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Unrest on the goldfields

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Unrest on the goldfields

Eureka Stockade

With so many people rushing to the goldfields, the authorities found it hard to keep control. In Victoria in 1851, the government introduced a gold licence, which was unpopular with miners. They organised protests and petitions.

In 1854, near Ballarat, about 500 miners built and occupied a fortress that became known as the Eureka Stockade. The government sent in soldiers to attack the stockade. The soldiers won the battle, killing 22 miners. Despite its victory, the Victorian government abandoned the gold licence and replaced it with the much fairer miner’s right.

Click on the photos below for more information

  • Photograph of a 'GOLD LICENSE' printed on paper, which has been folded and torn around the edges and has a section missing at the centre. A 'Colony of Victoria' coat of arms is centre top, wth text underneath.
    Gold licence
  • Colour painting showing a law enforcement officer in dark blue uniform and cap looking at a small piece of paper. He has a rifle gun in one hand and stands beside a large hole in the ground. He is with two men, one standing with hands in pockets, the other sitting smoking a pipe.
    Licence inspection
  • Black and white illustration showing a landscape view of a seven tents erected near a large British flag, flying among gum trees. Several men are gathered in small groups and another rides a horse.
    Military quarters
  • Illustration of a large group of men gathered in the foreground. Several ride horses and others carry or sit near tools. In the distance a much larger group of people has amassed under a flag.
    Protest meeting
  • Photograph of a' Miner's Right' printed on paper under a 'COLONY OF VICTORIA' coat of arms. Text has been handwritten in several places.
    Miner's right


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