How to find and piece together the events that led to the Eureka Stockade
Earlier this year we wrote about our Eureka Day celebrations where students relived some of the events that led up to the stockade. Not all students have the opportunity to participate in an event such as this and so we wanted to share with students and teachers some other resources for finding out more about the Eureka rebellion and consider what caused the Eureka Stockade.
So what did cause the Eureka Stockade?
There is no easy answer to this. There are a multitude of factors to consider that ultimately contributed to the outcome. Remove one thing and the Stockade may not have occurred. But there are some key events and circumstances that we can look at to give us a better understanding of what happened at the time.
Was it the licenses?
The Gold Mining Licenses that miners had to pay no doubt led to tension and anger on the diggings. The licenses were expensive and often roughly administered by, in some instances, poorly trained and aggressive police.
The restrictions that the licenses placed on the miners were also causing anger. The licenses only gave diggers a small claim in which to mine, making it difficult to find and follow a lead. This meant that Deep Lead mining was often unsuccessful; miners may spend days digging only to discover they have missed the lead.
Had the licenses been cheaper or the police more lenient, the anger felt by the miners may not have been so bad.
Was it the people?
The people that came to Victoria in search of gold were looking for a better life. They had hope and weren’t willing to stand idly by and wait for fate to deal them their next blow. Some people who came had also been involved in the Chartist movement back in Britain and so were in the mood for change. Read more about the Chartist movement in this previous post.
The people on the other side of the dispute, the Government Officials, were dealing with a difficult situation, lots of people, insufficient services and economic problems such as labour shortages. Their decisions were probably also influenced by the Queen and Government they served and those with voting rights; mostly the wealthy land holders.
Where can I find more information?
The best way to understand the Eureka Stockade, and most historical events, is to look at a wide range of information and then come to your own conclusion on what is important.
We recommend the following sites for finding out more:
Eureka on Trial – Public Records Office Victoria
Eureka Research Notes – Sovereign Hill Education (PDF)
Eureka Resources – Sovereign Hill Education (PDF)
The Night We Made the Flag (our blog post)
Do you know other resources you would recommend for learning about Eureka?
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