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FC: A Century Ago It’s Victoria, 1851 and news has spread across the world that gold has been found near Ballarat in Victoria. Workers have left their jobs as every man and his dog gathers his belongings and heads to the goldfields anyway he can. And look! Here come the Yanks, Poms, and Chinese too, all eager to get their hands on our gold. Look out Ballarat! Things are about to get crowded. The life of a digger is a gruelling existence with no guarantee that all of your toil and slog will bring any reward. Many, like Bill here, are forced to work all day sinking deep shafts in the hope of striking a reef. But not on Sundays – oh no, that’s a day for the Lord for whom we give thanks and praise for this great country of hours. But come Monday morning it’s back to work and another 12 hours raking muck and sludge. And what’s this? Here come the troopers to check the miners’ for their licences. 30 shillings per month is paid for the right to mine the Crown’s land, but alas! 30 shillings is more than young Tom can muster so it’s off to the lock up for him. Things are not going well. The gold is drying up, the troopers are becoming more aggressive and more and more miners are finding it hard to come up with 30 shillings a month to pay for their licence. Something got to give. Ahoy! What’s this, a couple of local lads who have had more than their fair share of cheer have called in at the Eureka Hotel looking for one final night-cap before the day is done. But, alas, no luck boys, this hotel has closed for the night. Oh well, off to bed...I wouldn’t do that if I were you! Mr Bentley, the hotel’s owner, is none-too-happy and knocks one of the boys for six – six feet under that is. Despite eyewitness accounts Bentley is found not guilty thanks to the help of some trusty friends. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Miners throughout the diggings are furious and burn down the hotel in retalliation. What a bonnie! But uh-oh – here’s Joe Trooper and he doesn’t look too pleased. It’s off to the clink with you young chums. Things are getting out of control but back in Melbourne, Governor Hotham is undeterred. “Release our friends,” demand the miners. “Give us the right to vote.” But Governor Hotham is having none of it. Send in more troops he commands. The miners are incensed and burn their licences in protest to the cruelty of the troopers and the government. They raise a new flag, the Eureka flag! What a sight! And here’s Peter Lalor taking a stand as the rebels swear a new oath. “We swear to stand truly by each other, and to fight to defend our rights and liberties.” And what’s this? The miners are now hatching a cunning plan. It looks like we’re in for an old time shoot out! That’s the way boys! Oh boy! Building that barricade can be thirsty work – that’s why, when these miners get thirsty, the quench it with a coke. As news spread further afield, ships full of fortune-hunters arrived from Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, America, China and many other parts of the world. Australia’s greatest gold rush had begun! In Ballarat a tent city sprung up almost overnight and soon the goldfield rang out with the sounds of 20,000 people digging for the elusive gold. But there was a problem, the land they were digging on was owned by Queen Victoria, who lived all the way back in England. This meant that to keep digging, the miners had to pay a monthly license fee of 30 shillings per month. The diggers felt that this was way too high, especially if you were one of the many people who weren’t finding any gold. Mounted troopers were sent to check that the diggers had paid their licence fees. These troopers, many of whom were ex-convicts, were often brutal and unreasonable. Sometimes they would force the diggers to come up from the depths of their mine shafts just to show their licences. Resentment about the licences grew as troopers became more and more aggressive. Fights often broke out between troopers and diggers. In October 1854, a miner was bashed to death at the Eureka Hotel in Ballarat. The publican was charged with his murder, but these charges were later dropped. This angered the diggers because they believed the publican was guilty. They suspected that he’d only got off because he was friendly with the troopers. So the diggers showed their resentment by burning down his hotel. Several of the miners were then arrested and so was the publican, who was later tried for murder and found guilty. A group of diggers went to see Governor Hotham to demand the release of the arrested miners. This he refused to do. The following month the diggers held a public meeting at Bakery Hill and formed the Ballarat Reform League. They sent another group of miners to the Governor. This time they demanded that the government abolish license fees. They also asked for the right to vote. Hotham refused these demands outright. But he realised trouble was brewing, so he sent more soldiers and mounted police to Ballarat to help enforce the law. The angry miners burned their licences and then raised a new flag, the Eureka flag. This featured the Southern Cross and became the symbol of their fight for justice. Irishman, Peter Lalor, who was one of the leaders of the