Peter Lalor

Gold Rush

PETER LALOR

Lalor was the son of a Home Rule supporter and landowner

In the mass migration that followed the great Irish famine in the mid-19th century, Lalor and one of his brothers immigrated to Australia in 1852 (three other brothers went to America). Lalor found work on the Melbourne-Geelong railway and then at the Eureka goldfield in 1853. He joined the Ballarat Reform League, formed by miners on Nov. 11, 1854, to protest high license fees, police mistreatment, lack of representation, and shortage of land. He and other rebellious miners were driven out of the Eureka Stockade on December 3, and Lalor was wounded in the assault and lost an arm. He went into hiding for several weeks. Soon after he emerged, charges against the rebels’ leaders were dropped. After the Eureka uprising, most of the miners’ grievances were redressed.