Montague Miller

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Monty Miller from the Guardian Eureka Centenary Issue, Federation University Historical Collection
Walter E. Pidgeon, Illustration from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni, Sunnybrook Press, 1942, offset print.
Art Gallery of Ballarat, purchased 1994.

Background

Monty Montague Miller was a 'currency lad', born in Tasmania in 1932.[1]

In 1842 Miller was apprenticed to (in his words) "a taskmaster, under the brutal British form of legal indenture by which parents doomed their children to five or seven years of toil and tyranny". As a 14 year old Miller experienced the effects of a downturn in business. He wrote:

"The period I have referred to put a stop to all building, and my employer had not one man in his employ. This caused a full stop to my mechanical progress and my services as an apprentice were wholly confined to menial duties including the keeping of a large kitchen garden. I took courage to point out to my slave master that I was not learning my trade and was doing the work of rough labour. The argument against my appeal was a two inch scaffold rope with a double knot at one end and a soulless savage at the other. The blows inflicted on my fourteen year old boy's body knocked the youth out of me at each blow and left wales and bruises visible for a month later, but the physical effects of that terrible thrashing were insignificant compared to the mental and moral impression it made. It roused and kindled in me the latent flame of reason, and by processes of my natural thought I formulated crude ideals of Right, Justice and Liberty."[2]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Monty Miller tried his luck n the Ballarat goldfield in 1851.[3] Miller reached the Stockade after the soldiers had retired, and assisted the wounded and to bury the dead.[4]

Post 1854 Experiences

In The News

EUREKA STOCKADE. JUBILEE CELEBRATION. PROCESSION AND SPEECHES. A LARGE GATHERING. The fiftieth anniversary of the Eureka stockade was celebrated yesterday, and the enthusiasm and enterprise of the promoters could have received no better reward than the large crowd which yesterday watched the proceedings. Since the movement for the jubilee celebration was first mentioned, the events of fifty years ago at Ballarat have been canvassed in the columns of the Press and at numerous meetings. Historical accounts have been published of the stockade, the name given to the enclosure formed by the diggers when, resenting the increased tax demanded as a mining licence and the vexatious methods resorted to for its-collection, they resolved upon armed resistance. It was on December 3, 1854, that the stockade was taken by storm by Capt. Thomas. of the 40th Regiment. Full publicity has been thrown on the events before and after the fight at the stockade, by the discussion in the Press evoked by the movement which culminated in yesterday's demonstration. The celebration took the form of a procession and mass meeting on the Esplanade. The procession was formed in James street, marching from thence to the Esplanade, along the northern side of which flags and bunting were flying. The weather was excellent, the breeze which raised the dust in the streets having no such disagreeable result in the Esplanade. The meetings on the Esplanade were addressed from two platforms, round each of which several thousand people had gathered, it being estimated that there were altogether from five to six thousand people present.
THE PROCESSION. In the procession the members of the celebration committee, the A.N.A., labour unions, and friendly and benefit societies of Perth and Fremantle took part. The procession was formed up in James-street, in the vicinity of the Public Library, and moved off at a few minutes before 3 o'clock. A very large number of persons witnessed the preparations made to marshal the participants, and the streets along which the procession passed were crowded. The post of honour was given to the survivors of the Stockade, of whom 14 were present. The veterans, who looked hale and hearty, and appeared to be proud of the distinction conferred upon them, were accommodated in a drag, drawn by four handsome bay horses. Then followed a lorry, on which was erected a miniature stockade, from behind whose shelter several men, attired as diggers and armed with obsolete firearms, occasionally, in dumb show, took sighting shots at the crowd. Attached to the sides of the lorry were pieces of calico, on which were painted the following inscriptions :-"Australians gratefully remember Eureka" and "The A.N.A. honours the heroes of 1854." In the rear of this again were members of the trades and labour unions, friendly societies in their regalia, and several lorries carrying banners. On one 'of these vehicles a number of men were engaged at work illustrative of the methods adopted to win gold from the earth. Some exceedingly handsome banners were carried, and these added not a little to the picturesqueness of the scene. The two which attracted general notice were those of the Fremantle Lumpers' Union and the H.A.C.B.S. Five bands played inspiriting music at intervals during the progress of the procession. The line of march was thronged with spectators, and the survivors were frequently cheered during the course of their march through the city. The police had but little to do in the way of securing an unimpeded course for the procession, the people being orderly and well-behaved. The arrangements connected with the spectacular portion of the proceedings were admirably carried out. and no hitch of any kind cccurred. The procession, regarded as a pageant, was very creditable to the organisers. After marching along the principal thorough fares the procession reached the Esplanade, where speeches were made. A number of gentlemen, armed with money-boxes, took up a collection to defray the expenses of the celebrations, and in aid of the charities, but the result of their efforts was not available last night.
THE SURVIVORS. Following are the names of and a few interesting details concerning the survivors who took part in the procession : H. de Longville (took an active part in the reform movement, on sentry duty in the Stockade and on the approach of the troops gave the first alarm to Peter Lalor): Lieutenant Kossack (a captain in the Hungarian Army, led the left flank of the police against the stockaders, and was one of the few officials in sympathy with the miners): Chris. Christesen (a member of the Ballarat Reform League,present from the firing of the first shot until the fall of the Stockade, succeeded in evading the troops); W. G. Holmes (in the Stockade during the fight, and saw his brother fall dead in front of him); William Atherden (in the Stockade, and was taken prisoner); Duncan Clark (a member of Ross's corps. out scouting, but returned in time to assist to carry Ross, who was wounded to Irwin's Star Hotel); Montague Miller (as a boy reached the Stockade after the soldiers had retired, and assisted the wounded and to bury the dead): Arthur Curnick (worked as a boy in the blacksmith's shop in which the stockaders' pikes were forged, father and brother in the Stockade); James Madden (as a lad was present on the fateful morning with his father, who was on duty): John Williams (a member of the Reform League, present at the monster meeting, when the licences were burned): W. R. Taylor (a prominent Chartist in the ranks of the Bendigo Reform League): John Hall (as a lad was present at the site on the morning of the affray: John Greenwell (when a boy was present at the meeting which preceded the tragic conclusion of the reform movement): and Matthew McCormick (present at the Stockade at the close of the fight). ... [5]

See also

Further Reading

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


References

  1. The Guardian Eureka Centenary Issue, 02 December 1954.
  2. Vic Williams (editor), Eureka and Beyond: Monty Miller his own Story, Lone Hand Press, 1988, p. 4
  3. The Guardian Eureka Centenary Issue, 02 December 1954.
  4. West Australian, 05 December 1904.
  5. West Australian, 5 December 1904.

External links

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/miller-montague-david-monty-7587/text13249