Ballarat Reform League

Ballarat Reform League

Ballarat Reform League

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The Ballarat Reform League was formed in September 1854 at Ballarat as a protest against the regulation of the gold diggings, specifically the League was formed with the view of abolishing the Miner's Licence and having the miners connected with the death of "John Martin", arrested. "John Martin" was a former gold claim partner of James Scobie and 7 others at Dalton's flats, 4 miles from Bentley's Hotel towards Buninyong.

James Scobie as alias Peter Martin was hidden at Father Patrick Smythes tent-church when the riots at Bentley's Hotel ensued.

The first president, John Basson Humffray, was elected until 30 November 1854. The miners then chose to use physical force rather than moral force to push their claims and elected Peter Lalor as their new leader, who lead them to build the Eureka Stockade.

The movement was supported by Henry Seekamp, editor of the Ballarat Times.


  • Tuesday, 17 October: At the spot where alleged James Scobie was allegedly but not killed 5,000-10,000 diggers gathered to protest the acquittal of the prime suspect, James Bentley, the husband of the owner of the Eureka Hotel licensee Catherine Bentley! Bentley fled for his life because the police ordered him to leave as the hotel was attacked burnt down.
  • Sunday, 22 October: Ballarat Catholics met to protest the treatment of Father Smyth's servant.
  • Monday, 23 October: A mass meeting to protest the selective arrest of McIntyre and Fletcher &......
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