Policing in Australia Since 1788 - In the Line of Duty
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License to prospect for gold

VIC 1852
Licensing Diggers, Forest Creek, 1st of the month, renewing licenses, 1852
Engraving, 7.3 x 11.4cm
La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria

Police collected license fees from goldfield workers (known as 'diggers') on the goldfields in Victoria.
The 'Eureka Stockade' came about because the diggers opposed the government miners' licences. Licence fees had to be paid regardless of whether a digger's claim resulted in any gold. Less successful diggers found it difficult to pay their licence fees. When in 1854 Governor Hotham set up licence checks twice a week to enforce the licensing laws the diggers publicly burned their mining licences in protest at a meeting where the famous Southern Cross flag was displayed. In response to the meeting, the Gold Commissioner ordered a licence hunt for the following day.
On 30 November another mass burning of licences took place at a meeting on Bakery Hill. The diggers then marched to the Eureka diggings where they built the stockade.
On the morning of Sunday 3 December the 12th and 40th Regiments and police troopers attacked the stockade. 22 diggers and 5 troopers were killed in the fighting.
In March 1855 the Gold Fields Commission handed down a report which resulted in all the demands of the diggers being met. A bill was passed in 1854 for diggers possessing a miner's right costing 1 to vote. Previously a 6 months residency and an 8 yearly mining licence were required before a digger could register to vote.

Police Office Evandale, Tasmania
Policing the goldfields
Gold Police capture BushRanger by night