Blackguard Gully | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Blackguard Gully

Item details

Name of item: Blackguard Gully
Other name/s: Lambing Flat gold fields; Burrangong goldfields
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Exploration, Survey and Events
Category: Massacre/battle site
Location: Lat: -34.3187517081 Long: 148.3100782780
Primary address: Whiteman Avenue, Young, NSW 2594
Parish: Young
County: Monteagle
Local govt. area: Young
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Young
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
CROWN LAND    
PART LOT7313 DP1160640
PART LOT7314 DP1160640
PART LOT7315 DP1160640
PART LOT7316 DP1160640
PART LOT7317 DP1160640
LOT2524 DP46320
LOT304 DP754611
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Whiteman AvenueYoungYoungYoungMonteaglePrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
former Young Shire CouncilLocal Government 

Statement of significance:

Blackguard Gully is of historical significance as the site of one of the worst riots against Chinese miners in Australian history. In late 1860 and early 1861 there were several attacks on Chinese miners. On 30 June 1861 some 3000 Europeans marched against Chinese miners on Lambing Flat goldfields, attacking their two main camps at Blackguard Gully and Back Creek. They carried a flag with the words 'Roll-up Roll-up No Chinese', which is now on display in the Lambing Flat Folk Museum. The riot led to the passing of legislation to restrict access to goldfields to aliens and to refuse miners' rights to aliens. The violence of these riots resulted in the government responding to community concern by passing a Chinese Immigration Restriction Act and at an Intercolonial Conference held in 1880 and 1881 uniform restrictive immigration laws were adopted. The march of the Europeans through the town on 30 June 1861 and the later declaration of the Riot Act were of immense significance to the history of the town of Young. In 1861 Lambing Flat had its name changed to Young.

Blackguard Gully is associated with the Chinese who camped in the area in the early 1860s and who mined for gold at Lambing Flat. The events of the time are also remembered by the town of Young today with Lambing Flat Festival in April, which includes a re-enactment of the 'Roll Up' and reading of the Riot Act.

It has potential to yield archaeological information on the use of the site in the 1860s and beyond. Although many gold fields experienced protests against the Chinese, Lambing Flat was unique in the level of organisation of the riots, the purpose made flag that was carried, and the fact that the site of the riot survives as a public space (Blackguard Gully).
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Description

Designer/Maker: Not applicable
Builder/Maker: Not applicable
Construction years: 1860-1861
Physical description: Blackguard Gully lies on either side of the creek running west/east along Victoria Gully Creek and is used as a Reserve. In the early twenty-first century the creek is crossed by a simple wooden bridge and the Reserve has open grassland and trees. A sign in the Reserve reads 'BLACKGUARD GULLY. THIS MINING AREA WAS ALLOTED TO THE CHINESE AND WORKED BY THEM AFTER THE RIOTS 1861.' (Holland ND).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The condition of the site is fair. There has been no apparent attempt to preserve any indicators of the Chinese occupation of the site. Archaological potential is low due to the extenive mine workkings that cover the site. Some archaeological depositis maybe located in some of the less disturbed areas located towards the edges of the site.
Date condition updated:20 Nov 06
Current use: Recreation area
Former use: Chinese mining camp

History

Historical notes: "The land on which Young is located formed part of the lands over which the 'Wiradjuri' Koori people once wandered. However, as the area lacked a reliable permanent water supply the 'Wiradjuri' didn't regularly camp in the region, except during prolific seasons or when travelling between areas around the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers" (ACT Government 2001A).

In 1826 James White moved to the area now known as Young and settled at Burrangong Station. The site where Young now stands was a well-sheltered valley with a good water source. White setup sheep yards and an area was reserved for lambing ewes, thus the name 'Lambing Flat'. In March 1860 White's nephew Dennis Rogan and Alexander the Yankee found gold along the creek (Young Visitor Information Centre 2005).

