 1854.


Pre paid

W.H. Archer Esq., Acting Registrar General, Registrar General’s Office, MELBOURNE. Eureka

Balaarat [sic] Gold Fields, Eureka. October 18th, 1854.

Dear, Dear Mr. Archer, Hearing and reading the deplorable news from Ballaarat [sic], I am satisfied you feel some anxiety about me and therefore these few lines will be welcome to you.

As an eyewitness, camping within five minutes walk of the late Eureka Hotel, I intend to give you a positive account of what I did see, did hear, do know.

For the last few months the Police has been very severe in searching out for Licences under the laudable design, as it was given to understand, of ridding these Gold Fields of bad characters without Licence. 3 weeks ago the Police stopped short the German band, whilst playing the diggers’ favourite tune “Ben Bolt” – those beggarly Germans had no “Licence” and were forth with driven to the Camp. A fortnight ago a “trooper” behaved like a brute to the servant of the Catholic Priest here on the Eureka: that Servant is an invalide and utterly incapable of extricating himself if he were put among the Gravel Pit holes on the line: yet was considered worthy the ”pluck” to assault a trooper in the execution of his asking for Licences – Ridiculous! The case came before the Magistrate at the Camp, and if you wish to know how it came off, please read the affair as reported in the Balaarat times of last (Saturday) week – I have seriously to write to you on a “very different” sad affair-

It was under these very unsatisfactory feelings, prompted by many other complaints old and new, that the Diggers annoyed, enough for “Licence hunting” – hear- of a man found dead in a deep hole, - a Boy drowned, - the Bank of Victoria stopping payment, horses stolen in every direction, - almost every-night “sticking up of some store or Tent”, - and, paramount of all then on Saturday October 8 morning between one and two a man was murdered a dozen yards from the Eureka Hotel already envied enough for evil. Amongst us Diggers the story runs so as authenticated – Two “Scotchmen Diggers” met together on Friday the previous and were to connuctudine Britannerum went off a drinking for old acquaintance sake. In the above night they called at the Eureka Hotel, and seeing lights inside knocked at the door for more drink. They were refused entrance: yet persisted in violently knocking at the door and eventually broke a glass panel, and satisfied with “the fun” went on their way. God Almighty knows the truth of the rest: for us, - one deplorable thing is certain, - one of them two was knocked on the head and murdered.

At the subsequent Inquest, both the rights of humanity and Law were outraged. No, not even at the “Inquisition”, had they an Inquest there, such proceedings would be tolerated. Eventually the day after it, Bentley the Landlord of the Public House, was taken up to the Camp, the diggers waited impatiently to hear of the judicial investigation -; where by a most flagrant violation of the jurisprudence the same Land lord who had been imprisoned in the morning under a warrant for Murder, was again on the evening of same day was squattering at his Hotel to the immense astonishment of every one. I believe never was heard before that a man charged with committing murder could by the English Law get off on “bait” and hence: the subsequent disposal of the Case, which you may read in the Ballarat Times of last Saturday, exasperated the feelings of the diggers very bitterly, and the general impression was, that “bribery” had smothered the affair in all quarters.

The testimony of the women and the Boy, who had heard, and thought it was from Mrs. Bentley “that’s the way to treat these ?” at the time of the murder was not satisfactorily contradicted – and, the story of Bentley’s Butcher that he saw ? men and a woman coming up at that time from the Gravel Pit’s direction, is improbable to say the least of it: there was no robbery committed, or attempted, had it been so, the people around the tents must have heard some word or other to that effect-; the mate of the murdered man assures, they had no quarrel to settle with any one and therefore, no one was after them for vengeance. The common impression of the Diggers is this: that the Murderers came out of Bentley’s Hotel, perhaps with no other intention but to punish ? by a couple of unruly drunken Scotch, giving them a good thrashing; what after all would have been a case of Manslaughter. Two bungling unenglish way however the Investigation was conducted at the Camp, irritated every Digger and unhappily confirmed it in all minds that Bentley was the murderer. The prayer of every honest heart, is that God soon be pleased in his mercy and justice to reveal the Secret, and make known, who actually are the Criminals; - but on last Sunday the digging population after hearing and reading on all sides, appeared not to be able to come to any other conclusion, that the murder had been perpetrated by Bentley and or his people.

