Robert William Rede

Robert William Rede (1815-1904), a well-connected Englishman, was a miner on the Victorian goldfields before becoming commissioner in charge of the Ballarat diggings in 1854. When disaffected miners contested his authority, pride led him to order licence hunts to provoke a confrontation. This ill-judged tactic resulted in an open rebellion and the government attack on the Eureka stockade in December. Courtesy Australian Dictionary of Biography


4 December 1854

Eureka Rebellion

On 3 December a group of miners led by Peter Lalor clash with government troops over the system of mining licences on the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria. The 13 miners brought to trial for high treason are found not guilty by a jury. In the aftermath of the Rebellion, the government introduces a system of annual licensing called the Miner’s Right. It is hailed as a watershed in Australian democracy, replacing the hated monthly licensing system and effectively giving the right to vote to those holding a Miner’s Right. In the following year an eyewitness account of the Rebellion is published by Raffaello Carboni.


Swearing allegiance to the ‘Southern Cross’, Charles Alphonse Doudiet, 1854.