The 1853 Petition of the Bendigo Goldfields: The Start of the Australian Democracy.

The Roman Poet Virgil asked,
"To what dost thou not compel the minds of mortals, accursed greed for gold?"

The Eureka Centre at Ballarat is situated close to where the Victorian Goldfield uprising took place. On the list of names on the Petition, are those of John Cory and William Corry.

The first major discovery of gold was in 1851 in the state of Victoria at Buninyong  followed by discoveries at Ballerat and Bendigo. Thus by 1853, 60,000 diggers and their families had arrived in the state of Victoria with 23,000 of these at Bendigo. Conditions were tough and they were expected to buy a  monthly licence fee costing 30 shillings.  To enforce this licence the Government employed armed men, many of bad character so although the penalty for working a claim without a licence was a £5 fine, some of the law enforcers handed out their own form of rough justice.

In June 1853 an Anti-Gold Licence Association was formed and a petition was presented to Lieutenant Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe on 1st August 1853. As most of their demands were rejected, the diggers continued their protest with many also evading payment and finally at Ballarat in December 1854 came the violent Eureka Uprising. The Eureka Stockade was attacked by police and military forces and during the short battle, 22 diggers and 7 military were killed. Many diggers died later from their wounds and dozens of the rest were arrested. We do not know if either John or William played a part in this for their signatures on the petition could have been collected at any of the diggings. During the following year licences were abolished and the Miner's Right was introduced. Two of the diggers' leaders were elected as their representatives to the Victorian Parliament and this is now seen as the start of Australian Democracy.

In 1997 information came through our Newsletter (No.12) about a Cory family living in Ballarat. This was news of Thomas James Cory and his wife Lucy Ann Mellett née Lake, whose children, Maud Amelia, Frederick James and Lilian Mabel were born in Ballarat between 1878-88. The family moved frequently because Thomas was a Bible Christian minister and the births of the other children reflected this; Theodore Horatio was born at Sandhurst; William Henry and Herbert were born at Numurkah; Ruby Christiana (died at 18 months) at Carlton; and Evangeline Christiana was born at Clumberdown. After a lot of searching the Rev. Thomas James Cory (1850-1921) was discovered to be the uncle of  Eli Cory (1866-1936)
(Tree: Devon & Cornwall: Jacobstow 18)    Link to Devon & Cornwall pages.

Also missing but not yet found.

The Cornwall page tells us a little about Richard Cory who had risen sufficiently through society until he was entertaining the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Alfred) at his house in Langdon Court in 1891.  Richard had three other brothers, William, Henry and James.  Henry emigrated to Adelaide in South Australia where two generations later his grandson, William Southgate Cory had 6 sons and 5 daughters.  If any of the sons are still living, they will be the only Cory named descendants of William Cory, the lad from Week St Mary, who went up to London to seek his fortune. We would be pleased to hear news of his descendants.

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