On Monday last it was current on all these Diggings that a meeting would be held at 12 o’clock the subsequent Tuesday before the Eureka Hotel. Myself, I did see no Placard or Notice either in Print or writing, but it appears to me that an invisible yet al efficient telegraph passed the News to the purpose from mind to mind. I was there in person – I was astonished at the immense number of people congregated, near, far far off.[6]

Carboni wrote:

On the unfortunate Sunday morning December 3, when a collision took place between the Authorities and the Diggers of Balaarat [sic] I unhappily was present at the Eureka Stockade; and in the course of the morning when attending wounded men at the London Hotel I was arrested by seven troopers, handcuffed and dragged to the lockup.

On my arrival there in common with other prisoners, we were commanded to strip. While so doing we were kicked and knocked about by half-drunken troopers and soldiers who were drinking 'ad libitum' f rom a bucket of brandy with their tin pannikins.

My clothes and watertight book which were new, and my money which was in the breast-pocket of my waistcoat were taken by Gaoler George Nixon. From the confusion and excitement of that fatal morning I cannot say with certainty the whole extent of my loss, but I can solemnly and conscientiously declare that at the very least it amounted to 30 pounds.

The only thing which I said was a little bag containing some gold dust and my Gold Licence which Inspector Foster who knew me, Kindly took charge of, prior to my ill-treatment, and he subsequently handed it over to Father Patrick Smyth for me.

My mate, who supplied me with fresh clothing, applied at the Balaarat [sic] camp for my property, but was told that nothing could be done for me for NIXON the Gaoler had 'bolted' ... [7]

Post 1854 Experiences

While awaiting trial in Melbourne for High Treason Carboni wrote a pantomine called Gilburnia. [8]

On 03 December 1855 Raffaello Carboni's book The Eureka Stockade was released. Printed by J.P. Atkinson and Co., the book was 126 pages in length and had green printed wrappers. The book is an eyewitness account of the Eureka rebellion.

Remember the Sabbath Day (December 3 1854) to keep it holy. Raffaello Carboni

Carboni was appointed to the Ballarat Miners Court on 14 July 1855. He returned to Italy in January 1856 where he worked as a translator and published several minor literary and musical works.

