(Photo: State Library of Victoria)
Peter Lalor was born in Raheen, Co. Laois in 1827 to Ann (Dillon) and Patrick Lalor. Peter was the youngest of eleven children.
His eldest brother James Fintan Lalor was one of the leaders of the Young Ireland rebellion of 1848. Peter was educated at Carlow College and trained as a civil engineer in Trinity, Dublin.
While some of his brothers moved to America after the Famine, Peter and his brother Richard went to Victoria to take part in the gold rush. He started mining in the Ovens Valley then moved to the Eureka Lead in Ballarat. The Victoria government required each miner to carry a licence which cost 30 shillings a month and police enforced this law by carrying out regular raids known as “digger hunts”. In 1854 a digger by the name of James Scobie was killed in a fight at the Eureka Hotel. The publican, Bentley, was considered to have been involved in the murder. He was arrested, with others, for the murder but later discharged.
The miners retaliated by burning down the hotel and demanded democratic reforms and wanted the miners licence abolished. Lalor was appointed to lead the men and ordered construction of a defensive fortification known as the Eureka Stockade. The attack happened on December 3rd 1854 and about thirty miners were killed. Lalor got seriously injured which led to the amputation of his left arm.
Image: An illustration of the Eureka Stockade battle in which Lalor was injured.
With a bounty on his head - but public opinion on his side, he went to Geelong, where he married his fiancée Alicia. In March, the reward against Lalor was revoked and when democratic elections were held that year Lalor was elected to parliament. He ultimately held the position of speaker of the legislative assembly of Victoria.
Lalor died on the 9th of February 1889. His portrait is featured on two commemorative postage stamps a 38c Ireland stamp released on 3 May 2001 in the "Rebel Spirit, Irish Heritage of Australia" series and a 2004 AUD2.45 Australian stamp commemorating the Eureka Stockade. A statue of Peter Lalor was erected in Ballarat’s Sturt Street Gardens in 1893. There is a suburb in Melbourne which was named after him in 1945.
*Sources: The Irish Times, adb.anu.edu.au, Wikipedia
|Date of Birth||1827|
|Date of Death||9th Feb 1889|
|Associated Building (s)||Statue of Peter Lalor|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||Patrick Lalor|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Ann Dillon|
|Occupation||Leader of the Eureka Stockade|