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On This Day…… 4th July 1857

The Buckland riot was an anti-Chinese race riot that occurred on 4 July 1857, in the goldfields of the Buckland Valley, North East Victoria, Australia, near present-day Porepunkah. At the time approximately 2000 Chinese and 700 European migrants were living in the Buckland area. Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread during the Victorian gold rush. This resentment manifested on the 4th July 1857 when around 100 European rioters attacked Chinese settlements. The rioters had just left a public meeting at the Buckland Hotel where the riot ringleaders decided they would attempt to expel all the Chinese in the Buckland Valley. Contemporaneous newspaper reports claim that the riot was “led by Americans ‘inflamed by liquor'”. During the riot Chinese miners were beaten and robbed then driven across the Buckland River. At least three Chinese miners died reportedly of ill-health and entire encampments and a recently constructed Joss house were destroyed. Police arrested thirteen European accused rioters, however the empaneled juries acquitted all of major offences “amid the cheers of bystanders”. The verdicts of the juries were later criticized in the press. One of the police involved in the arrests was Robert O’Hara Burke, later of the infamous Burke and Wills expedition.

Aftermath – The Chinese miners were invited to return to the Buckland Valley, however only fifty did so. The Buckland Riot has been compared to the Eureka Stockade uprising in size and intensity, but is not remembered such. A commemorative monument was unveiled in July 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of the riot.

 

On This Day – November 26, 1857

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY – October 15, 1872

Living on the goldfields was hard and the threat of bush rangers was constantly on one’s mind. On the evening of the 15th of October three bushrangers named James Smith, Thomas Brady and William Heppanstein bailed up the Wooragee Post Office robbing them of their takings. They then rode to the Hotel next door. When John Watt, the publican of the Wooragee Hotel, opened the door he was confronted with three men with their faces covered. “Bail Up, Your money or your life”. When John refused he was shot, stumbling back into the kitchen where he fell on the floor, and standing back up he fell again, knocking chairs over. His wife then sat him up against the wall and sent a worker for the doctor. On the doctor’s arrival he was amazed that John was still alive. The exit wound on John’s back below his shoulder blade was large enough for a man’s clenched fist to fit into. Unbelievably, John lived for another nine days. Brady and Smith were charged with the murder and sentenced to hang on the 12th of May 1873 in the Beechworth Gaol. On the morning of the execution, Smith handed the Sheriff a hand written statement in the defence of both Smith and Brady. The hangman Bamford, bought up from Melbourne for the occasion, placed a white cape over their faces and the rope around their neck. Brady died straight away. However Smith struggled for minutes after his drop. It was a terrible sight, witnessed by sixty people.

On this day …….. 23rd September 1867

Most of the duelling done on the goldfields was with fist, but on this day in 1867 a report circulated in Beechworth, North East Victoria that a real duel had been arranged, following a falling out between Colonel Probst, the commander of the Beechworth German Rifles, and his adjutant Capt Ahrens. Rumour had it that a matter of honour was involved, with a disturbance over a woman at the Freemason Arms Hotel. An appointment was made for a duel with pistols at dawn. The place chosen was the Raffle Range near the Beechworth Racecourse. The Colonel arrived in good time for the engagement and sat in a buggy nursing a loaded revolver. Capt Ahrens must have had amore pressing engagement because dawn broke without him. After waiting for about half an hour, before leaving with his honour intacted.

 

On This Day…… 4th July 1857

The Buckland riot was an anti-Chinese race riot that occurred on 4 July 1857, in the goldfields of the Buckland Valley, North East Victoria, Australia, near present-day Porepunkah. At the time approximately 2000 Chinese and 700 European migrants were living in the Buckland area. Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread during the Victorian gold rush. This resentment manifested on the 4th July 1857 when around 100 European rioters attacked Chinese settlements. The rioters had just left a public meeting at the Buckland Hotel where the riot ringleaders decided they would attempt to expel all the Chinese in the Buckland Valley. Contemporaneous newspaper reports claim that the riot was “led by Americans ‘inflamed by liquor'”. During the riot Chinese miners were beaten and robbed then driven across the Buckland River. At least three Chinese miners died reportedly of ill-health and entire encampments and a recently constructed Joss house were destroyed. Police arrested thirteen European accused rioters, however the empaneled juries acquitted all of major offences “amid the cheers of bystanders”. The verdicts of the juries were later criticized in the press. One of the police involved in the arrests was Robert O’Hara Burke, later of the infamous Burke and Wills expedition.