In the News

Digger Hunts from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.
Every great fight has its heroes. The historian is sometimes silent as to them, but in long after years, when time has ripened to their opportunity, when the weakened memory of the living and the silence of the dead have made corroboration vague, they come from a modest retirement, and admit their prowess. Eureka is the great est of Australian fights—in fact, the only fight—and it too has its worthies. Their deeds, like those of Falstaff, grow in the recital. Thus quite a hundred men were standard-bearers at Eureka, and carried the Southern Cross. Quite half as many sheltered Peter Lalor, scores nursed him, and a dozen at least escorted him through the bush to Geelong when there was a price on his head. It would be cruel almost to disbelieve these men, for by long practice many of them have come to believe themselves. But this element of after- romance has made the telling of the story of Eureka somewhat difficult. It was ever a delicate matter to handle, for the motives of those who fought on Eureka Hill were as wide as their nationalities. The one great purpose—resistance to the gold license and the detestable practice of digger-hunting—may be freely recognised. The worst of it is that those who look upon the men of Eureka as being all brave, high-minded, high-souled reformers will see no other motive than this one; while those who hold by the law admit it as the last motive of all. They see in Eureka only the desperate resource of a band of rebellious agitators. Either of these extremes misses the mark, but the prevalance of party statement renders it difficult to sift the wheat from the chaff, and makes it essential almost that one should skip controversial matter in telling the story of a desperately foolish but all the same a gallant undertaking.
The foreign element was largely mixed up in Eureka—it did most of the talking and boasting, but, as often happens in such a case, least of the fighting. In the runing it was foremost. Some of the men who fought there knew it, and, as Mr. John Lynch says, were impressed when the brave, kindly old general, Sir Robert Nickle, who had often led the Connaught Rangers, said, "I would rather have you Irishmen before Sebastopol than in a thing like this. Why didn't you Britons settle your differences between yourselves, instead of allowing foreigners to meddle in your domestic affairs?" Yet not all the foreigners ran, for some of them died bravely and like men under the palisades of Eureka, seeing through to the bitter end that to which they had put their hand. The story of Eureka, the fight, the flight, and all connected with it, cannot be told in a single article. The better way, perhaps, were to begin with a few words as to the more picturesque of the men who figured in it.
Highest of all in the group looms the figure of Peter Lalor, whose after-prominence in Victorian political life commemorated by a statue in the main street of Ballarat, has made him the one man whom very many people to-day are able to associate by memory with the Eureka fight. He came to Ballarat first a young, stalwart, handsome Irishman, standing nearly 6ft. in height, with dark brown hair and beard, the firm upper lip and powerful neck always clean shaved. In manner a quiet, unassuming young fellow, with the air of an educated, well-bred man, he at first took no part in the agitation, and only came prominently into notice when, after the formation of the Diggers' Reform League, a fighting leader was required, and fighters, as apart from "spouters," had become suddenly scarce. Lalor was a man who neither by training nor disposition was inclined to turn the other cheek. His family was a historic one in Queen's County, Ireland, tracing back to the chieftains of Glenmalure and Slievmargy. His people had been patriots or rebels—as you please—from the time of the Tudor intrusion, and his father, a member of the Imperial Parliament, was a follower of O'Connell. The speech in which Lalor took command of the men of Eureka was essentially a manly one. "I have not the presumption," he said, "to assume the chief command, no more than any other man who means well in the cause of the diggers. I shall be glad to see the best among us take the lead. If, however, you appoint me as your commander-in-chief I shall not shrink. I mean to do my duty as a man. I tell you, gentlemen, that if once I pledge my hand to the diggers, I will neither defile it with treachery nor render it contemptible with cowardice."
There was a time just before Eureka when two currents of public feeling which had hitherto followed the same channel diverged. Peter Lalor headed the more turbulent stream; the milder followed the lead of John Basson Humffrey, a man who took no part in the rebellion, but was a recognised leader in the agitation which led up to it. He was a mild man who opposed the extreme step, and thought the end would be gained by legitimate agitation. It required courage to give such counsel then, for one man named Frazer who advocated it at a meeting on Bakery Hill would have been torn to pieces but for the inter vention of the chairman. Humffray has been described by one of his compatriots as a man "with a quiet sort of John Bull smile." He was in turn exalted as a hero and denounced as a traitor, and the term "Apostle of Peace" was applied to him in anything but a complimentary sense. He saw the folly of armed resistance, the use-lessness of burning licenses, through which policy the diggers thought every man on Ballarat must be arrested and the camp overwhelmed with prisoners. It has been urged that Humffray, as a leader, went too far if he were not prepared to take the extreme step, and it is a fact that up to the last he was expected to assume command. From beginning to end he was, however, a man true to the diggers' cause, and who fought for it according to his lights. When years afterwards representatives were required for Ballarat the two men chosen were Lalor and Humffray.