rebellion, pointed to the flag and said, “We swear to stand truly by each other, and to fight to defend our rights and liberties.” The other miners repeated this. It was known as the Eureka oath. Then the miners built a barricade from old mining timber and overturned carts. They armed themselves with rifles gathered inside the stockade. In the early hours of 3 December, just before dawn, the troopers opened fire on the stockade. Shots rang out from both sides. About 24 miners were killed and 128 taken prisoner. Lalor was shot in the arm, but was helped to safety by some friends. Four troopers fell in the cross fire. Thirteen miners were charged with high treason, but the charges were later dropped and the men were allowed to go free. After a government inquiry, the hated monthly licence fee was abolished. It was replaced by a ‘miner’s right’ which cost one pound a year and gave the holder the right to mine for gold and to vote. The miners had at last achieved what they had fought so bravely for! When the news reached Ballarat goldfields there were great celebrations that lasted well into the night. Peter Lalor’s shattered arm had to be amputated. He went into hiding until the other leaders were cleared and it was safe to come out again. In 1855, he was elected to the Victorian Parliament, where he represented people of the Ballarat area. He went on to enjoy a long parliamentary career. All the miners who took part in the Eureka stockade will be remembered for the courage and belief in justice. Some say that his armed rebellion gave birth to true democracy in Australia, and the Eureka flag is seen as a symbol of justice and equality to this day. You can still see its tattered remains in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. | A Century Ago It’s Victoria, 1851 and news has spread across the world that gold has been found near Ballarat in Victoria. Workers have left their jobs as every man and his dog gathers his belongings and heads to the goldfields anyway he can. And look! Here come the Yanks, Poms, and Chinese too, all eager to get their hands on our gold. Look out Ballarat! Things are about to get crowded. The life of a digger is a gruelling existence with no guarantee that all of your toil and slog will bring any reward. Many, like Bill here, are forced to work all day sinking deep shafts in the hope of striking a reef. But not on Sundays – oh no, that’s a day for the Lord for whom we give thanks and praise for this great country of hours. But come Monday morning it’s back to work and another 12 hours raking muck and sludge. And what’s this? Here come the troopers to check the miners’ for their licences. 30 shillings per month is paid for the right to mine the Crown’s land, but alas! 30 shillings is more than young Tom can muster so it’s off to the lock up for him. Things are not going well. The gold is drying up, the troopers are becoming more aggressive and more and more miners are finding it hard to come up with 30 shillings a month to pay for their licence. Something got to give. Ahoy! What’s this, a couple of local lads who have had more than their fair share of cheer have called in at the Eureka Hotel looking for one final night-cap before the day is done. But, alas, no luck boys, this hotel has closed for the night. Oh well, off to bed...I wouldn’t do that if I were you! Mr Bentley, the hotel’s owner, is none-too-happy and knocks one of the boys for six – six feet under that is. Despite eyewitness accounts Bentley is found not guilty thanks to the help of some trusty friends. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Miners throughout the diggings are furious and burn down the hotel in retalliation. What a bonnie! But uh-oh – here’s Joe Trooper and he doesn’t look too pleased. It’s off to the clink with you young chums. Things are getting out of control but back in Melbourne, Governor Hotham is undeterred. “Release our friends,” demand the miners. “Give us the right to vote.” But Governor Hotham is having none of it. Send in more troops he commands. The miners are incensed and burn their licences in protest to the cruelty of the troopers and the government. They raise a new flag, the Eureka flag! What a sight! And here’s Peter Lalor taking a stand as the rebels swear a new oath. “We swear to stand truly by each other, and to fight to defend our rights and liberties.” And what’s this? The miners are now hatching a cunning plan. It looks like we’re in for an old time shoot out! That’s the way boys! Oh boy! Building that barricade can be thirsty work – that’s why, when these miners get thirsty, the quench it with a coke. As news spread further afield, ships full of fortune-hunters arrived from Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, America, China and many other parts of the world. Australia’s greatest gold rush had begun! In Ballarat a tent city sprung up almost overnight and soon the goldfield rang out with the sounds of 20,000 people digging for the elusive gold. But there was a problem, the land they were digging on was owned by Queen Victoria, who lived all the way back in England. This meant that to keep digging, the miners had to pay a monthly license fee of 30 shillings per month. The diggers felt that this was way too high, especially if you were one of the many