Governor Charles Hotham

While matters were in this state of dishevel, Governor Latrobe up and retired from office ; and in June, 1854, Sir Charles Hotham arrived to fill in the position. On his first arrival, he showed that his sympathies were, to a great extent, with the diggers. But he could scarcely be expected to make any important change, until he had been a few months in the colony an had learnt exactly the state of affairs; and, meanwhile, the discontent on the gold fields was increasing daily. The months of September and October, in 1854, were exceedingly dry; the creeks were greatly shrunk in volume, and in many places the diggers could find no water either for drinking or for gold washing ; and their irritation was not at all soothed by the manners of the commissioners and police. Besides this, the Government had thought it was necessary to form a camp on the gold fields, so that a large body of soldiers dwelt constantly in the midst of the miners. The soldiers and the officers, of course, supported the commissioners , and, like them, soon came to be regared with the greatest disfavour.

The gold field population was in this irritable state when a trifling incident kindled and extensive revolt, the Riot of Ballarat.


History of Australia