Every tragedy has in it some elements of burlesque. That of Eureka was largely supplied by two foreigners—Colonel C. H. F. de la Vern, a Hanoverian, and Signor Carboni Raffaello de Roma—an Italian. The names and titles take up some space, but they are worth it. As often happens with mountebanks in the same line of business, the two cordially detested each other, and so one gets at their real characters.
Vern was a long man, whose legs were so obviously made for retreat that they took the initiative, and carried the gallant fellow off over the back of the stockade the instant the first shot was fired. A captain of pikemen who saw him run called on someone to shoot him, but Vern was too good a sprinter. He claimed to be a military strategist, and a specialist in fortification. The only strategy he displayed was in leaving hurriedly for the Warrenheip Ranges, and the Eureka Stockade, the outcome of his skill in fortifications, was a howling farce. It had been designed on the basis that the troops would attack from one direction. But, as troops often do, they came over at the back, where there was no protection worth the name. One great and undeserved honour was paid to Vern. Imagining him to be a leader, the Crown offered £500 for his arrest, and only £200 for Lalor. Vern had really expected to be leader, and sulked when the young Irishman was appointed. He talked much of a German legion he had enrolled, and which was to rush to arms the minute the Southern Cross waved from Eureka Hill. This was the original legion that never was listed—at least nothing was ever heard of it.
His rival, Raffaello, was something less of a poltroon perhaps, but still one braver in argument than fight. He was a fiery little Vesuvius, who at the meetings moved everything in the direction of extremes. The "hated Austrian rule" was dragged into all his speeches, and he claimed to have fought under Garibaldi. He had seen so much of active service, indeed, that when it came to fighting at Eureka he graciously allowed others to get to the front for their baptism of fire, and retired to the shelter of a well-built turf chimney, the best protection against bullets that the stockade afforded. He has written a book on Eureka—a wild mass of rodomontade that reads very curiously now. It begins with the magnificent assertion, "I undertake to do what an honest man should do, let it thunder or rain." He announced his book for sale at Eureka "from the rising to the setting of the sun," on the anniversary of the fight, and there publicly mourned his ost comrades and the lost cause—quite oblivious of the fact that through Eureka that cause had been won. He appears to have had an Italian eye for small economies, and on leaving Ballarat a prisoner, he wept, not for the poor fellows he had talked to their death on Eureka Hill, but for the loss of his tent and puddling machine. He was known as "Great Works," a pet phrase of his—but Great Talks would have been much more appropriate.
It was not so with all the foreigners, though. In the rank and file were men who fought well. Few were better known on Ballarat than Edward Thonan, the poor Prussian lemonade seller, who carried his keg around amongst the claims. He stood to the brest-work till a bullet passed through his mouth and killed him. Another big German blacksmith was busy within the stockade forging pikes and spear-heads for days before the fight. As the soldiers came over the stockade with a gallant rush, the big German, fighting bravely, picked out Lieutenant Richards, and made a dash for him, but the officer, in fair fight, ran him through and killed him.
It is a curious coincidence, indeed, that nearly all the orators of Eureka cut a poor figure in the fight. Some apology is needed for mentioning them at all, but they were picturesque characters in the life of the time, unlike so many of the silent fellows who simply took the post given them and fought till they were overwhelmed. One of the fiercest of rebels up to a certain stage was Thomas Kennedy, a voluble little Scot, whose large aim in life was the regeneration of mankind. He had all the attractive phrases of the Chartists on his tongue, a remarkable facility for making speeches that were rarely to the point, but which breathed always resistance to the death. A favourite couplet in his platform address was—"Moral suasion is all a humbug, Nothing convinces like a lick o' the lug."