people who weren’t finding any gold. Mounted troopers were sent to check that the diggers had paid their licence fees. These troopers, many of whom were ex-convicts, were often brutal and unreasonable. Sometimes they would force the diggers to come up from the depths of their mine shafts just to show their licences. Resentment about the licences grew as troopers became more and more aggressive. Fights often broke out between troopers and diggers. In October 1854, a miner was bashed to death at the Eureka Hotel in Ballarat. The publican was charged with his murder, but these charges were later dropped. This angered the diggers because they believed the publican was guilty. They suspected that he’d only got off because he was friendly with the troopers. So the diggers showed their resentment by burning down his hotel. Several of the miners were then arrested and so was the publican, who was later tried for murder and found guilty. A group of diggers went to see Governor Hotham to demand the release of the arrested miners. This he refused to do. The following month the diggers held a public meeting at Bakery Hill and formed the Ballarat Reform League. They sent another group of miners to the Governor. This time they demanded that the government abolish license fees. They also asked for the right to vote. Hotham refused these demands outright. But he realised trouble was brewing, so he sent more soldiers and mounted police to Ballarat to help enforce the law. The angry miners burned their licences and then raised a new flag, the Eureka flag. This featured the Southern Cross and became the symbol of their fight for justice. Irishman, Peter Lalor, who was one of the leaders of the rebellion, pointed to the flag and said, “We swear to stand truly by each other, and to fight to defend our rights and liberties.” The other miners repeated this. It was known as the Eureka oath. Then the miners built a barricade from old mining timber and overturned carts. They armed themselves with rifles gathered inside the stockade. In the early hours of 3 December, just before dawn, the troopers opened fire on the stockade. Shots rang out from both sides. About 24 miners were killed and 128 taken prisoner. Lalor was shot in the arm, but was helped to safety by some friends. Four troopers fell in the cross fire. Thirteen miners were charged with high treason, but the charges were later dropped and the men were allowed to go free. After a government inquiry, the hated monthly licence fee was abolished. It was replaced by a ‘miner’s right’ which cost one pound a year and gave the holder the right to mine for gold and to vote. The miners had at last achieved what they had fought so bravely for! When the news reached Ballarat goldfields there were great celebrations that lasted well into the night. Peter Lalor’s shattered arm had to be amputated. He went into hiding until the other leaders were cleared and it was safe to come out again. In 1855, he was elected to the Victorian Parliament, where he represented people of the Ballarat area. He went on to enjoy a long parliamentary career. All the miners who took part in the Eureka stockade will be remembered for the courage and belief in justice. Some say that his armed rebellion gave birth to true democracy in Australia, and the Eureka flag is seen as a symbol of justice and equality to this day. You can still see its tattered remains in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. | A Century Ago It’s Victoria, 1851 and news has spread across the world that gold has been found near Ballarat in Victoria. Workers have left their jobs as every man and his dog gathers his belongings and heads to the goldfields anyway he can. And look! Here come the Yanks, Poms, and Chinese too, all eager to get their hands on our gold. Look out Ballarat! Things are about to get crowded. The life of a digger is a gruelling existence with no guarantee that all of your toil and slog will bring any reward. Many, like Bill here, are forced to work all day sinking deep shafts in the hope of striking a reef. But not on Sundays – oh no, that’s a day for the Lord for whom we give thanks and praise for this great country of hours. But come Monday morning it’s back to work and another 12 hours raking muck and sludge. And what’s this? Here come the troopers to check the miners’ for their licences. 30 shillings per month is paid for the right to mine the Crown’s land, but alas! 30 shillings is more than young Tom can muster so it’s off to the lock up for him. Things are not going well. The gold is drying up, the troopers are becoming more aggressive and more and more miners are finding it hard to come up with 30 shillings a month to pay for their licence. Something got to give. Ahoy! What’s this, a couple of local lads who have had more than their fair share of cheer have called in at the Eureka Hotel looking for one final night-cap before the day is done. But, alas, no luck boys, this hotel has closed for the night. Oh well, off to bed...I wouldn’t do that if I were you! Mr Bentley, the hotel’s owner, is none-too-happy and knocks one of the boys for six – six feet under that is. Despite eyewitness accounts Bentley is found not guilty thanks to the help of some trusty friends. Nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Miners