Chapter 11 [The Eureka Stockade, by Raffaello Carboni, 1855]

[Editor: This is a chapter from The Eureka Stockade by Raffaello Carboni. A glossary has been provided to explain various words and phrases that may be unfamiliar to modern readers.]

XI.

Salvum fac populum tuum Domine.

The more the pity — I have not done yet with the accursed gold licence. I must prevail on myself to keep cooler and in good temper.

Two questions will certainly be put to me:—

1st. Did the camp officials give out the licence to the digger at the place of his work, whenever required, without compelling him to leave off work, and renew his licence at the camp?

2nd. It was only one day in each month that there was a search for licences, was it not? Why therefore did not the diggers make it a half-holiday on the old ground, that “all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”

The first question is a foolish one, from any fellow-colonist who knows our silver and gold lace; and is a wicked one, from any digger who was on Ballaarat at the time.

“Fellah” gave the proper answer through the Ballaarat Times, October 14th; — here it is: —

To the Editor of the Ballaarat Times, October 14, 1854.

Sir,

Permit me to call your attention to the miserable accommodation provided for the miner, who may have occasion to go to the Camp to take out a licence. Surely, with the thousands of pounds that have been expended in government buildings, a little better accommodation might be afforded to the well disposed digger, who is willing to pay the odious tax demanded of him by government, and not be compelled to stand in the rain or sun, or treated as if the ‘distinguished government official’ feared that the digger was a thing that would contaminate him by a closer proximity; so the ‘fellah’ is kept by a wooden rail from approaching within a couple of yards of the tent. In consequence, many persons mistaking the licence-office for the commissioner’s water-closet, a placard has been placed over the door.

I am, Sir, yours &c.,

FELLAH DIGGER,

Who had to walk a few miles to pay away the money he had worked hard for, and was kept a few hours standing by a rail — not “sitting on a rail, Mary.”

Now I mean to tackle in right earnest with the second question, provided I can keep in sufficiently good temper.

On the morning of Thursday, the 22nd June, in the year of Grace, One thousand eight hundred and fifty-four,

His Excellency SIR CHARLES HOTHAM,

Knight Commander of the Most Noble Military Order of the Bath, landed on the shores of this fair province, as its Lieutenant-Governor, the chosen and commissioned representative of Her Most Gracious Majesty, the QUEEN! Never (writes the Melbourne historian of that day) never in the history of public ovations, was welcome more hearty, never did stranger meet with warmer welcome, on the threshold of a new home:

VICTORIA WELCOMES VICTORIA’S CHOICE,

was the Melbourne proclamation.

The following is transcribed from my diary: —

“Saturday, August 26th, 1854: His Excellency dashed in among us “vagabonds” on a sudden, at about five o’clock p.m., and inspected a shaft immediately behind the Ballaarat Dining Rooms, Gravel-pits. A mob soon collected round the hole; we were respectful, and there was no “joeing.” On His Excellency’s return to the camp, the miners busily employed themselves in laying down slabs to facilitate his progress. I was among the zealous ones who improvised this shabby foot-path. What a lack! we were all of us as cheerful as fighting-cocks. — A crab-hole being in the way, our Big-Larry actually pounced on Lady Hotham, and lifting her up in his arms, eloped with her ladyship safely across, amid hearty peals of laughter, however colonial they may have been. — Now Big Larry kept the crowd from annoying the couple, by properly laying about him with a switch all along the road.

His Excellency was hailed with three-times-three, and was proclaimed on the Camp, now invaded by some five hundred blue shirts, the “Diggers’ Charley.”

His Excellency addressed us miners as follows:— “Diggers I feel delighted with your reception — I shall not neglect your interests and welfare — again I thank you.”

It was a short but smart speech we had heard elsewhere, he was not fond of “twaddle,” which I suppose meant “bosh.” After giving three hearty cheers, old Briton’s style to “Charley,” the crowd dispersed to drink a nobbler to his health and success. I do so this very moment. Eureka, under my snug tent on the hill, August 26, 1854. C.R.”

Within six short months, five thousand citizens of Melbourne, receive the name of this applauded ruler with a loud and prolonged outburst of indignation!

Some twenty Ballaarat miners lie in the grave, weltering in their gore! double that number are bleeding from bayonet wounds; thirteen more have the rope round their necks, and two more of their leading men are priced four hundred pounds for their body or carcase.

Tout cela, n’est pas precisement comme chez nous, pas vrai?

Please, give me a dozen puffs at my black-stump, and then I will proceed to the next chapter.



Source:
Raffaello Carboni. The Eureka Stockade: The Consequence of Some Pirates Wanting on Quarter-Deck a Rebellion, Public Library of South Australia, Adelaide, 1962 [facsimile of the 1855 edition], pages 15-16

Editor’s notes:
salvum fac populum tuum Domine = (Latin) “save your people, O Lord”, or “preserve, O Lord, thy people”; from the Latin thanksgiving hymn “Te Deum” used in the Roman Catholic Church (believed to have been written by Saint Nicetas in the fourth century)

sitting on a rail, Mary = a reference to the song “Lament of the Irish Emigrant”, also known by its first line “I’m sitting on the stile, Mary”, written by Helen Selina Blackwood (Lady Dufferin) (1807-1867); the identity of the composer of the music is in question, being attributed to both William R. Dempster and George Barker

*Tout cela, n’est pas precisement comme chez nous, pas vrai = (French) “All this is not precisely like ours, not true” (*rough translation)

References:
salvum fac populum tuum Domine:
Christina Lea Bausman. The Organ Te Deum: Its History and Practice, Arizona State University, page 3 (accessed 29 December 2012)
The Roman Missal for the Use of the Laity: Containing the Masses Appointed to be said Throughout the Year, P. Keating, Brown & Keating, London, 1815, pages 702, 704 [facsimile edition] (accessed 29 December 2012)
F. Brittain. Medieval Latin and Romance Lyric to A.D. 1300, Cambridge University Press, second edition, 1951, pages 63-64 [digital edition, 2009] (accessed 29 December 2012)

sitting on a rail, Mary:
Helen Selina, Lady Dufferin. 1807–1867: 691. Lament of the Irish Emigrant”, Bartleby.com (accessed 12 January 2013)
I’m Sitting on the Stile, Mary (The Irish Emigrant II)”, Folklorist (accessed 12 January 2013)
Helen Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye”, Wikipedia (accessed 12 January 2013)
Recollections”, Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, Vic.), Saturday 7 August 1841, page 4 (accessed 12 January 2013)
Miss Hayes’s concert”, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Friday 3 November 1854, page 5 (accessed 12 January 2013)
New music. — The Irish Emigrant Quadrille” [advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Saturday 27 August 1859, page 7 (accessed 12 January 2013)

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