No one's "lug" tingled from any blow struck by Mr. Kennedy at Eureka. One of his last outbursts before the battle was:— "On, on, my brave comrades; before to- morrow's sun shall have set Victoria will have lost one of the brightest jewels in her crown." He flourished a sword as well as a tongue in quite a tremendous way, but before a shot was fired became, it is said, absorbed in a pipeclay drive at the bottom of a disused shaft, and so missed the chance of striking that blow in revenge for his murdered mate Scobie, of which he had so often boasted.
Another very voluble—if not in the fighting sense valuable—man was Timothy Hayes, who acted as chairman at the diggers' meetings, and was to have hammered home bullets behind the palisades as deftly as he did arguments on the platform. Mr. Hayes had a turn for rhetoric, a strong partiality for such sonorous defiance as — "The sun shall see our country free, Or set upon our graves."
His last speech before the fight wound up with the fateful words, "Are you prepared to die?" Mr. Hayes was apparently not quite prepared. It may have been his misfortune, though, rather than his fault—for men came to the stockade and left it as they pleased—that at the time of the fight he was absent without leave, and took no part in it.
So much has been said of the mounted banks of Eureka that the belief may gain ground that they were a majority. If puerile, they were, as has been said, picturesque, hence the prominence given to them.
If one man on Ballarat had more right than another to protest against gold-getting being made difficult, it was surely James Esmond, the first discoverer of gold in Victoria—not a chance discoverer either, as one who stumbles upon a nugget in his path, but an observant man, who applied the experience he had gained elsewhere. He was a quiet man, who said little, thought a great deal, and backed up the opinions he held with a stern, resolute courage. Such men were plentiful enough at Eureka, in spite of the buffoons and charlatans who aspired to lead them. While others were talking Esmond set to work, so that the miners who meant to fight might be properly armed for the encounter. Another of much the same mould was John Manning—a very fine fellow indeed, but a man who would stand no nonsense. Equally honest and earnest was the like- able Lieutenant Ross, a Canadian, and one of Lalor's captains at Eureka. His one wish was to resent as men the insults to which the diggers had been subjected. He fought well in the grey dawn of that Sunday morning until he was shot in the groin and died soon afterwards of his wounds.
No one in Ballarat to-day needs to be told of what stamp of man Mr. John Lynch, the well-known surveyor, Smythesdale, is. None more upright, loyal, and honourable—yet he, too, fought under Lalor at Eureka. He lives to tell the story now, probably because he took the precaution when manning the palisade to close up the open spaces with some of the loose planks lying about. "How the fight was to benefit us," he explained, "I never could see. But then, like others, I didn't moralise over the matter at all, but just took out my miner's right and burned it." Mr. Lynch on joining was told off to the Californian Independent Rifle Brigade, most of whom were only armed, though, with revolvers and knives. It was commandered by James McGill, largely on the strength of his own statement that he had had a military education at West Point. He left his Californian Rangers to fight without the help of his skilled control, for he, too, was absent without leave. There was one Shanahan, in whose tent the councils of war were held, but that fact did not inspire him to valour, for he took refuge behind a bag of flour, which was quite bullet-proof. A contrast was Patrick Curtain, captain of the hopeless, helpless Pikemen, whose share in the fray was just to be shot at, and Thaddeus Moore, who had a bullet through both his thighs, and died of his wounds. John Robertson, a pugnacious Scot, fell full of wounds, and, being somewhat like the Italian Raffaello, those who found him said, "Poor Great Works, he had some fight in him after all." "Their joy on finding I was not dead," says the Italian himself, "was pleasing to me." Robertson didn't count for much—except as a casualty. The first man wounded at Eureka was a miner named Downes. He was fighting alongside John Lynch, and staggered back, with a bullet through his shoulder, crying out "I'm shot!" "Don't worry," said his comrade, "that may be all our case soon," and just at the instant John Diamond rolled away from the palisades— dead. Some who died at Eureka were known by not even a name to their leaders. One of them has come down to us as "Happy Jack," while a big blackfellow, whose name and fate are alike a mystery, has been described as one of the pluckiest fighters in the Stockade.
One name has often been mentioned in connection with Eureka—Raffaello's book teems with execration of it—the name Goodenough. The business of a spy, though a detestable one in popular fancy, was a task that in this case demanded nerve. Goodenough was a sergeant of the forces, who went in with the miners to spy out their works, and it was because of his reports as to preparations at the Stockade that the sudden night surprise was determined on. Sergeant Goodenough took his life in his hands, for had his mission been suspected he would have been hanged on the flagstaff of the Stockade. When all is said, indeed, the name of Goodenough comes down out of the distance with far less of contempt than upon those who execrated it empty-headed, noisy charlatans such as Raffaello and Vern. [9]

