Alexander Fraser

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Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Attorney Alexander Fraser wrote to the Ballarat times:

It was with a painful interest that I went to the meeting on 29th November. Some time after the proceedings had commenced, the only political meeting I had ever attended in the colony, and I was at once deeply struck with the solemn earnestness of its tone, and with the absolute unanimity of sentiment which seemed to prevail; knowing, therefor, from what I myself had experienced from the abuse of local authority, what many others must have felt from a sense of perhaps more recent injustice, it appeared to me as plan as noon day that disastrous results must arise unless the policy pursued on the gold fields were completely altered, and the daily and hourly irritation caused by the collection of the license tax entirely given up.[1]

Post 1854 Experiences

Ballaarat, 27th August, 1855.
I do myself the honor of bringing under your Excellency's notice the, fact that some time after the late disturbances at Ballaarat, Mr. Patrick Curtain, at that time a licensed storekeeper at Eureka, represented to the Commission appointed by your Excellency to enquire into that affair, that he had suffered very severe losses, by having his store enclosed within the stockade erected by the insurgents against his inclination, and which store, with all its contents, was burnt down by the military and police after the capture of the place, the loss sustained by Mr. Curtain amounting to between £1200 and £1300,
Some time afterwards, Mr. Curtain forwarded to your Excellency a Petition, stating his claims. The Petition was numerously and most respectably signed. Amongst other signatures were those of Mr Sherard, Resident Warden, and of Mr. Green, The Resident Gold Commis­sioner. To that Petition Mr. Curtain has not hitherto been honored with an answer, and has requested me to bring the subject again under, the notice of your Excellency..
I have most respectfully, and at the same time most earnestly, to represent to your Exce1­lency, that a few weeks previous to the outbreak, Mr. Curtain had made-up his mind to return home, and had determined to sell off his stock-in-trade, and realize his other interests; and, to shew the poverty and hardships upon himself and family by the destruction of his party at Eureka, I may further state that some months previously he had purchased some land in the suburbs of Ballaarat, and had paid more than one-half the purchase money, giving a bill at six months date for the balance of the price, but when the acceptance arrived at maturity, from his being reduced to poverty, he has unable to retire it. Judgment was obtained against him, execution was taken, and the parties from whom he purchased the land, Dr. Silverman and Mr Wynne, bought it in themselves. Mr. Curtain has, thus indirectly suffered from the burning of his property, but of course has not made any claim for compensation on that account. Curtain and family have, since the outbreak, suffered very great privations, but he has full confidence that your Excellency's favorable consideration of the justice of his claim will shortly result. I trust your Excellency will not consider it out of place for me to mention that I myself am the party alluded to in the Ballaarat Times; of the 2nd December last, as having been some­ what roughly handled at the meeting held on Bakery Hill, on Wednesday, 29th November, which meeting I twice attempted to address, in opposition to two of the resolutions then brought for­ward; but, to prevent all misunderstanding as to my motives in mentioning the circumstance, I may state that I am at present engaged in mining operations, and that should my conduct on the occasion alluded to be deemed by your Excellency deserving of approval, however much I might feel flattered by such distinguished approbation, I shall never attempt to found upon it any application for your Excellency'S patronage on my own behalf; and this emboldens me the more freely and earnestly to beg and urge, both as an act of gracious consideration and of strict justice, that your Excellency will take a most generous view of the hardships sustained by the innocent sufferers, and more particularly of tho!3e of my friend Mr. Curtain, who is very much respected amongst the general and mining community here, and on whose behalf I am alone empowered to address your Excellency. His case is one of peculiar hardship.
In conclusion, I have now the honor of respectfully requesting that your Excellency will be pleased to cause a communication to. be made to me, stating what determination your Excellency may have come to regarding Mr. Curtain's Petition.
Waiting your Excellency's commands,
I have the honor to be,
Most respectfully,
Your Excellency's, &c.,
(Signed) ALEXR FRASER, Scottish Attorney.[2]

See also

John Curtain

Further Reading


  1. From Tent To Parliament, Berry Anderson & Co., Ballarat.
  2. Victorian Parliamentary Papers

External links

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Caption, Reference.