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Riot at Lambing Flats March 1861.

In March of 1860 an American Negro named Alexander discovered gold at Lambing Flat. The European miners of the time only found small amounts and therefore only dug in small areas. Not finding what they had hoped for they moved on to areas that may have produced more gold. The Chinese had move onto the abandoned fields and began to dig with far more diligence. finding gold in much larger amounts. Meanwhile the European miners not finding much gold returned to the fields of Lambing Flat only to find the Chinese had occupied the area and were finding larger amounts of gold. They disliked the Chinese miners on the fields and posted notices to quit on the trees of the area. Eventually driving about 500 of them out of their camps.
The Chinese miners located at Ironbark and set up a new mining camp. On December the 8th and 9th angry miners marched \par o the field of as they called them thieves. Marching through the town burning many of its buildings. They moved to the Chinese camps and began an assault against them. Cutting of many of the Chinese\rquote s pigtails and displaying them upon their belts. On January the 27th a James Stewart addressed a meeting of miners and called that no notice be given to the Chinese miners. Again they were attacked.
By February there were approximately 12,000 European miners in the area. compared to about 2,000 Chinese. With in the European ranks were men who had committed every crime possible as well as peace loving men.
Some of the worst bushrangers know were among their ranks. men such as Frank Gardener , John Gilbert, Ben Hall, Captain Melville and the Frances Brothers. During February of 1861 the Miner' s Protection League was formed. One of their first committed speeches called for the ridding of the Chinese. During March one of the key members of the League James Torpy addressed a meting of its members. They called for the Chinese to quit the diggings. The government of the day called him a rebel and required his arrest. Chief Gold Commissioner P.L.Cloete, along with Captain Henry Zouch and fifteen Mounted Troopers arrested seventeen men. The following was the result of this arrest.
Unknown to the miners the men were released on bail almost immediately. The arrest sparked a riot. The miners meet within the town to force the realise. They raged through the town causing havoc, Destroying buildings, fried their weapons and caused general mayhem. A detachment of the12th Foot East Suffolk Regiment was dispatched along with Burtons Artillery Brigade. With the police presence of 116 and a military presence of 174 the total number was 290. The detachments arrived at Lambing Flat of March th e 11th 1861. For several months the unrest continued. The Chinese mining camp at Lambing flat had been totally destroyed by the rioters. Eventually calm would be restored but it would take many months fro the tensions to ease.
Many books state a lot of Chinese & Europeans were killed. We have been unable to find actual proof of this. News papers of the time recorded the Riots but the truth had been well and truly bent.
Family Members, Military records  ,Pay rolls, Pay Musters, Cemetery Records, Church Records & General Muster Records, Mitchell Library ,Sydney Australia
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Last revised: Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:07:38