throughout the diggings are furious and burn down the hotel in retalliation. What a bonnie! But uh-oh – here’s Joe Trooper and he doesn’t look too pleased. It’s off to the clink with you young chums. Things are getting out of control but back in Melbourne, Governor Hotham is undeterred. “Release our friends,” demand the miners. “Give us the right to vote.” But Governor Hotham is having none of it. Send in more troops he commands. The miners are incensed and burn their licences in protest to the cruelty of the troopers and the government. They raise a new flag, the Eureka flag! What a sight! And here’s Peter Lalor taking a stand as the rebels swear a new oath. “We swear to stand truly by each other, and to fight to defend our rights and liberties.” And what’s this? The miners are now hatching a cunning plan. It looks like we’re in for an old time shoot out! That’s the way boys! Oh boy! Building that barricade can be thirsty work – that’s why, when these miners get thirsty, the quench it with a coke. As news spread further afield, ships full of fortune-hunters arrived from Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, America, China and many other parts of the world. Australia’s greatest gold rush had begun! In Ballarat a tent city sprung up almost overnight and soon the goldfield rang out with the sounds of 20,000 people digging for the elusive gold. But there was a problem, the land they were digging on was owned by Queen Victoria, who lived all the way back in England. This meant that to keep digging, the miners had to pay a monthly license fee of 30 shillings per month. The diggers felt that this was way too high, especially if you were one of the many people who weren’t finding any gold. Mounted troopers were sent to check that the diggers had paid their licence fees. These troopers, many of whom were ex-convicts, were often brutal and unreasonable. Sometimes they would force the diggers to come up from the depths of their mine shafts just to show their licences. Resentment about the licences grew as troopers became more and more aggressive. Fights often broke out between troopers and diggers. In October 1854, a miner was bashed to death at the Eureka Hotel in Ballarat. The publican was charged with his murder, but these charges were later dropped. This angered the diggers because they believed the publican was guilty. They suspected that he’d only got off because he was friendly with the troopers. So the diggers showed their resentment by burning down his hotel. Several of the miners were then arrested and so was the publican, who was later tried for murder and found guilty. A group of diggers went to see Governor Hotham to demand the release of the arrested miners. This he refused to do. The following month the diggers held a public meeting at Bakery Hill and formed the Ballarat Reform League. They sent another group of miners to the Governor. This time they demanded that the government abolish license fees. They also asked for the right to vote. Hotham refused these demands outright. But he realised trouble was brewing, so he sent more soldiers and mounted police to Ballarat to help enforce the law. The angry miners burned their licences and then raised a new flag, the Eureka flag. This featured the Southern Cross and became the symbol of their fight for justice. Irishman, Peter Lalor, who was one of the leaders of the rebellion, pointed to the flag and said, “We swear to stand truly by each other, and to fight to defend our rights and liberties.” The other miners repeated this. It was known as the Eureka oath. Then the miners built a barricade from old mining timber and overturned carts. They armed themselves with rifles gathered inside the stockade. In the early hours of 3 December, just before dawn, the troopers opened fire on the stockade. Shots rang out from both sides. About 24 miners were killed and 128 taken prisoner. Lalor was shot in the arm, but was helped to safety by some friends. Four troopers fell in the cross fire. Thirteen miners were charged with high treason, but the charges were later dropped and the men were allowed to go free. After a government inquiry, the hated monthly licence fee was abolished. It was replaced by a ‘miner’s right’ which cost one pound a year and gave the holder the right to mine for gold and to vote. The miners had at last achieved what they had fought so bravely for! When the news reached Ballarat goldfields there were great celebrations that lasted well into the night. Peter Lalor’s shattered arm had to be amputated. He went into hiding until the other leaders were cleared and it was safe to come out again. In 1855, he was elected to the Victorian Parliament, where he represented people of the Ballarat area. He went on to enjoy a long parliamentary career. All the miners who took part in the Eureka stockade will be remembered for the courage and belief in justice. Some say that his armed rebellion gave birth to true democracy in Australia, and the Eureka flag is seen as a symbol of justice and equality to this day. You can still see its tattered remains in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

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  • Title: Blank Canvas
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