One of the treasures in the State Library’s collections that fascinates family historians is the Bendigo Goldfields Petition.
Hundreds of thousands of eager diggers arrived in Victoria in the early 1850s from across Australia and overseas. In the height of the gold rush in 1852 about 5,000 were arriving in Bendigo each week, seeking their fortune in the diggings such as the famous Eaglehawk Gully.
In mid 1853, a petition listing 12 grievances was signed by over 5,000 diggers. It was presented to Lieutenant-Governor La Trobe in Melbourne but failed to change conditions on the goldfields. The miners’ resentment culminated in the Eureka uprising at Ballarat in December 1854. The Treasures and curios section of our website provides further information about this 13 metre long petition as well as other special items in our collection.
You can easily check to see if your ancestor added their name to the miners campaign to improve life on the goldfields of Victoria, including Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, and Stawell. The Library took 2 years to painstakingly transcribe the names of signatories on the petition as part of a Life on the goldfields exhibition.