This day twelvemonth occurred that sanguinary and fatal affray which has made the "Eureka Stockade" historical. This day twelvemonth Peter Lalor was shot down as a rebel, and Carboni Raffaello placed under arrest as a "foreign anarchist." Behold "how the whirligig of time brings about its revenges!" On this present 3rd of December, 1855, the aforesaid Peter Lalor, minus an arm, and plus the honorable addition of M.L.C. to his name, is invited to dine with Her Majesty's Viceroy in Victoria; and Carboni Raffaello (long ago honorably acquitted of the charge of high trea-son) takes his stand upon the site of the memorable stockade as a naturalized subject of the British Grown, and delivers his published narrative of the so-called rebellion to the dig-gers of Ballarat. The narrative itself is just what might be expected from the known character and attain-ments of the writer. His style is trenchant, vigorous, and animated: his language, racy, pipturesque, and graphic: his physiognomical sketches of character indicate acuteness of per-ception; and his descriptions of events are vividly dramatic. Many of his idioms savor of the "sweet south" (of Europe), and expressions are occasionally introduced which are more in accordance with the conversational usages of the mining community than with the rigid requirements of good taste and a refined style of writing; but, on the whole, the "Eureka Stockade" is a remarkable production. It will constitute a valuable memoire pour servir to the future historians of Victoria. It will be read with interest by the writer's contemporaries, and with curiosity and wonder by those who come after him. Signor Raffaello sustained a heavy pecuniary loss by the events of last December, and we sincerely hope that by the extensive sale of the publication under notice he will be amply remunerated. We subjoin a few extracts from his book, and must conclude by recommending our readers to possess themselves of the work itself:—
RAFFAELLO ON THE LODDON. Bryant's Ranges was the go of the day, and I started thither accordingly. December, 1853. Oh, Lord! what a pack of ragamuffins over that way! I got acquainted with the German party who found out the Tarrangower den; shaped my hole like a bathing tub, and dropped "on it" right smart. Paid two pounds to cart one load down the Loddon and left two more loads of washing stuff, snug and wet with the sweat of my brow, over the hole. Got twenty-eight pennyweights out of the load. Went back the third day, brisk and healthy, to cart down the other two loads. Washing stuff! gone: hole! gone! the gully itself! gone: the whole face of it had been clean shaved. Never mind; go a-head again. Got another claim on the surface-hill. No search for license: thank God, had none. Nasty, sneaky, cheeky little things of flies got into my eyes: could see no more, no ways. Mud water one shilling a bucket! Got the dysentery; very bad. Thought, one night; to reef the yards and drop the anchor. Got on a better tack though. Promenaded up to the famous Bendigo. Had no particular objection to Celestials there, but had no particular taste for their tartaric water. Made up my mind to remember my days of innocence, and turned shepherd. Fine landscape this run on the Loddon: almost a match for Bella Itallia; but there are too many mosquitoes. Dreamt, one day, I was drinking a tumbler of Lod-don wine: and asserted that Providence was the same also in the south. It was a dream. The lands lay waste and desolate: not by nature; oh no; by hand of man. Bathing in these Loddon water-holes, superb. Tea out of this Loddon water magnificent. In spite of these horrible hot winds, this water is always fresh and delicious: how kind is Providence! One night lost the whole blessed lot of my flock. Myself, the shepherd, did not know, in the name of Heaven, which way to turn. Got among the blacks, the whole Tarrang tribe in corrobory. What a rum sight for an old European traveller. Found natives very humane, though. My sheep right again, only the wild dogs had given them a good shake. Was satisfied that the Messiah the Jews are looking for will not be born in this bullock-drivers' land; any how, the angels won't announce the happy event of his birth to the shepherds. No more truck with sheep, and went to live with the blacks for a varia-tion. Picked up, pretty soon, bits of their yabber-yabber. For a couple of years had tasted no fish; now I pounced on a couple of frogs, every couple of minutes. Thought their "lubras" ugly enough; not so, however, the slender arms and small hands of their young girls, though the fingers be rather too long. That will do now, inasmuch as the end of the story is this: That portion in my brains called "acquisitiveness" got the gold-fever again, and I started for old Ballarat. LICENSE HUNTING. Abyssys, abyssum invocat. "Joe, Joe!" No one in the world can properly understand and describe this shouting of "Joe," unless he were on this El Dorado of Ballarat at the time. It was a horrible day, plagued by the hot winds. A blast of the hurricane winding through gravel pits whirled towards the Eureka this shouting of "Joe." It was the howl of a wolf for the shepherds, who bolted at once towards the bush: it was the yell of bull dogs for the fossikers who floundered among the deep holes, and thus dodged the hounds: it was a scarecrow for the miners, who now scrambled down to the deep, and left a licensed mate or two at the windlass. By this time, a regiment of troopers, in full gallop, had besieged the whole Eureka, and the traps under their protection ventured among the holes. An attempt to give an idea of such dis-gusting and contemptible campaigns for the search of licenses is really odious to an honest man. Some of the traps were civil enough; aye, they felt the shame of their duty; but there were among them devils at heart, who enjoyed the fun, because their cupidity could not bear the sight of the zig-zag uninterrupted muster of piles of rich-looking washing stuff, and the envy which blinded their eyes prevented them from taking into account the