1854 Eureka Stockade (Australian Goldfields)

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1854 Eureka Stockade (Australian Goldfields)

Postby Josh&Historyland » 17 Dec 2014 15:14

The laughably named "Siege" of the Eureka Stockade, or Bakery Hill, (A siege that lasted 15 minutes?) seems to have gone in a pretty predictable manner. Regular troops in superior numbers stormed the defences and dispersed the rebels, but there then seems to have been some kind of breakdown of discipline, or at least that's what's inferred.

I get the impression that most rebel casualties were inflicted once the troops and police got inside the defences, it is strongly hinted that the wounded were shown no quarter until women began to shield them (I've seen the word massacre used in regards to this action too, I don't like the overuse of this word in a military sense but that's another thing). This sounds odd to me not least because if a soldier goes to town on helpless enemies he's not always altogether likely to stop when seeing a woman throw herself over his target. Then again an attack lasting at most fifteen minutes resulting in only 6 casualties is hardly calculated to make a man's blood boil to the point were he would suddenly go around stabbing wounded men, (true rebels are never usually treated gently but still). So is this anti colonial propaganda at work or did something go very wrong with command and control, .

I've never looked into this before so Internet sources are all I can go on. Thus I will need help, these are my general questions.

1: How did the attack proceed and what if anything got the soldiers fighting mad and out of control?
2: Are there any firsthand accounts of the attack from the regular battalions involved?
3: Which of the government forces are thought to have inflicted the casualties on the rebels, the Army or the police?
4: Any good book suggestions on the subject would be most welcome.

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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby trooper » 17 Dec 2014 18:50

The best, and most recent, book on Eureka is "To pierce the tyrant's heart" by Gregory Blake published by the Australian Military History Publications. I don't know whether the book is available in the UK but Greg's address is, or was in 2002, PO Box786, Bendigo 3552, Victoria, Australia. The last I heard from him his Email address was tigerzouave@internode.on.net Trooper
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby A.Roads » 20 Dec 2014 00:01

I have just participated in a "one off" re-enactment of this 160 yr old event, one of about 150 re-enactors. I attended with the knowledge/impression that most Australians would have of this event. There I met Gregory Blake, attended a talk that he gave & as a result bought his book, his factual account varies considerably from the impression that most folk, myself included, have about the event. As Trooper recommends, definitely get his book, it answers your questions with facts, not opinions or heresay & it is focused on the "battle". It is also under the title "Eureka Stockade - a ferocious and bloody battle".
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby jf42 » 20 Dec 2014 11:06

I remember when I was a kid seeing a movie from the fifties entitled "The Eureka Stockade" and being completely bemused. It was a bit creaky as I recall. Not that we knew much else about those days besides Ned Kelly and 'Waltzing Matilda,' (with "Mutiny on the Bounty," floating around somewhere in the background).
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby Josh&Historyland » 20 Dec 2014 21:03

Sounds like the right place to start, thanks chaps, my list has just got longer.

It's on amazon by the looks of it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eureka-Stockade-ferocious-bloody-battle/dp/1480213306/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby Norwood » 21 Dec 2014 12:47

John Norwood VC
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby Josh&Historyland » 21 Dec 2014 14:41

Thanks Norwood. Who is the author?

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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby jf42 » 21 Dec 2014 16:59

Click and ye shall find!
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby Josh&Historyland » 21 Dec 2014 17:25

I clicked, but did not find; who Raffael Carboni is. But I googled, and did find out he was a principle eyewitness.

Virtue & fortitude.
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby Norwood » 22 Dec 2014 09:58

here is a link to a oz site which may be useful


http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/carboni-raffaello-3163
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby A.Roads » 22 Dec 2014 22:23

Carboni's book will not fully answer the specific questions that you listed, Blake's book will as the 20 minute battle is the main subject of his work. Carboni's work is a must read for any student of the Eureka Stockade but is somewhat politically focused, one sided & generally accepted as self serving.
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Re: What happened at Eureka?

Postby des from down under » 29 Jan 2015 08:30

hi I enjoyed your article thanks..some time ago I recovered 3 40th buttons here in n/z from an old camp , that made me research the fighting 40th and read that after the eureka stockade punch up they were sent to n/z, there is a monument for them in waitara, north island along with some of there graves.that lead me to buy the old movie which I still have in dvd form. here is a pic of the buttons I was lucky enough to recover, regards des
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Re: 1854 Eureka Stockade (Australian Goldfields)

Postby Pronto » 01 Aug 2017 06:54

Being descendant from a Eureka veteran and recipient of all the stories passed down four generations, each version an improvement on the last, I understand the soldiers remained disciplined at Eureka despite considerable provocation. Their drummer boy had been mortally wounded a few days earlier so that did not help. The police, a mixture of ex-convicts and "ne'er do wells" were a uniformed mob and committed whatever atrocities they could. The various commissions held after the "Eureka Affair" made many changes to goldfields administration. These included applying limits to police powers and conduct.
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Re: 1854 Eureka Stockade (Australian Goldfields)

Postby Bushman » 16 Aug 2017 05:02

Some of the Eureka participants went on to be MPs. The grandson of Peter Lalor (one of the leaders) was killed at Gallipoli leading his troops with the sword his grandfather had used at Eureka. Despite attempts to frame this as a democratic revolution (ala Rafael Carboni) this was a conservative uprising about mainly local grievances. Had the authorities been reasonable in the first place it probably would not have occurred. I think that there was a quaint view amongst the elite of Victoria that if they made life as difficult as possible, people would stop looking for gold and return to their 'day' jobs. So big end of town getting in the way of small business. Also far be it for me to defend the police but bear in mind that there were no convicts in Victoria so people of convict background were blow ins from other colonies. There were also numbers of Irishmen amongst the police including ex RIC men. So possibly a Catholic vs Protestant issue as well
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