Richard John Mack
Richard John Mack arived in Victoria in 1852 on board the Coromandel from London via Plymouth. He was a foundation member of Bendigo Medical Association. He was registed in Victoria in 1854 when he was in practice in Melbourne.
Goldfields Involvement, 1853-1854
Signed the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition. Agitation of the Victorian goldfields started with the Forest Creek Monster Meeting in 1851, but what became known as the Red Ribbon Movement was centred around the Bendigo goldfields in 1853. The Anti-Gold License Association was formed at Bendigo in June 1853, led by George Thomson, Dr D.G. Jones and 'Captain' Edward Browne. The association focused its attention on the 30 shillings monthly licence fee miners were required to pay to the government. They drew up a petition outlining digger grievances and called for a reduced licence fee, improved law and order, the right to vote and the right to buy land. The petition was signed by diggers at Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, McIvor (Heathcote), Mount Alexander (Harcourt) and other diggings. The 13 metre long petition was presented to Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe in Melbourne on the 01 August 1853, but their call for a reduction in monthly licence fees and land reform for diggers was rejected. The diggers dissatisfaction erupted into the Red Ribbon Rebellion where agitators wore red ribbons on their hats symbolising their defiance of the law and prohibitive licence fees.
Post 1854 Experiences
- On the 25th inst., an inquest was held at Nunawading, on the body of Richard John Mack, thirty-five years of age, and a surgeon by profession, whose death was occasioned by the adminis-tration of prussic acid. The deceased, it appeared, had been unfortunate, and had taken to drinking. During the ten days previous to his death he had been lodging at the White Horse Inn. On the evening previous to his decease he went to bed at half-past nine o'clock not quite sober, and the landlord of the hotel, on hearing him breathing heavily, went into his room, accompanied by another person, when they saw that the deceased was dying. In about three minutes he had ceased to live. A bottle containing prussic acid was standing close to the deceived, half empty, end with the neck knocked off. He had taken his clothes off and had not been more than ten minutes in the room at the time. Dr. Maund made a post mortem examination of the body, and stated that he found it lying in a composed and natural position. There were no marks of violence externally. Internally the whole of the organs of the body did not show any disease that would produce death. The interior of the stomach was slightly inflamed. The stomach contained a small quantity of fluid, which smelt strongly of prussic acid, as did also the contents of the bottle found near where the deceased was lying. The cause of death was poisoning by prussic acid. On the per-son of the deceased was found £3 2s. 6d. in money. The jury returned a verdict "That the deceased poisoned himself with prussic acid on the 24th inst., being at the time of un-sound mind."
- Sydney Morning Herald, 16 August 1852.
- Bowden, Keith, Doctors and Diggers on the Mount Alexander Goldfields, S.P., 1974.
- The Argus, 27 June 1856.
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