Chapter 3 [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.]


Jupiter Tonans.

One fine morning (Epiphany week), I was hard at work (excuse old chum, if I said hard : though my hand had been scores of times compelled in London to drop the quill through sheer fatigue, yet I never before handled a pick and shovel), I hear a rattling noise among the brush. My faithful dog, Bonaparte, would not keep under my control. “What’s up?” “Your licence, mate.” was the peremptory question from a six-foot fellow in blue shirt, thick boots, the face of a ruffian armed with a carbine and fixed bayonet. The old “all right” being exchanged, I lost sight of that specimen of colonial brutedom and his similars, called, as I then learned, “traps” and “troopers.” I left off work, and was unable to do a stroke more that day.

“I came, then, 16,000 miles in vain to get away from the law of the sword!” was my sad reflection. My sorrow was not mitigated by my mates and neighbours informing me, that Australia was a penal settlement. Inveterate murderers, audacious burglars, bloodthirsty bushrangers, were the ruling triumvirate, the scour of old Europe, called Vandemonians, in this bullock-drivers’ land. Of course I felt tamed, and felt less angry, at the following search for licence. At the latter end of the month, one hundred and seventy seven pounds troy, in two superb masses of gold, were discovered at the depth of sixty feet, on the hill opposite where I was working. The talk was soon Vulcanish through the land. Canadian Gully was as rich in lumps as other gold-fields are in dust. Diggers, whom the gold fever had rendered stark blind, so as to desert Ballaarat for Mount Alexander and Bendigo, now returned as ravens to the old spot; and towards the end of February, ’53, Canadian Gully was in its full glory.

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], page 4

Editor’s notes:
Jupiter Tonans = “Jupiter the Thunderer” (or “Thundering Jove”); from the Latin “Iuppiter” for Jupiter, “tonans” for thundering; in Roman mythology, Jupiter was the god of sky and thunder

Vandemonians = Tasmanians; people from Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) were known as Vandemonians, and were widely regarded as having the convict taint upon them, due to the fact that Van Diemen’s Land was the recipient of about 40% of convicts sent to Australia, and continued to receive convicts from the UK for over a decade after the transportation of convicts to New South Wales had ceased (transportation ended in 1840 in NSW, and in 1853 in Tasmania); in the context of the goldfields, a “Vandemonian” was a rough and nasty character

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