Aftermath – The Chinese miners were invited to return to the Buckland Valley, however only fifty did so. The Buckland Riot has been compared to the Eureka Stockade uprising in size and intensity, but is not remembered such. A commemorative monument was unveiled in July 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of the riot.

 

On this day ………… 3rd February 1853

A potentially serious confrontation between the diggers of the Ovens Goldfields in North East Victoria and authority. The cause of the trouble was the system of licensing miners, and the manner in which license hunts were carried out. The miners were particularly incensed that they lacked any kind of political representation. The trouble had it’s roots in a confrontation the previous November between the authority of the Gold Commissioner and a group of miners protesting about the tax by refusing to take out a license. On this day in 1853, a dispute between the Goldfields police and a group of diggers resulted in an innocent bystander being accidentally killed by a police musket. As news of the killing was relayed quickly around the diggings, a crowed estimate at about two thousand attacked the police, overturned the police camp at Reid’s Creek, and prepared to hang the two officers for whom they felt most antagonism. The superintendent of police was able to cool the tempers of the miners and there was no further loss of life.

 

 

On This Day – November 26, 1857

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.

ON THIS DAY – October 15, 1872

Living on the goldfields was hard and the threat of bush rangers was constantly on one’s mind. On the evening of the 15th of October three bushrangers named James Smith, Thomas Brady and William Heppanstein bailed up the Wooragee Post Office robbing them of their takings. They then rode to the Hotel next door. When John Watt, the publican of the Wooragee Hotel, opened the door he was confronted with three men with their faces covered. “Bail Up, Your money or your life”. When John refused he was shot, stumbling back into the kitchen where he fell on the floor, and standing back up he fell again, knocking chairs over. His wife then sat him up against the wall and sent a worker for the doctor. On the doctor’s arrival he was amazed that John was still alive. The exit wound on John’s back below his shoulder blade was large enough for a man’s clenched fist to fit into. Unbelievably, John lived for another nine days. Brady and Smith were charged with the murder and sentenced to hang on the 12th of May 1873 in the Beechworth Gaol. On the morning of the execution, Smith handed the Sheriff a hand written statement in the defence of both Smith and Brady. The hangman Bamford, bought up from Melbourne for the occasion, placed a white cape over their faces and the rope around their neck. Brady died straight away. However Smith struggled for minutes after his drop. It was a terrible sight, witnessed by sixty people.

On this day …….. 23rd September 1867

Most of the duelling done on the goldfields was with fist, but on this day in 1867 a report circulated in Beechworth, North East Victoria that a real duel had been arranged, following a falling out between Colonel Probst, the commander of the Beechworth German Rifles, and his adjutant Capt Ahrens. Rumour had it that a matter of honour was involved, with a disturbance over a woman at the Freemason Arms Hotel. An appointment was made for a duel with pistols at dawn. The place chosen was the Raffle Range near the Beechworth Racecourse. The Colonel arrived in good time for the engagement and sat in a buggy nursing a loaded revolver. Capt Ahrens must have had amore pressing engagement because dawn broke without him. After waiting for about half an hour, before leaving with his honour intacted.

