Aftermath of the Eureka Stockade
When the news of the struggle and its issue were brought to Melbourne, the sympathies of the people were powerfully roused in favour of the diggers. A meeting, attended by about 5,000 persons, was held near Prince's Bridge and a motion proposed by Mr David Blair, in favour of the diggers, was carried almost unanimously. Similar meetings were held at Geelong and Sandhurst, so that there could be no doubt as to the general feeling against the Government ; and when, at the beginning of 1855, 13 of the prisoners were brought up for trial in Melbourne, and each in his turn was acquitted, crowds of people, both within and without the courts, greeted them, one after another, with hearty cheers as they stepped out into the open air, once more free men.
Improvements on the Goldfields
The commission appointed by Sir Charles Hotham commenced its labours shortly after the conclusion of the riot, and in its report the fact was clearly demonstrated that the miners had suffered certain grievances. Acting upon the advice of this commission, the Legislative Council abolished the monthly fee and authorized the issue of "Miners Rights", giving to the holders, on payment of one pound each per annum, permission to dig for gold in any part of the colony. New members were to be elected to the Council, in order to watch over the interests of the miners, two to represent Sandhurst, two for Ballarat, two for Castlemaine, and one each for the Ovens and the Avoca Diggings. Any man who held a "Miners Right" was thereby qualified to vote in the elections for the Council.
These were very just and desirable reforms and the Government added to the general satisfaction by appointing the most prominent of the diggers to be justices of the peace on the gold fields. Thus the colony very rapidly returned to its former state of peaceful progress and the gold fields were soon distinguished for their orderly and industrious appearance.