The Eureka Stockade

The Eureka Stockade

The Beginning

My Great Great Grandmother Evans arrived from Cornwall in England on a sailing ship. After a long and perilous journey, they landed at Geelong in 1857. They travelled overland by bullock dray with their possessions, to the Goldfields at Creswick, near Ballarat. While they lived at Creswick the miners at Eureka Stockade rose up in revolt under Peter Lalor, whose arm was injured in fire from a policeman's musket. My great great grandmother, who was a trained nurse, helped Dr Gosling to amputate his lower arm. Then the miners and their wives concealed him from the police by hiding him under their beds.

She was accompanied by her three sons and her daughter, Elizabeth, who was married to George Laity. Elizabeth and George had their first child on the Goldfields, and they later moved to Borung near Inglewood. Their first home was a wattle and daub hut, made from the saplings nearby, with a bark roof. And it was here that my grandfather had his leg injured in a fall down a mine shaft when the windlass slipped, and he was handicapped by this for the rest of his life, but still he did some remarkable things.

Accompanied by his two sons, he moved north to pioneer the Mallee, choosing a farm at Ultima in the 1890s. The Mallee had to be rolled by bullocks; heat and the shortage of water until dams were made added to their problems. There was no railway line at this time. In 1900 a weatherboard house was shifted from Borung by a bullock team, which enabled my grandmother and the rest of her family to come and live on the farm they called "Wallaroo". A large underground cellar was dug to enable food to be stored away from the intense heat.

My father brought my mother up on the train from Borung when the line first came through. There was no railway station and his wife stepped out onto a mound of earth. She was the first wife to arrive by train at Ultima. Her mother had given them a cow when they were married, but because my grandfather didn't have enough money to pay the freight on the train, he walked from Borung to Ultima, leading the cow. The journey of 75 miles took about 4 days to complete. He hung his waterbag around the cow's neck, and slept near the cow at night time to keep warm. There were only a few tin buildings at Ultima at the time, and Cuttle's was the first store built. The first crop was broadcast by hand. Drays and spring carts were the only early mode of transport. Gigs and buggies followed later.

In 1902 a terrible drought spread over the country - even fowls died. These were very terrible times indeed for the early settlers battling on the new land. Water had to be carted by wagon teams from Swan Hill some 30 miles away, over sandhills and unmade roads.

My Grandfather received injuries in an accident when a horse bolted, being frightened by a motor bike, was ill for years and nursed by his wife. He died in 1928 and was buried only about 10 miles from where he pioneered. His wife died in 1932 and was buried alongside him.