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Gold-laced tyranny

Writer Frank McKillop reflects on the commissioners and their administration in 1908. McKillop’s piece, ‘Early Castlemaine: A Glance at the Stirring Fifties’ appeared in the Mount Alexander Mail in 1908.

Archival Source
Robyn Annear's research Notes prepared in the course of writing the book, Nothing But Gold; Private (Robyn Annear). Details

These notes from a variety of primary sources were kindly donated to the eGold project by Robyn Annear.


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The redeeming features of the officials and their administration are microscopical, and the evidence in favour of the damaging reports is overwhelming. There were some humane and honest men among the officials, but they were few in number, and were powerless to prevent the gold-laced tyranny, which was backed by a callous and grasping Government. The Commissioners and Inspectors were, in the majority of cases, military men, and were nearly always in uniform. Every day they could be seen riding about with swords jangling and all the other trappings necessary at that period to make up a military officer. Even military despotism in Russia today [1908] is more humane than that which existed on the goldfields in the fifties. Let every true Australian fervently hope and daily pray that never again in this country will a military caste or military domination exist.