This charter of basic democratic rights was ratified by the miners of Ballarat at a meeting held on Bakery Hill, 11 November 1854, prior to the events at the Eureka Stockade. The lasting significance of the Eureka Stockade is perhaps best represented by this document calling for equal rights and representation. The document also suggests an understanding of the responsibility for the common good that a share in government brings. This call by the miners to have their dignity recognised and valued is echoed in the egalitarian principles we still espouse today.
VPRS 4066/P Unit 1
Ballarat Reform League Charter, 11 November 1854; Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. Details
[A1 Put away
[Given to H.E by Mr Black at the interview on the 27th Novr. 1854
At a Meeting held on Bakery Hill in the presence of about ten thousand men on Saturday November 11th, 1854 the following were adopted as the principles and objects of the “Ballarat Reform League”
That it is the inalienable right of every citizen to have a voice in making the laws he is called upon to obey – that taxation without representation is tyranny.
That, being as the people have been hitherto, unrepresented in the Legislative Council of the Colony of Victoria, they have been tyrannised over, and it becomes their duty as well as interest to resist, and if necessary to remove the irresponsible power which so tyrannises over them.
That this Colony has hitherto been governed by paid Officials, upon the false assumption that law is greater than justice because, forsooth, it was made by them and their friends, and admirably suits their selfish ends and narrow minded views. It is the object of the “League” to place the power in the hands of responsible representatives of the people to frame wholesome laws and carry on an honest Government.
That it is not the wish of the “League” to effect an immediate separation of this Colony from the parent country, if equal laws and equal rights are dealt out to the whole free community. But that if Queen Victoria continues to act upon the ill advice of the dishonest ministers and insists upon indirectly dictating obnoxious laws for the Colony
Created: 22 February 2006, Last modified: 25 August 2006