Peter Lalor

Peter Lalor (1827-89) migrated from Ireland to Victoria in 1852, attracted by the gold discoveries. A believer in private property and liberal institutions, he reluctantly but courageously led the minersí armed resistance to arbitrary rule at Eureka in 1854. He was later a member (1856-71 and 1874-89) and Speaker (1880-87) of the Victorian Legislative Assembly. Courtesy Australian Dictionary of Biography

Events

11 November 1854

Ballarat Reform League

A meeting of miners is held at Bakery Hill on the Ballarat goldfields, and the Ballarat Reform League is formed with a former British Chartist, JB Humffray, as secretary. George Black (also a Chartist), Peter Lalor, Frederic Vern, Raffaello Carboni and Timothy Hayes are leading members. The aims of the League are similar to those of the Chartists — manhood suffrage, voting by ballot, annual parliaments and payment of members. In addition, they seek the abolition of the licensing system, reforms in the administration of the goldfields, and a revision of laws relating to Crown land.

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Bird's-eye view of events at Ballarat, 3 Dec. 1854, by B Ireland.
4 December 1854

Eureka Rebellion

On 3 December a group of miners led by Peter Lalor clash with government troops over the system of mining licences on the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria. The 13 miners brought to trial for high treason are found not guilty by a jury. In the aftermath of the Rebellion, the government introduces a system of annual licensing called the Miner’s Right. It is hailed as a watershed in Australian democracy, replacing the hated monthly licensing system and effectively giving the right to vote to those holding a Miner’s Right. In the following year an eyewitness account of the Rebellion is published by Raffaello Carboni.

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Swearing allegiance to the ‘Southern Cross’, Charles Alphonse Doudiet, 1854.