The Eureka Stockade
“The Eureka Stockade was the culmination of hostilities and frustration on the Australian Goldfields in 1854”.
The Colonial Australian society of the 1850’s was the beginning of a new start for many settlers and immigrants; when Gold was discovered in 1851. With the word “Gold” in Australia, ex-convicts, European settlers and Chinese immigrants came to seek riches on the gold fields. The hostilities grew between police officers, diggers. Frustration grew once more when in August 1851 a licence to dig gold was issued. The licence was made of paper and very fragile and was easy to wreck. Europeans became jealous of the progress of the Chinese and were annoyed with their language and decided to act. Ex-convicts becoming Police officers treating the diggers crudely. The “Eureka Stockade” was the digger’s rebellion against the gold licence and wrongfully accused.
August 1851 an official Gold licence was issued out to all Gold diggers whether they had or had not found gold. The licence cost 30 shillings each month, two years later in 1853 the cost was reduced to pounds every three months. Unsuccessful diggers could not afford the licence and made claims that the system was unfair. Gold diggers found without a licence where often chased by police captured and fined five pounds, half of the fine going back to the police.
Keeping the gold licences in good condition was quite difficult. Gold diggers had to have them at all times. The licence was made out of paper, with diggers taking to everywhere down shafts, showing the police officers and the occasional splash of water on it would eventually wear it away or rip; diggers would have to buy another licence in order not to be found and captured. In August 1854 Sir Charles Hotham the newly elected Governor discovered that in 30,000 thousand digger were not paying licence tax and ordered for more frequent licence checks in the gold fields.
Colonial Australia of the 1850’s on the...
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