Margaret Shann

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Background

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Mrs Shann, described as a “smart young woman of 21 years”, with her husband attended the Bakery Hill Monster Meetings in November 1854. Many women had reasons to be vitally interested in the causes of Eureka and attended the large rallies held on the Ballarat goldfields. They were thus active in a political sense.28 Although it is difficult to find overt evidence of women’s physical presence in the records of events organised by the Ballaarat Reform League and associated with Eureka there is evidence of women attending the Monster Meetings. [1]

Post 1854 Experiences

Margaret Shann attended the Eureka Parade in 1917.

... Among these was Mrs. Shann, who arrived in Ballarat in 1852, when she was a smart young woman of 22 years. With her husband she attended the meeting at Bakery Hill when Peter Lalor, afterwards Speaker in the Legislative Assembly, was chosen leader of the diggers, and it was decided to drill and oppose the police and military by force. Mrs. Shann was the oldest of the pioneers who met this morning having passed her 87th year. ... [2]


Newsworthy

EUREKA STOCKADE. - ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.
BALLARAT, Saturday-To. mark the 59th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade affray a rotunda was opened this afternoon by Councillor Penhalluriack, the first chairman of the committee formed to improve the Eureka Stockade. The gathering was presided over by the mayor of Ballarat East (Councillor A. J. Pittard), and addresses were given bv Messrs. R. McGregor and M. Baird, M.L.A.'s. The mayor stated that amongst those present were Mrs. Shand, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Buckley, Mr.P. Dalton, Mr. A. Knight, and others who were in Ballarat when the lighting took place, Mr. Knight being one of those who were with the diggers in the stockade.
The rotunda was erected at a cost of £117, making the recent expenditure on the reserve close on £200.[3]

Several of Mayor Levy’s guests at the Ballarat East Town Hall yesterday had vivid recollections of the memorable riot. One of them, Mrs N. Shann, who borders on 90 years of age, is still able to converse freely on the rising and its attendant tragedies and ultimate result. She and her husband were living in a tent when the disaffection first arose owing to what she described as the overbearing attitude of the authorities. She was able to recall Peter Lalor addressing the miners and urging then to secure reform in the only way that could be suggested at that period. He was a great man, the old lady added, and his earnestness soon brought to his way of thinking. Although gold was plentiful money was scarce. The precious metal was exchanged for commodities, but no change was given. Instead they would receive an I.O.U., which compelled then to go back to the store for the balance of the goods due to them or sacrifice portion of their hard-won gold. When her husband decided to join the malcontents she declined to be separated from him, and she followed him to the fighting line. Happily, she added, neither of them was injured, and the justice they were agitating for was ultimately obtained.[4]

See also

Eureka 63, 1917

Further Reading

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

[5]

References

  1. Dorothy Wickham, Women of the Diggings: Ballarat 1854, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2009
  2. The Argus, 11 April 1917.
  3. The Argus, 8 December 1913.
  4. Ballarat Courier, Wednesday 11th April 1917, p. 2 Transcribed by Chrissy Stancliffe
  5. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.

External links


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Caption, Reference.