Within six months roughly 1200 Europeans and 500 Chinese were working in the area. The large influx of miners from all parts of the world saw the establishment of Young as a township (Migration Heritage Centre 2003:2). The poor returns experienced by many European miners led to increasing resentment of the Chinese. On 13 November 1860 500 Chinese were forced out of their camp, their tents burnt and their sites/titles taken over. (Kimberley Webber 2004)

On 12 December 1860 "the miners in driving off the Chinese were reported to have killed two in the action of cutting off their pigtails, detaching part of their scalps in doing so" (Bayley 1977:24). "Sydney was disturbed. The Sydney Morning Herald leader asserted that the Government should foresee and provide against such emergencies. International relations between the British and Chinese Governments threatened to become strained. Captain Zouch, commandant of the Southern Police Patrol, was rushed to the diggings with a contingent of troopers. Captain Zouch reported that he could find no trace of any Chinese said to have been injured. Although their arrival brought the police force to eight mounted and two detectives, riots broke afresh on the last Friday in January 1861 when the Europeans assembled and with threat of arms drove off the Chinese and threatened the police barracks if the police interfered. Forming up in marching order and headed by a banner and a band for music the [European] miners marched to Blackguard Gully and drove off some 200 Chinese" (ACT Government 2005B).

Following this march "Captain Zouch, Chief Commissioner Cloete, Commissioner Dickson and Police Inspector Singleton with six foot police arrested 11 men who they placed in the lockup charged with setting fire to the tents of the Chinese. Scouts brought in men from Stoney Creek until 4000 assembled and demanded the release of the prisoners. The next morning the prisoners appeared before the court, the evidence was said to be unsatisfactory, [and the 11 men] were cautioned and discharged" (ACT Government 2005B). This was followed by European shop owners driving off their Chinese servants. The Police kept the Chinese out of town for fear of further violence (Bayley 1977:26).

By February 1861 new finds meant that there were over 12,000 Europeans and 2000 Chinese working on the goldfields. On 25 February 1861 the NSW government "dispatched a contingent of troopers comprising cavalry, 20 mounted police escort for artillery with three 12 pounder field guns and 130 men of the 12th Regiment of Foot under Captain Atkinson. The troops arrived on Monday May 11, they set up quarters on Camp Hill, erected buildings and dug trenches and fortifications at the corner of Campbell and Berthong Streets from which their guns were trained over the town" (ACT Government 2005B).

On 2 March 1861 Premier Charles Cowper arrived in Young (Bayley 1977:27). Following his visit, Chinese miners on the Burrangong goldfields were restricted to Blackguard Gully (Holland ND). This was due to the Legislative Council not passing Cowper's laws to protect Chinese miners (Bayley 1977:28). "The Miners' Protective League had been formed at a meeting of 80 miners on January 31. It published its aims as the expulsion of the Chinese, its leaders asserted that the Chinese wasted water which was very precious on the field and cost sixpence per bucket when the creek was dry. The leaders offered an address to the Premier but permission was refused after he had examined its contents. The Premier moved freely without escort among the miners, addressing meetings but refused to recognise their leaders. He said that his Government favoured restriction of the Chinese, but affirmed they must not be injured in person or property. He explained that the Government was bound both by the decisions of the Legislative Council and Britain's treaty with China which admitted Chinese to British territories with secured privileges" (ACT Government 2005B).

"The marching red coats and their mounted officers were a familiar sight on the dusty streets and roads of Lambing Flat" (Bayley 1977:28). Without warning the artillery left for Sydney on 24 May 1861, and newspapers reported of fears of more riots. The Chinese miners started to return to the goldfields. In mid-June a report was issued in Sydney stating 1500 Chinese were bound for the Burrangong goldfields, which again stirred up the diggers. With no troops stationed on Lambing Flat, trouble increased.

On 30 June 1861 there was a general call among the Europeans to 'Roll Up' and expel the Chinese from the goldfields. Some 3000 men assembled at Allandale at Tipperary Gully and marched to Blackguard Gully carrying a flag with a white cross on a blue background, five stars and the words 'Roll-up, Roll-up, No Chinese' worked around the border. At Blackguard Gully and later at Back Creek they burnt the tents and possessions of the Chinese, slashed off pigtails and forced the miners out of their encampment. The local newspaper 'The Miner' reported that "Men or rather monsters on horseback armed with bludgeons and whips with field-like fury" cutting or rather sawing them [pigtails] off. The atrocities would fill a volume" (Bayley 1977:31). The Chinese took refuge in the camp of the Gold Commissioner. They later made 1568 claims totalling (Pounds) 40,623 92s 6d for their losses. The Government accepted only 706 claims for (Pounds)4,240.

Following the Lambing Flat riots in 1861, several public meetings were held at Araluen. The aim of the meetings was to petition the government against allowing Chinese miners to work on goldfields on Crown lands. At one meeting the local member of the Legislative Assembly, Dr Wilson, condemned the actions of European miners at the Lambing Flat riots (McGowan 2004:326). In addition to public meetings additional troops arrived at Lambing Flat on 31 July after two weeks marching. Several men were arrested and trialled, and all but one was acquitted due to lack of evidence (Bayley 1977:34).

