Chapter 37 [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.]


Lalor stump, Bakery-Hill.

Brave LALOR —
Was found “all there,”
With dauntless dare,
His men inspiring;
To wolf or bear,
Defiance bidding,
He made us swear,
Be faithful to the Standard, }
For Victory or Death! } (bis)


On that Thursday, November 30th, more memorable than the disgraced Sunday, December 3rd, the SUN was on its way towards the west: in vain some scattered clouds would hamper its splendour — the god in the firmament generously ornamented them with golden fringes, and thus patches of blue sky far off were allowed to the sight, through the gilded openings among the clouds.

The “SOUTHERN CROSS” was hoisted up the flagstaff — a very splendid pole, eighty feet in length, and straight as an arrow. This maiden appearance of our standard, in the midst of armed men, sturdy, self-overworking gold-diggers of all languages and colours, was a fascinating object to behold. There is no flag in old Europe half so beautiful as the “Southern Cross” of the Ballaarat miners, first hoisted on the old spot, Bakery-hill. The flag is silk, blue ground, with a large silver cross, similar to the one in our southern firmament; no device or arms, but all exceedingly chaste and natural.

Captain Ross, of Toronto, was the bridegroom of our flag, and sword in hand, he had posted himself at the foot of the flag-staff, surrounded by his rifle division.

Peter Lalor, our Commander-in-chief, was on the stump, holding with his left hand the muzzle of his rifle, whose butt-end rested on his foot. A gesture of his right hand, signified what he meant when he said, “It is my duty now to swear you in, and to take with you the oath to be faithful to the Southern Cross. Hear me with attention. The man who, after this solemn oath does not stand by our standard, is a coward in heart.

“I order all persons who do not intend to take the oath, to leave the meeting at once.

“Let all divisions under arms ‘fall in’ in their order round the flag-staff.”

The movement was made accordingly. Some five hundred armed diggers advanced in real sober earnestness, the captains of each division making the military salute to Lalor, who now knelt down, the head uncovered, and with the right hand pointing to the standard exclaimed a firm measured tone:—

“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other, and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

An universal well rounded amen, was the determined reply; some five hundred right hands stretched towards our flag.

The earnestness of so many faces of all kinds of shape and colour; the motley heads of all sorts of size and hair; the shagginess of so many beards of all lengths and thicknesses; the vividness of double the number of eyes electrified by the magnetism of the southern cross; was one of those grand sights, such as are recorded only in the history of “the Crusaders in Palestine.”

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 49-50

Editor’s notes:
bis = (Latin) “again” or “repeat”; a term used, especially in music, to ask that a passage or performance be repeated

Lalor stump, Bakery-Hill = refers to Lalor standing upon a tree stump, at the meeting on Bakery Hill, to address the miners; although, “on the stump” can also be used in a figurative sense, to refer to someone giving a speech

[Editor: Added quotation mark after “their order round the flag-staff.”]

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