Red Ribbon RebellionPrint Page
The site of the Red Ribbon Rebellion is marked by two large rocks with plaques on them in Rosalind Park just behind the city's art gallery. The right hand plaque holds a copy of the Ludwig Becker painting, Government Camp, Bendigo, which shows the Camp Hill area where the Red Ribbon march took place.
The Red Ribbon Agitation of 1853 was one of the earliest in the string of events that led ultimately to the Eureka Stockade uprising in Ballarat. Miners were required to pay a licence fee of 30 shillings a month whether they found gold or not. This was an unfair tax that never should have been perpetrated on the people and it was that sense that the tax was absolutely unfair that led them to protest. The miners wanted land and they wanted representation.
They were taking up the American cry of `no taxation without representation.` So they had a meeting and they wore red ribbons to indicate that they would not pay license. The authorities in Bendigo were sensible and suspended the license for a month. That one month without the license fee being collected provided a relief valve for building tensions on the goldfields, but it was only temporary. More meetings and protests followed the 1853 Rebellion, and miners continued to protest the license fee and advocate for changes; tensions eventually erupted in the Eureka Stockade in December, 1854 resulting in the deaths of 27 miners and five soldiers.
|Address:||View Street, Rosalind Park, behind Art Gallery , Bendigo, 3550|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -36.757242|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
|Actual Event STart Date:||27-August-1853|
|Actual Event End Date:||27-August-1853|
|Actual Monument Dedication Date:||Monday 28th August, 2006|
The Red Ribbon Agitation.
On Saturday 27 August 1853, after their massive petition against the hated licence fee was rejected by Governor La Trobe, ten thousand indignant Bendigo diggers gathered for a well-organised protest meeting. To show their defiance they decided to wear red ribbons. Near this spot, their leaders negotiated a temporary solution with the Bendigo authorities. But the underlying conflict about injustice and civil liberties remained. It erupted tragically in the Eureka Rebellion of 1854 in Ballarat. "Political deliberation is the poor man`s right arm. It brought the Magna Carta to the barons, Catholic emancipation to the Irish, and triumphant repeal of the Corn Laws for the people of England. Surely it would bring democracy to the gold diggers of Victoria." George Thomson, Chartist and Leader of the Red Ribbon Movement, August 1853.
Ludwig Becker "Government Camp Bendigo" June 1853
This watercolour was painted two months before the Red Ribbon Agitation.
It shows where the camp was and where negotiations
between diggers and authorities took place
Reproduced with permission from the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
These plaques were placed on 28th August 2006
by the Ballarat Reform League Inc.
in association with the Bendigo Historial Society
and with the assistance of the Vera Moore Foundation