Lambing Flat Folk Museum (Young, NSW)

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History Blog

The Donegal Men

Posted on October 16, 2015 at 12:45 AM

From articles in the Empire, Sydney, 6th and 15th January, 1862.


Another one of those brutal scenes has just happened which is a disgrace to the district. Burrangong was just congratulating itself on the quiet and peaceable way that Christmas passed off. Scarcely however had it passed when an affray took place, which has required all the energy of the police to check from becoming a very serious business.


It appears that Mr. Booth, who kept a public house in Burrowa Street, had music and dancing all night on Boxing night, for which he had a special license, and early in the morning of Friday, some drunken brawl took place inside the house, and subsequently outside the door. It is stated that the row was between a section of Irishmen, and some of them, the Donegal men, were in the act of kicking and beating a man who was on the ground, when some Cornishmen passed the house, and not being in sufficient force, went behind the house and got some sticks, and rushed on the Donegallers , who fled, leaving behind them two men, whom Mr. Booth dragged in, and hid under his bed. One of them was much hurt, and Mr. Booth dressed his wounds, and cautioned him to go quietly home.


Thinking all was over and quiet, Mr. and Mrs. Booth went to bed at about seven in the morning, when they were awoke by a great noise. A mob had entered the house and were beating with sticks any man they could lay their hands on. One man who was lying down intoxicated was much hurt, having been beaten about the head. Everyone was taken by surprise by the brutal and indiscriminate attack.


Between 7 and 8 o’clock, four Cornishmen, recently arrived from Victoria, were sitting at the bar in Dollimore’s public house, when in rushed a mob of about thirty, violently assaulted three of them with pick handles and sticks, the fourth escaping. It seems that he who escaped had had a fight with an Irishman the evening previous and had got the better of him. Mr. Dollimore said he has not seen a more desperate thing; the three men were knocked down, beaten fearfully, kicked and jumped on. The three men now lie in a most dangerous state, it being uncertain if they will live. After this a mob rushed into the Kiandra Hotel, opposite Dollimore’s, and finding a half drunken man there, made a rush at him; the barman got him away behind the bar, and immediately became an object of vengeance with pewter vessels flying at him. He managed to hide himself in a back room and eventually escape to an adjoining house.


The police were immediately on the alert to discover the perpetrators of these outrages and managed to arrest twenty two men. Troops were seen to be marching about with fixed bayonets, and have done their utmost to bring the men, of whom the mob were comprised, to justice. There is great excitement in the town at the present time, and at Booth’s, Dollimore’s and at the Kiandra people are armed with revolvers, waiting if any attack should be made. A party has threatened Booth to burn his place down tonight. The police are out in great force and the night should pass off quietly.


The readers must not be misled by believing that the disturbance is political, or in any way aimed at the authorities or Government. It is simply a row between a section of Irishmen, natives and English. It must be remembered that numbers of most respectable Irishmen abhor these murderous attacks and will join in doing all that is possible to put a stop to them.


Richard Patten, who was arrested at Morris’s ballroom, Victoria Hotel , and John Hannon were convicted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in Goulburn gaol. The Bench sentenced the prisoners John Ryan, Richard Patten and James Farrell, to two months imprisonment, with hard labour, in Goulburn gaol. Richard Patten’s sentence to commence after the expiration of the one lately passed upon him for riot and assault.

Footnote; William Dollimore was the licensee of the Grand Imperial Hotel at the southern end of Main Street near the creek and behind Barney Phillip’s Diggers Arms. In the article it states the Kiandra Hotel was opposite Dollimore’s, but to my knowledge the Kiandra was on the corner of Main and Burrowa Streets, but it may have moved as they often did. Mr. Booth was licensee of the Criterion Hotel and the Victoria Hotel mentioned was opposite the Great Eastern in Burrowa Street.


Young Historical Society – Brian James.

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