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Carboni, Raffaello (1820 - 1875)

Urbino, Italy
Rome, Italy
Author, Composer, Linguist and Traveller

A passionate Italian patriot, Carboni railed against the Austrian occupation of his native country. He joined the Young Italy movement in the 1840s and fought to free Italy from foreign interference in 1848 and 1849. He set sail for Australia in 1852. While a digger on the Victorian goldfields, the fiery Italian became incensed by the frequent and brutal licence hunts – ‘I came, then, 16,000 miles in vain to get away from the law of the sword!’ he later wrote. He attended meetings with other disaffected miners and became formally involved in the Eureka campaign when invited by his friend, Peter Lalor, to join the Ballarat Reform League. Inspired perhaps by his revolutionary credentials, Lalor appointed Raffaello to organise the foreign miners involved in the Stockade. He was not present when troops and police attacked on 3 December, but was one of the 12 miners consequently charged with high treason. After his acquittal (no jury would convict the miners), he was elected to the new local miners’ court at Ballarat and served there for six months. During this time Raffaello wrote his famous chronicle The Eureka Stockade. A tribute to those ‘Brave comrades in arms who fell on that disgraced Sabbath morning …’, his exuberant account of events has been re-printed five times and ensured that today his name is more famous in Australia than it is in his beloved Italy.

Caitlin Mahar

Carboni, Rafaello, The Eureka Stockade, Tom Keneally (introduction), The Miegunyah Press, Carlton, 2005. Details
Lorch, Jennifer, 'Carboni, Raffaello', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 3, Melbourne University Press, 1974. Details
Molony, John, Eureka, Viking, Ringwood, 1984. Details