Level : Intermediate
Time to read : 4 mins
Were any of your ancestors present during the Eureka Rebellion at the Ballarat gold diggings or, as it is more commonly known, the Eureka Stockade?
Were they diggers or soldiers stationed at Ballarat at the time of the rebellion in December 1854? Perhaps they were even government witnesses appearing in court against the accused?
Here are four sources to help find your ancestors at the Eureka Stockade.
It can be difficult to determine if your ancestor really was at Eureka. Back in 1989 the Ballarat Courier commented that there were many problems when trying to establish who was present, who witnessed the event, and how many stories have been altered over the years.
We all have family folklore stories in our ancestry. But unless already documented, proving ancestors were at Eureka Stockade can be a painstaking task. Establishing that they were at Ballarat is the first step and that could lead to further discoveries.
The internet and traditional libraries are awash with publications about the Eureka Stockade, however, it can be surprisingly difficult to find an actual list of participants. I eventually came up with a list of four worthwhile options:
1. Men arrested during and after the Eureka Stockade
and government witnesses
The Ballarat and District Genealogy Society has published an online list of the men arrested during and after the Eureka Stockade. It is based on an 1854 Argus newspaper report and includes a list of government witnesses against the accused. See: http://www.ballaratgenealogy.org.au/ballarat-history/eureka/item/344-arrests-at-eureka-witnesses-at-the-eureka-trials
Below is a picture showing an extract of the database’s first page where you can see the beginning of the alphabetical names list. The witnesses are in a separate list further down the screen.
2. 12th Regiment at Eureka : List of Soldiers.
The Ballarat and District Genealogy Society has also published a list of soldiers’ names together with their known biography. This is an excellent online resource which is based on payroll records contained in the Australian Joint Copying Project 3714. The list of soldiers is online at:
3. 40th Regiment of Foot – Soldier’s names and details
The other soldiers at Eureka Stockade were the 40th Regiment of Foot. The Colonial Re-Enactment Society has developed a list of those at Eureka from a wide range of resources. They also have a list of people arrested following the rebellion. See the lists at: https://sites.google.com/site/40thoffoot/home-1/eureka
Further information about the Colonial Re-Enactment Society is available on their Facebook page.
4. The Eureka Research Directory
This book, compiled by Ballarat Heritage Services, lists participants at the Eureka Stockade in alphabetical order. Although the amount of information varies from person to person it includes, as a minimum, the name, the type of association with Eureka and the individual’s profession. Even though it is not online, it is well worth a look for your ancestors’ names and their involvement. Check to see if your local library has a copy or can arrange one through an inter-library loan.
Were any of your ancestors at the Eureka Stockade as either a digger or soldier? Or were they there in some other capacity? If you found these sources useful, please let me know.
Your Family Genealogist
Picture : thanks to Pixabay