Treason Trials

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Release of Treason Trial Prisoners, Melbourne, 1855,


Thirteen men were tried at the Eureka Treason Trials in Melbourne from 22 February to 27 March 1855.[1]


Those who stood trial for High Treason were:

James Beattie who was about to be executed at the stockade by trooper Rivell when Sergeant Riley heard his calls for mercy and took him prisoner; [2]

James Campbell a black man from Kingston, Jamaica; [3]

Raffaello Carboni, an Italian who had been involved in the 1848 revolutions in Europe and an anarchist sympathiser who wrote one of the most important books about the Eureka rebellion in 1855, The Eureka Stockade: The Consequences Of Some Pirates Wanting On Quarter-Deck A Rebellion; [4]

Thomas Dignum, born in Sydney, [5]

Timothy Hayes, Chairman of the Ballarat Reform League; [6]

John Joseph, a black American who is credited with firing the shot that eventually killed Captain Henry Wise, [7]

John Manning, a Ballarat Times journalist originally from Ireland, [8]

William Molloy, [9]

John Phelan, a friend and business partner of the elected leader of the Eureka rebellion Peter Lalor who came out from Ireland as a young man;[10]

Henry Reid a stockader who stood his ground and fired repeatedly at the military advance on the stockade;[11]

Jacob Sorenson, a Jew; [12]

Michael Tuohy a survivor of the Irish potato famine who immigrated to Melbourne at the age of 19 in 1849; [13]

Jan Vennik from Holland, [14]

Old Melbourne Gaol

The thirteen were transferred to the Old Melbourne Gaol from Bacchus Marsh lockup on Wednesday the 7th of December 1854. They were held in the most vile conditions, fed barely anything and were repeatedly stripped naked and searched. [John Price] the Inspector of Victoria's prison system and the man who made life so difficult for the prisoners was murdered by a group of convicts three years later in 1857 and some people say "God doesn't exist".

Other Sites

Eureka Treason Trial Map - [1]