Eureka Stockade:Rede reads the Riot Act

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Eureka Stockade:Rede reads the Riot Act is associated with Ballarat, Victoria located at these coordinates -37.5621071, 143.8561493

This letter from Resident Gold Fields Commissioner Robert Rede describes the dispersal of a diggers’ meeting on Saturday 2 December 1854, and the ongoing efforts of the diggers to gain arms. Rede's reference to a cypher message is part of a chain of correspondence in code that was discussed in the 1855 Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of the Gold Commission. A witness to the Commission stated that this correspondence was not included in the official files at the time. It is not known if this correspondence survives.

Record Citation: VPRS 1189/P Unit 92, J54/14461
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Agency: VA Colonial Secretary's Office
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Date: 1/12/1854
Record Type: Letter
Event Type: Show of Force
Language: en
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Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
01189-p0000-000092-0890-010-001.jpg The Chief Commissioner of the Gold Fields 54/ Resident Commr. Ballarat December 2nd 1854

Ballarat Decr. 1st 1854 54/J144461

Sir, I have the honor to inform you that a meeting was held last evening: the miners were armed – it was reported the camp would be attached, we were under arms all night. This morning at 4 o’clock a meeting of armed Diggers took place on the Bakery Hill- we went out in force to disperse them – they dispersed on seeing us leave the camp. Whilst a meeting was being held about 9 o’clock, large numbers of Diggers came up to the Township in parties of threes & fours, we did not deem it prudent to leave the camp to disperse the meting; about 11 o’clock the number on the township by Baths’ Hotel and in the and the street at the back of the Camp became so considerable,

Image Transcript Margin Notes Body of Transcript
01189-p0000-000092-0890-010-001v.jpg that we deemed it advisable to that the public houses and request the people to disperse – they would not do so. I then ordered Mr. Webster to read the Riot Act, and the Mounted Police cleared the ground.

Two men were arrested, one was armed. Another meeting is to be held tonight, the miners are demanding arms of the storekeepers & are reported to be stopping drays in search of arms as far as Bunit Bridge on the Geelong Road. My views on this affair are the same as in my despatch last night. I enclose a cypher letter to His Excellency who has the key & request it may be forwarded to him immediately. I have the honor to be Sir, Your most obedt. Servant. Robt. Rede Resd. Commr.

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