Breamlea, Victoria

Breamlea, Victoria

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Eureka Stockade and my family

Historical context of the Eureka Stockade

My family moved from South Australia to Victoria in the period 1851 to 1855.  We know they had definitely arrived and settled in Chewton, Victoria by August 1855.  They seem to have definitely left Adelaide by 1853.  This happens to cover the period of the Eureka Stockade.

Now in case your schoolgirl/schoolboy history is as forgotten as mine, the Eureka Stockade was in Ballarat, Victoria on 3 December 1854.  You will probably remember from Primary school the descriptive visuals of the Eureka flag, burning Gold Licenses and the early morning raid on a disorganised  and comparatively defenceless group of miners. Gold Mining Licences in Victoria were incredibly expensive, and paid on a monthly basis. The local miners were subjected to "Digger Hunts" by the Police which virtually amounted to harassment.  The State government powers that be struggled with the administration of the licences which were too much, too often and implacably administered.  At the Eureka Rebellion, 27 men were killed, mostly rebels.

The other night I couldn't sleep and fluked onto a late night television program showing an historical recreation of the Eureka trials.  It was fascinating.  Basically 13 of the Eureka rebels were brought to trial for high treason. Eventually all cases were dismissed. The Eureka Stockade was Australia's first and only civil rebellion. It was a protest about the rights of miners and mining fees, not any grand political statement against the government.  My family, including two generations of miners, living in another mining town a short distance from where the incident happened, had to be impacted directly.  

Historically yours,
Valerius Copernicus

For an interesting refresher, see Wikipedia:

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