Insurrection at Ballarat

Skirmishes between the soldiers and diggers now became frequent ; and, on the 30th of November, when the last "digger hunt" took place, the police and soldiers were roughly beaten off. The diggers, among their tents, set up a flagstaff and hoisted a banner of blue, with four silver stars in the corner. Then the leaders knealt beneath it, and, having sworn to defend one another to death, proceeded to enrol the miners and form them into squads ready for drilling. Meantime the military camp was rapidly fortified with trusses of hay, bags of corn and loads of firewood. The soldiers were in hourly expectation of an attack, and, for four successive nights, they slept fully dressed and with their loaded muskets (rifles) beside them. All night long, lights were seen to move busily backwards and forwards among the diggers' tents and the solid tread of great bodies of men could be heard amid the darkness. Lalor was marshalling his forces on the slopes of Ballarat, and drilling them to use arms as they possessed - whether rifles, or pistols or merely spikes fastened at the ends of poles.


History of Australia