Chapter 4 [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.]


Incipit lamentatio.

The search for licences, or “the traps are out to-day” — their name at the time — happened once a month. The strong population now on this gold-field had perhaps rendered it necessary twice a month. Only in October, I recollect they had come out three times. Yet, “the traps are out” was annoying, but not exasperating. Not exasperating, because John Bull, ab initio et ante secula, was born for law, order, and safe money-making on land and sea. They were annoying, because, said John, not that he likes his money more than his belly, but he hates the bayonet: I mean, of course, he does not want to be bullied with the bayonet. To this honest grumbling of John, the drunkard, that is the lazy, which make the incapables, joined their cant, and the Vandemonians pulled up with wonted audacity. In a word, the thirty shillings a month for the gold licence became a nuisance.

A public meeting was announced on Bakery-hill. It was in November, 1853. Four hundred diggers were present. I recollect I heard a “Doctor Carr” poking about among the heaps of empty bottles all round the Camp, and asked who paid for the good stuff that was in them, and whither was it gone. Of course, Doctor Carr did not mention, that one of those bottles, corked and sealed with the “Crown,” was forced open with Mr. Hetherington’s corkscrew; and that said Dr. Carr had then to confess that the bottle aforesaid contained a nobbler some £250 worth for himself. Great works already at Toorak. Tout cela soit dit en passant. Mr. Hetherington, then a storekeeper on the Ballaarat Flat, and now of the Cladendon Hotel, Ballaarat Township, is a living witness. For the fun of the thing, I spoke a few words which merited me a compliment from the practitioner, who also honoured me with a private precious piece of information — “Nous allons bientot avoir la Republique Australienne! Signore.” “Quelle farce! repondis je.” The specimen of man before me impressed me with such a decided opinion of his ability for destroying sugarsticks, that at once I gave him credit as the founder of a republic for babies to suck their thumbs.

In short, here dates the Victorian system of “memorialising.” The diggers of Ballaarat sympathised with those of Bendigo in their common grievances, and prayed the governor that the gold licence be reduced to thirty shillings a month. There was further a great waste of yabber-yabber about the diggers not being represented in the Legislative Council, and a deal of fustian was spun against the squatters. I understood very little of those matters at the time: the shoe had not pinched my toe yet.

Every one returned to his work; some perhaps not very peacefully, on account of a nobbler or two over the usual allowance.

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 4-5

Editor’s notes:
ab initio et ante secula = (Latin) “from the beginning of time”, or “from the beginning, and before time” (also translated as “from the beginning, and before the world”); from Ecclesiastes 24:14 (Ecclesiasticus 24:14) in the Latin Bible

incipit lamentatio = (Latin) “here begins the lamentation” or “the beginning of the lamentations”; from the Catholic Church’s melodic recitations of the “Lamentations of Jeremiah”, which are prefaced with the sentence “Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae”, i.e. “Here begins the Lamentation of the Prophet Jeremiah” (regarding the book in the Bible entitled “The Lamentations of Jeremiah”, or “The Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremias”)

nobbler = a dram of spirits (a dram can be taken to mean a small amount, usually of an alcoholic drink; although it is actually a specific measurement, of one-eighth of an ounce or one-sixteenth of an ounce, depending on the source)

*nous allons bientot avoir la Republique Australienne = (French) “we will soon have the Australian Republic” (*rough translation)

quelle farce = (French) “what a joke” or “what a farce”

repondis je = (French) “I answered”

Signore = (Italian) “Sir”, or “mister”

*tout cela soit dit en passant = (French) “all this by the way”, “all that by the way”, or “all this is said, in passing” (*rough translation)

ab initio et ante secula:
Ecclesiasticus 24 : Douay-Rheims Bible parallel: Knox, Biblia Sacra Vulgatam, Haydock Commentary”, Veritas Bible (accessed 30 December 2012)
Ecclesiasticus 24 : Douay-Rheims Bible parallel: Haydock Commentary, Knox, Clementine Latin Vulgate, Sacred Scripture Shortcuts”, Veritas Bible (accessed 30 December 2012)
M. L’Abbe Glaire. La Sainte Bible en Latin et en Français, Amedree Saintin, Paris, 1836, 1836, page 1137
The Holy Bible: A Translation from the Latin Vulgate in the Light of the Hebrew and Greek Originals, third edition, Burns & Oates, London, 1959, page 607

incipit lamentatio:
Lamentations, Book of”, The Jewish Virtual Library (accessed 29 December 2012)
Ephraim Radner. Leviticus, Brazos Press, Grand Rapids MI, 2008, page 277 (accessed 29 December 2012)
Andrew Thomas Kuster. Stravinsky’s Topology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2005, c2000 page 118 (accessed 29 December 2012)
Dennis Shrock. Choral Repertoire, Oxford University Press, New York, 2009, page 148 (accessed 29 December 2012)
Richard Goebel (editor). Lamentationes Jeremiae: Johann David Heinichen, Middleton, Wisconsin, 2003, page viii (accessed 29 December 2012)

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