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Discovering History: The Bendigo Red Ribbon miners & democracy in Victoria

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Bendigo Library

259 Hargreaves Street

Bendigo, VIC 3550

Australia

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A new perspective on the Eureka legend. Presented by Dr Marjorie Theobald.

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A new perspective on the Eureka legend.

The orthodox view of democracy in Victoria is that it was the result of the clash between the Ballarat miners and the authorities in December 1854. Yet a Westminster Act of 1850 gave the Australian colonies the right to draft their own constitutions and to enfranchise whomever they chose. Governor La Trobe was so alarmed at the influx of gold diggers that he and the Legislative Council prevaricated, insisting that only Westminster could confer universal suffrage. This paper argues that the authorities were jolted into action by the militancy of the Bendigo Red Ribbon miners in mid-1853 over the licence fee. A few days after the huge protest meeting of 27 August the Legislative Council appointed a committee to draft the new constitution. This document was sent to Westminster for ratification well before the Eureka incident occurred. Eureka is an important symbol of democracy but the Red Ribbon men should be given their due.

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For more information contact Dr Ruth Ford on 5444 7981 or via R.Ford@latrobe.edu.au

www.latrobe.edu.au/archaeology-and-history

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IMPORTANT: This session will be run using Zoom. You will need an internet-connected device to participate. An event link will be emailed to you 1 hour before the session starts.

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Bendigo Library

259 Hargreaves Street

Bendigo, VIC 3550

Australia

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