overwhelming number of shicers close by, round about all along. Hence they looked upon the ragged muddy blue shirt as an object of their contempt. Are diggers dogs or savages, that they are to be hunted on the diggings, commanded, in Pellissier's African style, to come out of their holes, and sum-moned from their tents by these hounds of the executive? Is the garb of a digger a mark of inferiority? "In sudore vultus lue vesceris panem" is then an infamy now-a-days! Give us facts, and spare us your bosh, says my good reader. — Very well. I, Carboni Raffaello, da Roma, and late of No. 4 Castle court, Cornhill, City of London, had my rat-tling "Jenny Lind" (the cradle) at a water hole down the Eureka Gully. Must stop my work to shew my license. "All right." I had then to go a quarter of a mile up the hill to my hole, and fetch the washing stuff. There again — "Got your license?" "All serene, governor." On crossing the holes, up to the knees in mullock, and loaded like a drome- dary, "Got your licence?" was again the cheer-up from a third trooper or trap. Now, what answer would you have given, sir? I assert, as a matter of fact, that I was often com- pelled to produce my license twice at each and the same license hunt. Any one who knows me per-sonally will readily believe that the accursed game worried me to death.
A PAIR OF PORTRAITS. Oh! you long-legged Vern! with the eyes of an opossum, a common nose, healthy-looking cheeks, not very small mouth, no beard, long neck for Jack Ketch, broad shoulders, never broken down by too much work, splendid chest, long arms — the whole of your appearance makes you a lion amongst the fair sex, in spite of your bad English, worse German, abominable French. They say you come from Hanover, but your friends have seen too much in you of the Mexico-Peruvian. You belong to the school of the "Illuminated Cosmopolitans;" you have not a dishonest heart, but you believe in no-thing except the gratification of your silly vanity, or ambition, as you call it. Thank God, there is among us a man; not so tall as thick, of a strong frame, some thirty-five years old, honest countenance, sober forehead, penetrating look, fine dark whiskers. His mouth and complexion denote the Irish, and he is the earnest, well-meaning, no-two-ways, non-John-Bullised Irishman, Peter Lalor, in whose eyes the gaseous heroism of demagogues, or the knavery of peg-shifters, is an abomination, because his height of impudence consisted in giving the diggers his hand, and leaving with them his arm in pawn, for to jump the Ballaarat claim in St. Patrick’s Hall. More power to you Peter!
REMEMBER THIS SABBATH DAY (DECEMBER THIRD) TO KEEP IT HOLY. I awoke. Sunday morning. It was full dawn, not daylight. A discharge of musketry — then a round from the bugle — the command "forward" — and another discharge of musketry was sharply kept on by the red-coats (some 300 strong) advancing on the gully west of the stockade, for a couple of minutes. The shots whizzed by my tent. I jumped out of the stretcher, and rushed to my chimney facing the stockade. The forces within could not muster above 150 diggers. The shepherds' holes inside the lower part of the stockade had been turned into rifle-pits, and were now occupied by Californians of the I. C. Rangers' Brigade, some twenty or thirty in all, who had kept watch at the "outposts" during the night. Ross and his division northward, Thonen and his division southward, and both in front of the gully, under cover of the slabs, answered with such a smart fire, that the military who were now fully within range, did unmistakably appear to me to swerve from their ground: anyhow the command "forward" from Sergeant Harris was put a stop to. Here a lad was really courageous with his bugle. He took up boldly his stand to the left of the gully and in front: the red-coats "fell in" in their ranks to the right of this lad. The wounded on the ground behind must have numbered a dozen. Another scene was going on east of the stockade. Vern floundered across the stockade eastward, and I lost sight of him. Curtain, whilst making coolly for the holes, appeared to me to give directions to shoot at Vern; but a rush was instantly made in the same direction (Vern's), and a whole pack cut for Warrenheip. There was, however, a brave American officer, who had the command of the rifle-pitmen; he fought like a tiger; was shot in his thigh at the very onset, and yet, though hopping all the the while, stuck to Captain Ross like a man. Should this notice be the means to ascertain his name, it should be written down in the margin at once. The dragoons from south, the troopers from north, were trotting in full speed towards the stockade. Peter Lalor was now on the top of the first logged-up hole within the stockade, and by his decided gestures pointed to the men to retire among the holes. He was shot down in his left shoulder at this identical moment: it was a chance shot, I recollect it well. A full discharge of musketry from the military, now mowed down all who had their heads above the barricades. Ross was shot in the groin. Another shot struck Thonen exactly in the mouth, and felled him on the spot. Those who suffered the most were the score of pikemen, who stood their ground from the time the whole division had been posted at the top, facing the Melbourne road from Ballarat, in double file under the slabs, to stick the cavalry with their pikes. The old command, "Charge!" was distinctly heard, and the red-coats rushed with fixed bayonets to storm the stockade. A few cuts, kicks, and pulling down, and the job was done too quickly for their wonted ardour, for they actually thrust their bayonets on the body of the dead and wounded strewed about on the ground. A wild "hurrah!" burst out, and the "Southern Cross" was torn down.[10]
William E. Pidgeon (WEP), Illustration from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni, Sunnybrook Press, 1942, offset print.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased 1994.
William E. Pidgeon artwork is reproduced with the permission of Peter Pidgeon

