Catherine Robertson married Richard Allan and it is highly probable that the family was in Ballarat at the time of the Eureka Stockade in 1854. The Allan’s produced eleven children: Andrew Alexander b. 1856 Ballarat; Alexander Robertson b. 1857 Ballarat (died 1863 Ballarat); Richard b. 1859 Creswick (died 1860); Elizabeth Blaelo b. 1860 Forest Creek; Catherine Drummond b. 1863 Creswick; John b. 1865 Creswick (died 1866); Isabella b. 1866 Creswick (died 1868); Isabella b. 1868 Creswick; David James b. 1869 Creswick (died 1870); Richard Alexander b. 1872 Creswick (married Ann Selina Winkles); James Francis b. 1873 Kingston.
Richard Allan was arrested on 3 December 1854 after the Eureka Battle, but was released without charge. According to family oral tradition Richard had the presence of mind to dispose of his firearms while the Stockade was being attacked.
He wrote of his experiences in the newspapers on the 30th anniversary of Eureka using the pseudonym ‘Municipal Freedom’. He felt it was important for the following generation to understand what his generation fought for, that is, a free press, civil rights and liberties.
THE EUREKA STOCKADE MONUMENT
TO THE EDITOR
Sir, – My heart warms to the writer of your letters on the Eureka Stockade, as I avail myself of the pleasure of persisting his lucid, truthful, and intelligent communications. My tent was near the Stockade, and with a friend I had my share of the perils and dangers of the occasion, and witnessed part of the massacre. I remember, remarking while standing at our tent door, looking upon the work of blood, which we were so powerless to prevent, ‘we had better go inside, or we might share the same fate’; and inside we went, after having heard the testimony of a youth, who had escaped with his life, as to what had occurred within the Stockade. Some time after I went and inspected the spot, and counted 22 dead bodies; and such a scene, God grant I may never witness again. I judge it is not only a case of ‘shedding human blood’, but of oppression, tyranny, and massacre; and a fitting monument is needed to testify of these and people’s loyalty and patriotism, and of their justification in resisting the work of the tyrants. If the committee will take this stand, and resolve to raise £2500 for such a monument as I indicated in my former letter, I will contribute £500 towards the amount, every pound to carry a vote, and the form of monument, inscription, and site, to be approved by the Honourable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. It would doubtless, be gratifying to those who wish to hide or forget their part in the business that the facts of the time be buried in forgetfulness, but history repeats itself, and it is necessary, both as a matter of justice to the dead and the living who escaped death and to posterity, that the history of the time should live vividly in the memory of the nation, and that periodically the facts should be reviewed and the memory of the slain, and the wounded living be kept green in the minds and affections of the people of Victoria and of all Australia than whom Her Most Gracious Majesty has not, in her vast realm, a more loyal and patriotic people. I hope the committee will see that the experience meeting of men who know of the Stockade takes place. If rightly handled, it will be a tower of strength to the movement, and to history, and I shall be glad to contribute my part. Ample time and notice will bring together such a gathering, and such a testimony as will move the hearts and loving sympathy of the people to a holy appreciation of the loyalty and patriotism of those who resisted unto death. At least 30 are known to have met their death, and it is fair to infer that, being mostly men in the full vigour of manhood, they would have survived until today. Well, now estimate the value of the labour of these 30. Supposing they had lived and earned £2 per week during the 30 years, that would amount to £90,000. But among the living who were in the Stockade, I know one man who is worth £60,000, made since the death of his fellows, and doubtless there are more of the kind. Surely the memory of the men who sacrificed life and the friends who would have shared in the blessings of the £90,000, and the happy homes that would have been made, claim the affection of the living who escaped death, and of the nation; and the least we can do is to honour their memory by a suitable monument. This is a cold view of the humanity of the case; still it has its telling aspect. I therefore appeal to the co patriots of the noble dead to join heartily in the movement, and participate in the luxury of renewing old friendships, and realising the pleasure that will follow the discharge of a holy duty. But I fear that the mild position the committee have taken will not commend itself to the men of action of December, 1854. I do not admire the reply of the chairman of committee to the friends at Learmonth. He should have taken higher and holier ground. He had no doubt forgotten that those same friends once refused to have a railway made to Learmonth, a unique refusal, singularly original and the only one of the kind to be found in the history of railways all over the world. In the event of the committee not being in a position to claim the sum I have named, it is probable that men who know something of the Stockade, will follow with a movement to complete the work as suggested previously by me. My offer will be a standing one until the monument is erected. One of the wealthy ones is at present away in Europe, and a very likely person to help materially with a considerable sum. – Yours, &c, MUNICIPAL FREEDOM
The Allan’s and the Winkle family of Bakery Hill were practically neighbours on the fledging goldfields of Ballarat. The families certainly knew each other for Ann Winkle eventually became Catherine Allan’s daughter-in-law. When Richard Allan died in 30 November 1905 he was living at Rochester. His obituary noted that he had been ‘in the thick of the Eureka Stockade in 1854, and took part in the riot’.
Dorothy Wickham, Women of the Diggings: Ballarat 1854, BHS Publishing, 2009; Ballarat Star, 21 June 1884; Rochester Mail 8 December 1905.