William Nolan

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"Official form on blue paper - evidence - William Nolan, sergeant of police, 26 October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 80
Be it remembered, that on twenty sixth day of October in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty four William Nolan 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 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 William Nolan 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 - William Nolan, sergeant of police, 26 October 1854, p.2, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 80
The condition of the within written Recognance is such, That Whereas Andrew McIntyre was the seventeenth day of October 1854 at Ballarat in the Colony aforesaid, together with certain ther persons did tumultuously and riotously assemble and did then and there feloniously and unlawfully burn, pull down and destroy the hotel of one James Francis Bentley it therefore be the said William Nolan shall appear at the Criminal Sessions to be holden at Melbourne in and for the Colony of Victoria, on the fifteenth day of November next, and there give such evidence as he knoweth upon an information to be then and there preferred against the said Andrew McIntyre for the offence aforesaid, as the Jurors who shall pass upon the trial of the said Andrew McIntyre then the said Recognizance to be void or else stand in full force and virtue.
"Depositions of witnesses Thomas Crowther, Michael Lawler, John McEvoy, William Nolan, Edward Vinct, Benjamin Hawkshaw, and Michael Quigley all of Ballarat, 21 October 1854, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 80

Colony of Victoria Ballarat The Examination of Thomas Crowther, Michael Lawler, John McEvoy, William Nolan, Edward Viret, Benjamin Hawkshaw and Michael Quigley all of Ballarat in the Colony of Victoria Taken on oath, this 20th day of October, in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty four at Ballarat in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said colony, in the presence and hearing of Andrew McIntyre who is charged this day before us for that he the said Andrew McIntyre on the seventeenth day of October 1854 at Ballarat in the Colony of Victoria with certain other persons tumultuously riotously did assemble and did then and there unlawfully and feloniously pull down, burn and destroy a certain dwelling house, the property of one James Francis Bentley This deponent Thomas Crowther on his oath saith as follows I am Sergeant of Police at Ballarat I was present at the riot of Mr. Bentley’s Hotel on

"Depositions of witnesses - Thomas Crowther, October 1854, p.1, PROV, VPRS5527/P0 Unit 1, Item 80

the 17th Inst I saw Prisoner McIntyre He was standing by Mr Rede the Resident Commissioner He was addressing the crowd but I could not hear what he said I went round to the front of the Hotel I left McIntyre standing by the side of Mr. Rede I saw a large mob collected in the yard - McIntyre was one of them. He went into the bowling alley with two or three others and commenced destroying it He was pulling up the floor and plastering at the side of the place. About two or three men were in the place when a lighted brand


Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Sergeant of Police at Ballarat in 1854.

Friday, January 19th, 1855. ...
George Goddard, John Chapman, Benjamin Ewing, Duncan McIntyre, William Bryant, and Donald Campbell were arraigned and pleaded not guilty to a charge of sedition and riot. Bryant was defended by Mr. Michie ; Goddard, Ewings, M'Intyre, and Campbell were defended by Mr Cope and Mr Prendergast ; the prisoner Chapman was undefended.
The information embraces four counts — the first charges the defendants with conspiring with other persons to the amount of fifty altogether, and unlawfully, maliciously, and seditiously meeting and assembling themselves together for the purpose of exciting discontent and disaffection in the minds of the leige subjects of the Queen, and for the purpose of moving them to hatred and contempt of the Government and Constitution of the colony. Second — Riot and assault on Wm. Nolan, sergeant of police. Third count, charges them with being an unlawful assembly. Fourth count is one for a common assault on Nolan.
The Solicitor General opened the case to the jury, remarking that this was an information laid against the traversers for certain transactions that occurred at Ballaarat on the 30th of November last. To make this intelligible to the jury, it would be necessary to refer to certain events that occurred the day before. A meeting was convened to be held at Bakery Hill, at Ballaarat ; a placard was extensively circulated, headed "Down with the license fee" "Down with despotism." "Who so base to be a slave." And a request at the bottom that diggers would bring their licenses, as they might be wanted. At this meeting very strong language was used, a flag was displayed, and a large number of gold licences were burnt, as if to show that those who possessed them and burnt them were determined to be on the same footing as those who had none. The meeting on the 30th was a continuation of the one held on the 29th. On the 30th, the Government officers went to collect licenses from the diggers; those who had no licenses were arrested, but rescued by the crowd; and the character of the meeting was that with a display of force to intimidate those who had to collect the licenses, to meet this, the first count in the information was laid. The learned Solicitor-Solicitor thought a court of justice was not the place to discuss a question of politics, as to whether gold diggers should or should not be made to pay a tax for the use of the lands where they discovered their treasures , this would be most un-becoming, either in himself or the jury ; it was not a jury's province, neither did he believe they were competent without much time and inquiry to deal with the question. Skilful politicians had made these laws, and they must be obeyed until they were constitutionally altered. A jury could not, ought not, to weigh the righteous nature of these laws — among many conflicting circumstances; a law, if considered impolitic, must be changed by lawful means, not by brute force, under a pretence of liberty: the majority compelling the minority by constraint to act with them, — this was not liberty, but licentiousness. They, as jurymen, were bound upon their solemn oaths to decide as to the facts adduced in evidence — not the expediency or the in-expediency of the measure; neither was it their province to say if the gold commissioners had acted right or not in collecting the licences on the day in question. It was, however, for them to saw what was law upon the subject — but this they would take from the learned Judge, and then they would say if the prisoners transgressed that law or not; that was the jury's simple duty. During the riot on the 30th there were shouts and loud cries uttered, and large stones, bottles, and other missiles thrown, and shots fired. The riot act was read, and the troops were called out. The defendants were now proceeded against only as rioters, although if people remained in assembly after the riot act had been read they laid themselves open to a far severer form of indictment. The learned counsel then defined the law upon the subject, as quoted by Mr. Baron Alderson in his charge to the grand jury delivered at the Monmouth Assizes in the Summer of 1839, in the case of Regina v Vincent, reported in the 9th volume of Carrington and Payne's reports, page 93, and said among the police injured was sergeant William Nolan; he was endeavoring to take a prisoner into custody, was knocked down, much beaten and illtreated, and certain of the prisoners partook in this outrage. The learned counsel then addressed himself to the bearing of the various counts in the information, and called as the first witness —...[1]

Post 1854 Experiences

In the 1855 Goldfields Commission Charles Wood testified made a complaint against Sergeant Nolan.

See also

Andrew McIntyre

William Morrissy

Robert Rede


Further Reading

Blake, Gregory, To Pierce the Tyrant's Heart, Australian Military History Publications, 2009.


  1. The Argus, 20 January 1855.

External links

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Caption, Reference.