See also

Ballarat Local Court

Butler Aspinall

Alexander Bartholomew

Paul Brentani


J.B. Humffray

Richard Ireland


Treason Trials

Frederick Vern

Further Reading

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

Dorothy Wickham, Revolutionaries, Radicals & Victorian Goldfields, in Pay Dirt: Ballarat & Other Gold Towns, BHSPublishing, 2019, pp. 164-171.

Clare Gervasoni, A Gift from Men of all Nations: Garibaldi's Sword of Honour, in Pay Dirt: Ballarat & Other Gold Towns, BHSPublishing, 2019, pp. 173-182.


  1. The Argus, 11 December 1854.
  2. Raffaello Carboni, The Eureka Stockade, Dolphin, 1947, p. 55.
  3. Gervasoni, Clare and Ford, Tina, Eureka Stockade centre Hall of Debate Kit, 1998.
  4. The Argus, 11 December 1854.
  5. The Argus, 11 December 1854.
  6. Letter, Carboni to Archer, 18 October 1854, Transcribed by Christine Stancliffe
  7. VPRS 1189, Box 97, M55/4450. Transcribed by Dorothy Wickham
  8. Toscano, Joseph, Reclaiming the Radical Spirit of the Eureka Rebellion, Anarchist Media Institute, Parkville. It promoted the idea that the original inhabitants were as much, if not more so, the victims of the British colonial authorities than the miners were.
  9. The Argus, 3 June 1899
  10. The Age, 03 December 1855.


Click link for citation details - http://www.eurekapedia.org/index.php?title=Special:CiteThisPage&page=John_Lynch&id=17633

External links