James Robertson

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One Incident is told by Mr James Robertson, a colonist of 71 years, who Is now spending in compara-tive ease the remainder of hls strenu ous life at the Old Colonists' Home. In Mr Robertson held the position of poundkeeper at Glsborne, which was then by road 32 miles from Melbourne. Early in November that year there was a com-pany of the 40th Regiment In barrack at Gisborne, and about twelve o'clock one night Mr Robertson was roused by a vlo-lent knocking at his door. There he found Sergeant-Major Riley, of the 40th, who told jhim that he had been sent by Captain Thomas to say that the soldiers were to leave for Ballarat that night; and Robertson was the only person at Glsborne who knew the way, he was to come at once and pilot them. Robert son pleaded illness, and Riley went back to Captain Thomas, but soon returned with imperative orders. "Meantime," says Mr Robertson, "I had dressed and saddled my horse, and between one and two o'clock the soldiers— I don't know how many, but there was a long string of them - were all mounted, and we set out. Captain Thomas and I rode In front, and half way to Bacchus Marsh he suddenly called a halt, and turning to me asked, Robertson, do you know where you ac-tually are?' I told him It would be worse for him if I did not, for we should soon come to a crab-holey bit of road. "We went on. and soon afterwards two or three of the horses fell and the soldiers went over their heads. 'Right you were, said Cap tain Thomas, you certainly knew the road.' Without any greater mishap, we reached the Woolpack Inn at Bacchus Marsh at about daylight, and after breakfast, the road Into Ballarat being good and direct, I there left them. After-wards I received a letter of thanks from Captain Thomas, who, if you remember, led the attack of soldiers on the Eureka Stockade.[1]


  1. Melbourne Herald, 03 December 1904.