Eureka Rebellion Research Paper

1353 Words 6 Pages
‘The government and goldfields’ administration were more to blame for the Eureka Rebellion than the miners.’ To what extent do you agree?

In 1854, the Eureka Rebellion occurred in Ballarat, and involved miners rebelling against the government and goldfields’ administration, for the purpose of better rights and freedoms. This was the climax of a long dispute between the two. The government and goldfields’ administration, to a significant extent, can be held more to blame for the Eureka Rebellion, when compared to the miners. This is due to the unfair licence fee system, which was forced upon the miners. Furthermore, the government and goldfields’ administration can indubitably be held more to blame, due to the majority of them being corrupt
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For instance, in regards to the police force, or ‘troopers’, on the fields, this was certainly true. This is because, “many troopers were ex-convicts who had been imprisoned in a system that was brutal and which presumed all to be guilty.” As a result, once they became police, many ex-convicts carried the same attitude into dealing with miners. This resulted in major conflict between the law-abiding miners and them, as many miners were outraged by the way in which they were being treated. For instance, during licence hunts, many miners were hassled by the troopers and were treated extremely poorly. In fact, if during a licence hunt a miner failed to produce their licence - irrespective of whether or not they actually owned one - they were arrested and punished. Due to the attitudes of the ex-convict troopers, these punishments were extremely cruel and unjust. For instance, there are reports of diggers being, “chained to trees and logs” overnight or in the blazing sun. Some were even locked up in cells for days without trial, until a magistrate was available. This was the, “favourite amusement of both officers and men.” This demonstrates the harshness of the police force, which was cause for significant resentment by the miners. The police-force was meant to be maintaining peace on the gold-fields, but instead caused major unrest. The miners were outraged and angered by how poorly they were being treated. This further heightened tensions, instigating the rebellion. Moreover, it was not only the troopers themselves who can be held accountable, but also the magistrates. This is because, many of the magistrates were unjust and corrupt. For instance, in the trial of Scobie’s murder, the Magistrate gave the accused murderer, James Bentley, preferential treatment, due to him being a business partner. This

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