Joseph Roff

From eurekapedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Joseph Roff was born at Bradford, England.

At the meeting of old identities, held on Wednesday evening at Ballarat, for the purpose of erecting a memorial on the site of the Eureka Stockade, Councillor Roff related that George Black, who was connected very prominently with the stockade, took refuge in his house immediately after the affair. Though are reward of L500 was offered for Black's capture, he and Mr. Roff passed the police in the streets on the night after the stockade was captured.[1]


BALLARAT. monday.
The news of the death in Melbourne of Mr. Joseph Roff, has caused much regret in Ballarat, where he arrived in the early fifties. Mr. Roff, who carried on business up to the time of his death in the Main-road, has been ailing for several, years, and recently he proceeded to Melbourne, in the hope that the change of air would prove beneficial. The deceased gentleman, who was 68 years of age, had a vivid recollection of the occurrences during the Eureka stockade epoch, and was a sympathiser with the diggers. Black, one of the Eureka insurgents, found in Mr. Roff's premises a haven of refuge, and the deceased gentleman also offered "cover " to other of the Stockade insurgents. He warmly advocated the erection of the post and telegraph office which now ornaments the Main-road, and he was also a leading figure in the movement that led to the construction of the spacious public baths. For a number of years deceased was a leading member of the Ballarat East Town Council, and an enthusiastic member of the committee of the public library, the presidential chair of which he filled for several terms. He was unmarried, and a native of Bradford. England. As a tribute of respect flags were to-day hoisted at half-mast at the town hall, public library, Old Colonists' Hall and Ballarat Fire Brigade station.[2]


On 25 July 1884 the committee resolved to inspect the Eureka Stockade Reserve and determine the site for the proposed memorial, and invite the Ballarat East Council to participate. The committee met at Joseph's Hotel, Eureka Street as a diversity of opinion exists regarding the position once occupied by the stockade.[3]

Eureka Stockade Monument, 2008, Photography: Clare Gervasoni.
The great interest taken in everything concerning the Eureka Stockade was evident yesterday, when several hundred persons gathered at the site at Eureka Street, Ballarat East, for the purpose of fixing the exact spot where the fight took place, on which the monument will shortly be erected. Besides a large number of Stockaders and old identities, there were present Messrs James and Russell, M.L.A., Mayor Ferguson and Councillors Lewis, Morrison, Williams, Roff, Gregory, Walker, Scott, Elsworth, and Messrs Bechervaise, J.N. Wilson, H. Josephs, Lester, C. Dyte, D. Turpie and Mr H.A. King, the architect. Mr James Esmond, the gold discoverer, who looked very well, was amongst the Stockaders present. It soon became apparent that great difficulty was in the way of setting down the exact boundaries of the Stockade, which measured about 400 feet in diameter, This was on account of the great change in the surface, the neighbourhood having undergone considerable change in the course of thirty years. Each knot of Stockaders was of a different opinion, and the scenes were rather amusing, as each one stuck stubbornly to his opinion. the memorial committee recognised the difficulty, but had not foreseen anything of the sort, no arrangement had been made to take evidence on the point. Ultimately Councillor Roff exclaimed - "Let us make a ring and get the different opinions." This idea was carried out. Mr James, M.L.A. said that he had come to the conclusion that the Stockade was to the north of the Eureka Street rise. there were cries of 'No, No." Nearly all the remaining diggers were of the opinion that the fight took place about 200 yards to the north of Eureka Street, and ultimately the spot which is about 200 yards to the east of what was generally accepted as the site, was set down as the centre of the Stockade. Mayor Ferguson duly made the announcement, which was received with cheers. The sport selected, even if not actually the exact site of the Stockade, was undoubtedly the most suitable for the monument, which will probably be unveiled on the 30th anniversary in December next. About 50 pounds is still required for the completion of the monument. it is not generally known that 12 acres in the neighbourhood of the Stockade has been declared a reserve, The whole, or a portion of this reserve, will shortly be fenced in by the Town Council.

On June 26th 1884 several hundred men gathered at Eureka Street and argued. The Star the next day said that the proceedings almost became another Eureka riot. Joseph Roff waving his famous umbrella, ordered that a ring should be formed of those who had been present at the fight and each should give his opinion. [4]

Also See

Ballarat East

Old Colonists' Association

Charles Dyte
  1. Weekly Times, 19 April 1884.
  2. The Age, 22 May 1894.
  3. Chisholm, J.A., A few notes o the site of the Eureka Memorial, 1974.
  4. Spielvogel, Nathan, Spielvogel papers, Vol. 1, Ballarat Historical Society, 1974.