The Official Riot Act was read on miners on 14 July 1861. It was the only official reading in NSW history. The area known as 'Burrangong Goldfields' covered an area of 20 miles (32 km) by 10 miles (16.5 km). It was regarded as the richest and most populous in the state with 470,000 ounces of gold sent by escort from the fields (Young Visitor Information Centre 2005).

The violence of these riots resulted in the government responding to community concern by passing a Chinese Immigration Restriction Act and at an Intercoloinal Conference held in 1880 and 1881 uniform restrictive immigration laws were adopted.

In 1861 Lambing Flat had its name changed to Young, which was in honour of His Excellency the Administrator of the Government (Young Visitor Information Centre 2005). With the exhaustion of the gold fields the majority of miners moved on and were replaced by farmers and commercial businesses. The small number of Chinese migrants who stayed in Young after the gold rush contributed to these new activities (Migration Heritage Centre 2003:2-3).

Young cherishes its unique and colourful history today. During the Lambing Flat Festival in April there is a re-enactment of the 'Roll Up' and reading of the Riot Act (Young Visitor Information Centre 2005). A painting of the Lambing Flat miners waving the 'Roll Up' flag, along with the flag itself and other mining artefacts, are on display at the Lambing Flat Folk Museum (Young Shire Council 2005).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. Chinese mining practices-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Migration-Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements Developing Chinese settlements-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Mining for gold-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in mines and quarries-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Blackguard Gully is of State historical significance as the site of one of the worst riots against Chinese miners in Australian history. In late 1860 and early 1861 there were several attacks on Chinese miners. On 30 Jun 1861 some 3000 Europeans marched against Chinese miners on Lambing Flat goldfields, attacking their two main camps at Blackguard Gully and Back Creek. They carried a flag with the words 'Roll-up Roll-up No Chinese', which is now on display in the Lambing Flat Folk Museum. The riot led to the passing of legislation to restrict access to goldfields to aliens and to refuse miners' rights to aliens. The violence of these riots resulted in the government responding to community concern by passing a Chinese Immigration Restriction Act and at an Intercolonial Conference held in 1880 and 1881 uniform restrictive immigration laws were adopted. In 1861 Lambing Flat had its name changed to Young.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Blackguard Gully is of State significance for its association with the Chinese who camped in the area in the early 1860s and who mined for gold at Lambing Flat. The events of the time are also remembered by the town of Young today with Lambing Flat Festival in April, which includes a re-enactment of the 'Roll Up' and reading of the Riot Act.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Blackguard Gully is of State cultural significance to the people of Young and NSW as the site of some of the worst riots in Australia. The march of the miners through the town on 30 June 1861 and the later declaration of the Riot Act were of immense significance to the subsequent history of the town.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
It has some potential to yield archaeological information on the use of the site in the 1860s and beyond.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
It has potential to yield archaeological information on the use of the site in the 1860s and beyond. Although many gold fields experienced protests against the Chinese, Lambing Flat was unique in the level of organisation of the riots, the purpose made flag that was carried, and the fact that the site of the riot survives as a public space (Blackguard Gully).
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Blackguard Gully is a representative mining site of the 1860s and several following decades in Australia.
Integrity/Intactness: The preservation of Blackguard Gully as a reserve has meant it is possible to gain an understanding of the use of this site as a Chinese Camp, its relation to the European camp at Tipperary and the distance covered by those who marched on 30 June 1861.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions
SCHEDULE C

Gold panning and fossicking. Purposes of grazing cattle limited to the area outlined with the heavy black line shown on the plan HC 2182.
Mar 13 2009

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0177513 Mar 09 511388
Heritage studyBlackguard Gully & Garibaldi Gully    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
ElectronicACT Government2001The Koori Community View detail
WrittenJ. M Bennett2006Colonial Law Lords (The Judiciary and the beginning of Responsible Government in NSW)
WrittenLyster Holland An Historical Walking Tour: Blackguard Gully: An Old Mining Area
WrittenMcGowan, Barry2004The Chinese Experience on the Goldfields
WrittenMigration Heritage Centre2003Real Stories: Migrating for Work
ElectronicYoung Shire Council2005History View detail
WrittenYoung Visitor Information Centre2005History and Heritage: From Lambing Flat to Young

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044825
File number: H05/00215


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