Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/82

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

with many curses and blows, and the poor fellow was compelled to follow the brutal troopers through the whole of the day's campaign. Next morning, although it was evident at a glance that Gregory was physically unable, to dig for gold, he was fined £5 for having no license, and an additional £5 for having committed an imaginary assault on one of the troopers! "In the whole affair," says a contemporary account, "the Rev. Father Smyth was certainly treated with but little courtesy, and the trumpery story of a cripple assaulting an able-bodied mounted trooper is too ridiculous to warrant serious attention." Treatment of this description naturally engendered a bitter feeling of resentment against the law and its local administrators. The late Venerable Archdeacon Downing, who came up to Ballarat almost simultaneously with Father Smyth, was frequently the victim of the harsh tyranny of the insolent officials of those early days. On one occasion Father Downing had pitched his tent at the Brown Creek diggings, and, with his coat off, was hard at work digging a trench round it to carry off the water, when a brutal trooper, coming up, insisted that the priest was a digger, bailed him up, demanded his license, and subjected him to the grossest indignities. Mr. William Kelly, author of "Life in Victoria," thus describes what happened to himself and his friends on the very day of their arrival in Ballarat: "While still sitting round the hole, musing and chatting; on the strange vicissitudes of life and the infinite mutability. of fortune, we were favoured with no very pleasing exemplification in our own persons by the unexpected appearance of a 'brace of traps' (police), who demanded our licenses; and, so far from being satisfied with our explanations, they were rude and insolent, and, pretending to discredit our