Thomas Fletcher

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Charles A. Doudiet, watercolour on paper, 1854, watercolour, on paper.
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased by the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery with the assistance of many donors, 1996.
"Official form on blue paper - evidence - Robert Calvin, sergeant of police, 21 October 1854, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 80
Be it remembered, that on 21st day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty four Robert Calvin of Ballarat in the Colony of Victoria Sergeant of Police personally came before me one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the Town of Geelong in the said Colony, and acknowledged himself to owe to our Sovereign Lady the Queen the sum of one hundred pounds, of good lawful money of Great Britain, to be made and levied of the goods and chattels, lands and tenements, in the use of our said Lady the Queen, her Heirs and Successors, if the said Robert Calvin shall fail in the condition indorsed.
Taken and acknowledged the day and year of your first above mentioned at Ballarat in the said Colony before me
William Morrissy
"Official form on blue paper - evidence - Robert Calvin, sergeant of police, 17 October 1854, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 80
The condition of the within written Recognance is such, That Whereas Thomas Fletcher was thisis day charged before me the Justice of the Peace within mentioned for that the said Thomas Fletcher was the seventeenth day of October 1854 at Ballarat in the Colony aforesaid, together with certain other persons did feloniously and unlawfully burn and destroy the dwelling house of one James Bentley at Ballarat it therefore be said Robert Calvin shall appear at the Criminal Sessions to he holden at Melbourne in the Colony of Victoria, on the fifteenth day of November next, and there give such evidence as be knoweth upon as information to be then and there proferred against the said Thomas Fletcher for the offence aforesaid, as the jurors who shall pass upon the trial of the said Thomas Fletcher then the said Recognizance to be void or else stand in full force and virtue.

Background

Fletcher was a printer whose office was on the Main Road, not far from the Eastern Market.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Fletcher printed 100 posters calling for diggers to meet on Bakery Hill.

The men accused of destroying the Eureka Hotel, Henry Westerby, Thomas Fletcher and Andrew McIntyre, were convicted and sentenced to our months imprisonment in November 1854, although accounts have him nowhere near the hotel. J.B. Humffray, Black and Thomas Kennedy, representing the Ballarat Reform League demanded the release of these prisoners on 27 November 1854. It was a fatal mistake, as the use of the word “demand” strengthened Governor Hotham’s resolve for control. His friend, Samuel Lazarus, was not allowed to visit him in the lock-up. [1]

Samuel Irwin's account records: "They at last picked out three scape-goats. One was McIntyre, now in comfortable circumstances in Glasgow, who had used his best endeavors to restrain the crowd at Bentley's from overt act. Another was Fletcher, a printer, whose office was on the Main road, not far on the Eastern Market side of Twentyman and Stamper's. Fletcher, from all that can be learned, was not off the Main road the day of the fire, and certainly was not farther than the Prince Albert hotel in that direction. Westerby, the third man, has been asserted to be equally innocent with Fletcher in the transaction." [2]

Twentyman & Co's store was opposite Fletcher's printing office
VPRS 4775, Unit 65, PROV.
Ballarat Reform League Deputation to Governor Charles Hotham from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.
Names of persons arrested in connection of having been connected in the riot at Eureka (being the burning I'd Bentley's Hotel).
Date of Arrest Name How disposed of
Oct 21, Andrew McIntyre , Committed for trial Geelong 26 Nov.
Oct 21, Thomas Fletcher, Committed for trial Geelong, 26 Nov.
Oct 26, Henry Westerby, Committed for trial Melbourne, 15th Nov.
Oct 26, Manestra Flatow, discharged
Oct 26, Samuel Butler, discharged
Oct 26, Albert Hurd, Committed for trial Melbourne 15th Nov. On bail
Oct 27, John Balderston, discharged
Oct 27, George McIntosh, discharged
Oct 27, Charles Stewart, discharged
Oct 27, John van Der Byl, discharged[3]

Post 1854 Experiences

In July 1855, with Wheeler and Evans, Fletcher started the Ballarat Trumpeter. It was published tri-weekly under the joint ownership and lasted about 12 months being the nucleus for the Ballarat Standard. [4]

Fletcher and Evans signed a Petition of householders of Ballaarat requesting the establishment of a Municipality in 1855.

Fletcher died in 1869 and was buried in the Ballaarat Old Cemetery on 9 January 1869.

See also

Robert Colvin

Thomas Crowther

Sarah Hanmer

Robert Harrington

Richard Ireland

James Pepper

Thomas Robinson

William Thompson

Further Reading

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


References

  1. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  2. William Bramwell Withers, History of Ballarat, 1870, p. 57.
  3. PROV, VPRS 1189, Unit 153, File J54 12-469.
  4. William Bramwell Withers, History of Ballarat, 1870, p. 42.

External links