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Gold in Victoria

German Rebels at the Eureka Stockade

Image: Battle at Eureka StockadeGermans were among the rebel miners who took part in the Eureka Stockade rebellion on the Ballarat goldfields on 3rd December, the closest Australia has come to a civil revolution. The miners were protesting against the cost of the miners licence and the arrogant and poor administration of the goldfields by the conservative government authorities. One of the rebel leaders was Friedrich Wern from Hannover, who had moved a successful motion at a mass meeting on 29th November that licences be burned. When the troopers stormed the Stockade with overwhelming numbers, among the 30 dead diggers were three Germans: Wilhelm Emmermann from Petersberg, Johann Hafele, a blacksmith from Württemberg, and Eduard Thonen, a Prussian of Jewish descent from Elberfeld (the "lemonade man").
(Photo © D. Nutting) memorial
Memorial plaque with the names of the dead,
Eureka Stockade Monument,
Eureka St, Ballarat
(Photo © D. Nutting) memorial
Eureka memorial in the Ballarat Old Cemetery

The Victorian government mistakenly believed that Friedrich Wern (Vern) was the leader of the uprising and offered £500 reward for his capture.
More about Vern... (including the Wanted poster).

Image: Eureka flag The rebel diggers who were tried in court were defended free-of-charge by Melbourne's best lawyers and were all acquitted. Improvements in the administration of the goldfields and in the political life of the colony followed. Pictured is the famous flag of the Eureka Stockade, thought to have been designed by a Canadian digger called "Lieutenant" Ross (who died defending the Stockade) and made, according to Frederick Vern, by "two English ladies".

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German Australia © D. Nutting 2001