Chapter 9 [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.]


Abyssus, abyssum invocat.

“Joe, Joe!” No one in the world can properly understand and describe this shouting of “Joe,” unless he were on this El Dorado of Ballaarat at the time.

It was a horrible day, plagued by the hot winds. A blast of the hurricane winding through gravel pits whirled towards the Eureka this shouting of “Joe.” It was the howl of a wolf for the shepherds, who bolted at once towards the bush: it was the yell of bull-dogs for the fossikers who floundered among the deep holes, and thus dodged the hounds: it was a scarecrow for the miners, who now scrambled down to the deep, and left a licensed mate or two at the windlass. By this time, a regiment of troopers, in full gallop, had besieged the whole Eureka, and the traps under their protection ventured among the holes. An attempt to give an idea of such disgusting and contemptible campaigns for the search of licences is really odious to an honest man. Some of the traps were civil enough; aye, they felt the shame of their duty; but there were among them devils at heart, who enjoyed the fun, because their cupidity could not bear the sight of the zig-zag uninterrupted muster of piles of rich-looking washing stuff, and the envy which blinded their eyes prevented them from taking into account the overwhelming number of shicers close by, round about, all along. Hence they looked upon the ragged muddy blue shirt as an object of their contempt.

Are diggers dogs or savages, that they are to be hunted on the diggings, commanded, in Pellissier’s African style, to come out of their holes, and summoned from their tents by these hounds of the executive? Is the garb of a digger a mark of inferiority? “In sudore vultus lue vesceris panem”* is then an infamy now-a-days!

Give us facts, and spare us your bosh, says my good reader. — Very well.

I, CARBONII RAFFAELLO, da Roma, and late of No. 4, Castle-court, Cornhill, City of London, had my rattling “Jenny Lind” (the cradle) at a water-hole down the Eureka Gully. Must stop my work to show my licence. “All right.” I had then to go a quarter of a mile up the hill to my hole, and fetch the washing stuff. There again — “Got your licence?” “All serene, governor.” On crossing the holes, up to the knees in mullock, and loaded like a dromedary, “Got your licence?” was again the cheer-up from a third trooper or trap. Now, what answer would you have given, sir?

I assert, as a matter of fact, that I was often compelled to produce my licence twice at each and the same licence hunt. Any one who knows me personally, will readily believe that the accursed game worried me to death.

* In the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread.

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 12-13

Editor’s notes:
abyssus, abyssum invocat = “deep calls to deep”, or “abyss calls out to abyss”, or “hell invokes hell”; from Psalm 41:8 in the Latin Vulgate Bible [in various other Bibles, this is in Psalm 42:8, as the numbering of the Psalms varies between different versions of the Bible], “Abyssus abyssum invocat, in voce cataractarum tuarum; omnia excelsa tua, et fluctus tui super me transierunt.” (“Deep calls on deep, at the noise of your flood-gates. All your heights and your billows have passed over me.”); this passage has been subject to various interpretations (one interpretation being that of someone calling out to God, from whom he feels very distant); one usage of the phrase is to infer that one misstep will lead to another (and thus “hell invokes hell”)

El Dorado = (Spanish) “the gilded one”; a place of abundant wealth (especially of gold) or great opportunity; this was a reference to a wealthy gold-laden land or city that was believed to be located somewhere in South America; “the gilded one” (someone covered in gold) was originally a reference to a South American tribal chief who, as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and dove into a lake

in sudore vultus lue vesceris panem [in sudore vultus tui vesceris pane] = “by the sweat of your face shall you eat bread” [i.e. “by working, you will eat food”] (Raffaello Carboni translates the phrase as “in the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread”); from Genesis 3:19 in the Latin Bible

Joe = on the goldfields, this was a call of derision; from the call of warning regarding police on the diggings searching for diggers without gold licences, where a general call would go out amongst the diggers of “Joe”, being a reference to Governor Joseph LaTrobe

shicer = an unproductive mine

abyssus, abyssum invocat:
Biblia Sacra Vulgatae Editionis, Nicolaum Pezzana [Nicolas Pezzana], Venetiis [Venice, Italy], 1669, page 406 (accessed 20 January 2013)
Psalms 42”, New Advent [Psalm 42:8] (accessed 12 January 2013)
Psalms 41:8 : Douay-Rheims Bible parallelChristian Community, New Jerusalem, Clementine Latin Vulgate, Biblia Sacra Vulgatam”, Veritas Bible (accessed 12 January 2013)
Peter Archer and Linda Archer. 500 Foreign Words and Phrases You Should Know to Sound Smart, Adams Media, Avon (Massachusetts, USA), 2012, page 16 (accessed 12 January 2013)
Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Bernanos: An Ecclesial Existence, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996, page 456 (accessed 12 January 2013)
David J. Hildner. Poetry and Truth in the Spanish Works of Fray Luis de León, Tamesis Books, London, 1992, page 88
Clifford A. Hull, Steven R. Perkins, and Tracy Barr. Latin For Dummies, Wiley Publishing, Hoboken (New Jersey, USA), 2002, [page not numbered, page 393?] (accessed 12 January 2013)

in sudore vultus lue vesceris panem:
Genesis 3”, New Advent (accessed 4 January 2013)
Genesis 3:19”, Online Multilingual Bible (accessed 4 January 2013)
Genesis 3 : New Jerusalem Bible parallel: Douay-Rheims, Clementine Latin Vulgate, Christian Community”, Veritas Bible (accessed 4 January 2013)

Speak Your Mind