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    A mixed society, courtesy of University of Queensland Press.

Korzelinski, Seweryn

Author, Digger and soldier

An ardent Polish patriot, Korzelinski gave up the opportunity of a legal career to take part in armed insurrections against the Prussian (Austrian and Russian) forces occupying his native country. After being interned for a time in Turkey, he made his way to England. Upon hearing about the opening of the Victorian goldfields, he decided to migrate to Australia in 1852. His memoir of the diggings, first published in Cracow in 1958, was written from diaries and offered Polish readers a description of a little-known, exotic land as well as a vivid account of life on the goldfields. It is notable for Koerzelinski’s reflections on the ‘natives’ and the mix (and sometimes clash) of different classes and cultures on the diggings. Korzelinski also offers some most unusual criticisms of Caroline Chisholm and, as an ex-soldier, an interesting perspective on the political unrest on the goldfields and the military ‘tactics’ employed at Eureka.

Korzelinski left Australia in 1856 and returned to Poland after he was granted amnesty by the Austrians.

Caitlin Mahar

Korzelinski, Seweryn, Memoirs of gold-digging in Australia, Stanley Robe (ed. and trans.), University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1979. Details