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Publisher's Summary

“A company of troopers & military carried the war into the enemies camp. In a very short time numbers were shot and hundreds taken prisoner.... The sight in the morning was truly appalling - Men lying dead slain by evil. The remedy is very lamentable but it appears it was necessary. It is hoped now rebellion will be checked.” (Reverend Theophilus Taylor)

A land of almost three million square miles has lain since time immemorial on the southern flank of the planet, so isolated that it remained entirely outside of European knowledge until 1770. However, the first human footprints on this vast territory were felt 70,000 years earlier, as people began to cross the periodic land bridges and the short sea crossings from Southeast Asia.

The history of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, known in contemporary anthropology as the “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia”, is a complex and continually evolving field of study, and it has been colored by politics. For generations after the arrival of Whites in Australia, the Aboriginal people were disregarded and marginalized, largely because they offered little in the way of a labor resource and they occupied land required for European settlement.

Although Australia was actually colonized by the forced dispossession of the indigenous Aboriginals, the Commonwealth of Australia came about by the free federation of six self-governing British colonies in 1901, which makes it one of just a handful of nations that can proudly claim this. Thus, Australia is often imagined as a nation untouched by the pains that have accompanied the births of most other nations.

While it is certainly true that the founding fathers of the Australian federation discussed the future of their nation without the fear of war, it is equally true that Australia’s history was shaped by violence. Along with the forced dispossession of indigenous populations across the continent, there were occasional uprisings among the transported convict population in early colonial times, notably the Castle Hill Convict Rebellion of 1804. In that conflict, 233 Irish convicts faced 97 British soldiers, resulting in the deaths of 15 prisoners. Then there was the so-called Rum Rebellion in 1808, when the New South Wales Corps led by Major George Johnston and the pastoralist John Macarthur deposed the Governor of New South Wales, William Bligh. This event was notable in being the only successful seizure of political power by force of arms in the history of colonial Australia. To the list of politically violent deeds, many historians and commentators add the acts of some bush rangers, notably Ned Kelly (1854-1880), who is often regarded as a political revolutionary.

In the relatively short history of colonial Australia, one event stands apart, both for its revolutionary spirit and its impact: The Eureka Rebellion of December 3, 1854. This was the only time in Australian history when a government was resisted by free subjects of the Crown in a violent conflict. It only took place in one colony, Victoria, but it was an important event in the evolution of the democratic government in Australia as a whole.

The Eureka Rebellion: The History and Legacy of the Gold Miners’ Uprising Against the British in Australia analyzes the chain of events that led to the fighting and its lasting impact. You will learn about the Eureka Rebellion like never before.

©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.