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    Medal and Bar: Maharajpoor Star - Issued to Lieut. John W. Thomas, Officer in Command at Eureka, courtesy of Sovereign Hill Gold Museum.

Rede, Robert William (1815 - 1904)

Suffolk, England
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Goldfields Commissioner and Sheriff

Robert Rede arrived in Port Phillip in 1851 and, after some success as a digger, was employed by the Goldfields Commission, becoming Resident Commissioner at Ballarat in May 1854. Rede initially sympathised with the miners and their criticisms of the licence system. However, in the midst of the unrest and confusion that preceded the Eureka Stockade, he became convinced that the diggers’ agitation over a miscarriage of justice and the hated licence system was ‘a mere cloak to cover a democratic revolution’ and had to be utterly crushed. Backed by military reinforcements sent by Governor Hotham, he used an aggressive licence hunt to provoke more serious digger resistance and thus justified an attack on them.

In the wake of the condemnation of the storming of the stockade, Rede was removed from Ballarat. He was let off lightly by the royal commission, however, and went on to enjoy a long career as a member of Victorian officialdom.

Caitlin Mahar

Bate, Weston, 'Rede, Robert William (1815 - 1904)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 6, Melbourne University Press, 1974. Details
Molony, John, Eureka, Viking, Ringwood, 1984. Details