Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer Chapter VII page 3

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Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer by Sup John Sadleir

(full text transcription)

PUBLIC FEELING IN MELBOURNE When the Eureka affair occurred I was in Melbourne , and was attached to the A Division, of which the headquarters were on the south side of Flinders Street , almost directly opposite St Paul ’s Church. I do not know that any writer of the history of those early days has at all realized the extent and gravity of the feeling of the citizens of Melbourne in opposition to the Government of which Sir Charles Hotham was the head. I have looked out from the barrack windows on a great mass of the men collected on the open ground on which the Cathedral buildings and the Gas Company’s Offices now stand. The crowd was composed of well to do people, addressed by some of the leading citizens of the time. Fortunately, these were not hot headed and reckless agitators. But they were none the less determined to make known their grievances and to demand wiser and better treatment from the Government, for town and country alike. I do not know how it came to be my lot at the age of twentyone, to be placed in charge of a large body of armed police kept carefully out of side, however, within the barracks. There probably was not one person in the whole meeting who knew that, just across the street, there was this company of armed men, ready to turn out in case of any outbreak of violence of serious disorder. Happily the meeting broke up quietly. I am unable to give from personal knowledge the full story of this movement in Melbourne, but I know that the Government regarded it very seriously. Immediately on the adoption by the Government of a new and wiser policy the whole trouble ended.

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