 

On This Day…… 4th July 1857

The Buckland riot was an anti-Chinese race riot that occurred on 4 July 1857, in the goldfields of the Buckland Valley, North East Victoria, Australia, near present-day Porepunkah. At the time approximately 2000 Chinese and 700 European migrants were living in the Buckland area. Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread during the Victorian gold rush. This resentment manifested on the 4th July 1857 when around 100 European rioters attacked Chinese settlements. The rioters had just left a public meeting at the Buckland Hotel where the riot ringleaders decided they would attempt to expel all the Chinese in the Buckland Valley. Contemporaneous newspaper reports claim that the riot was “led by Americans ‘inflamed by liquor'”. During the riot Chinese miners were beaten and robbed then driven across the Buckland River. At least three Chinese miners died reportedly of ill-health and entire encampments and a recently constructed Joss house were destroyed. Police arrested thirteen European accused rioters, however the empaneled juries acquitted all of major offences “amid the cheers of bystanders”. The verdicts of the juries were later criticized in the press. One of the police involved in the arrests was Robert O’Hara Burke, later of the infamous Burke and Wills expedition.

Aftermath – The Chinese miners were invited to return to the Buckland Valley, however only fifty did so. The Buckland Riot has been compared to the Eureka Stockade uprising in size and intensity, but is not remembered such. A commemorative monument was unveiled in July 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of the riot.

 

On this day ………… 3rd February 1853

A potentially serious confrontation between the diggers of the Ovens Goldfields in North East Victoria and authority. The cause of the trouble was the system of licensing miners, and the manner in which license hunts were carried out. The miners were particularly incensed that they lacked any kind of political representation. The trouble had it’s roots in a confrontation the previous November between the authority of the Gold Commissioner and a group of miners protesting about the tax by refusing to take out a license. On this day in 1853, a dispute between the Goldfields police and a group of diggers resulted in an innocent bystander being accidentally killed by a police musket. As news of the killing was relayed quickly around the diggings, a crowed estimate at about two thousand attacked the police, overturned the police camp at Reid’s Creek, and prepared to hang the two officers for whom they felt most antagonism. The superintendent of police was able to cool the tempers of the miners and there was no further loss of life.

 

 

Mount Alexander Diggings

Mount Alexander Diggings

MIA MIA DIGGINGS

MURDER WILL OUT

George Dyer, self-accused, after the lapse of 13 years of a murder committed in 1857 on George Wilson, was tried at the Castlemaine Circuit on Tuesday, on the capital charge. Although the prisoner retracted his confession made in England, shortly after he had made it, there can be little doubt of the truth of the main portion of it but one part of it left it doubtful whether he had killed Wilson in self-defence or not. Taking his own statement and the other evidence, the facts were that in November 1857, Dyer and Wilson were mates at the Mia-Mia diggings. Wilson was suddenly missed, and soon afterwards prisoner left the place, taking with him the tent. He then went to live at a place now called Vaughan, about seven or eight miles from Newstead. To a person named Sinclair there he said he had just come from the Mia-mia and besides his own statement, this was the only evidence that Wilson was ever at Mia-mia, one of the witnesses who proved this at the Police Court and who was to prove it on Tuesday, had disappeared since the Police Court investigation, and could not be found. A few days after Dyer left the Mia-mia a body was found in a waterhole about 60 yards from where it was supposed his tent was pitched. It was not then identified. But an examination of it showed that the jaw had been fractured as if by a spade or axe handle, and in the back part of the skull were several large holes, as if caused by a pick. It was these, and not the fracture of the jaw, that caused death. The inference, therefore, was that Wilson had been first stunned by the blow on the jaw, and then killed by such an instrument as a pick. The body, it was contended, need not be identified as Wilson’s for the confession and the other evidence were sufficient to justify an inference that it was. The prisoner defended himself, and asserted that he must have been labouring under an hallucination when he made the confession; that he never was at Mia-Mia. He had a recollection of being partner with George Wilson for a short time, but he denied having quarrelled with him. The judge left it to the jury whether the prisoner, even if he committed the act, was guilty of murder or manslaughter, and the jury after deliberating an hour and a half, found him “Guilty” of the lesser offence. He was sentenced to eight years hard labour.