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Lawless hordes

The Geelong Advertiser condemned the police’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude towards the ‘lawless hordes’ in Ballaarat.

21 August 1854
Published Source
Australian National Dictionary Centre, The Gold Rushes and Australian English: a resource for researchers, teachers and students, Australian National University, 2005, http://www.anu.edu.au/andc/res/aus_words/gold/index.php. Details
This material is provided by the Australian National Dictionary Centre, a joint project of the Australian National University and Oxford University Press Australia.


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BALLAARAT. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) From every quarter we hear of robberies—stores, tents, and the wayfaring, are alike laid under tribute, by lawless hordes who set the authorities at defiance. If you chance to have much money you are robbed, if it is but little it is taken, and you are shamefully beaten for being so poor. Horse-stealing is usually very rife at this particular season of the year; but it appears that this one is about to surpass all its predecessors—the police, the settlers on the various lines of road, and the pound-keepers, are beset from morning till night by parties in quest of lost horses. In some cases as many as fifty such applicants have been at one police station during a day, and as there is generally a list of acquaintances horses in a similar predicament, the matter begins to assume a serious aspect. The police certainly have lately roused themselves to something like a discharge of their duty, and we may expect that a few of the worthies concerned in these lawless acts will meet with their deserts. But it is questionable if any great good is gained by these fits of official activity, coming as they always do after a long spell of official indolence, during the continuance of which matters have progressed so well that the near approaches of the millenium might justly be calculated on. To all appearances we have abundance of force to preserve social order, the best means of accomplishing which I humbly opine would be to keep those requiring restraint gently in hand at all times, and not as at present giving them free rein at one time, and immediately after to show your power over them, holding them so closely that they will neither lead nor be driven. I have lately heard several complaints by diggers, of narrow escapes from bulls on many of the plains. The settlers cannot be expected to watch his cattle at all times when on his own run, but he can hardly be surprised occasionally to hear of some valuable bull being sacrificed by the passer-by in absolute self defence. Such a course could alone save the solitary armed digger on a plain, and he might be driven to a like means of defence, if tried, in a timbered district. Geelong Advertiser, 21 August 1854