Born c 1810, Hampshire, England
Died 27 January 1872
Buried Ballarat Old Cemetery
Ellen Frances Young was born around 1810 in Hampshire, England.
She married Frederick Young who was the first Mayor of Ballarat East. Ellen and Francis lived at Golden Point.
Ellen Young wrote stirring poetry in 1854 about the time of Eureka. She commented upon the events of Eureka and political discourse. She criticised Governor Hotham publicly and supported the Eureka cause.
Ellen Young expressed her political feelings strongly in a public letter published in The Ballarat Times on 18 November 1854. She wrote ‘From the door of the tent from the creek … I could plainly see the crowd in front of the hotel. … Bentley … was riding for his life, the trooper aimed to protect him – a rope had been procured from the stables – an executioner chosen from those who offered to act as such but he had, thank God, time to escape. Oh such Lynch Law is too dreadful for our English ideas’. Young’s poetry demonstrates that her attitudes, public demeanour and comment changed towards the government and Hotham who was Governor of the Colony of Victoria. During the time of Eureka, Young experienced Hotham’s unbending attitudes to the issues central to the people, high taxes, no representation, restraint on freedom of speech, and corrupt government, all of which were blamed for the culmination at the Eureka Stockade. Two of the lines of her poem printed about Hotham, written on pink satin and occupying the end papers of a hand-written manuscript, compared to her later poems, illustrate her acute political mind. The line ‘The man of upright heart and daring deed’ is marked with an asterisk by Young who added ‘What a satire his conduct made of the above line’. She later refers to him as being ‘Like a clown upon his hobby horse’.
After realising and experiencing the actions of the government at Eureka Young began to write poetry in direct reference to censorship and to the colonial Victorian government ‘Who’d chain the People’s thought and pen’. Her strong political sense and will is demonstrated by a stanza from a poem with references to Eureka on corrupt government.
Ellen Frances Young died on 27 January 1872 aged 62. Frederick died on 4 September 1868 aged 56 years. Husband and wife were buried at the Ballarat Old Cemetery.
When her husband died in 1869 Ellen wrote a stirring letter to the editor of the Star newspaper dated 19 April 1869.
THE “TESTIMONIAL” TO THE LATE MR YOUNG.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE STAR
‘Sir, My late lamented husband, Sir Frederick Young, the last chairman and first mayor of Ballarat East, received at his funeral a testimonial from all classes,and from many miles around, that will never be offered to ex-town-clerk Rodier. Mr Young did not refuse or return a testimonial proper—what he did receive was a few lines scrawled on a small piece of discolored flimsy paper, quite unfit for the purpose. It was an insult to him, mayor, and council to affix their seal to such a subterfuge, and Mr Rodier knows he promised the vote should be earned out in its integrity. I grieve I am compelled to write in a seeming antagonistic spirit, and assure, Mr Rodier I am at peace with him as all others, but I cannot pass uncontradicted such an insult to Mr Young’s memory as the assertion of his returning a testimonial voted by mayor and council, executed in the spirit such vote most certainly would be—an act all know him to have been incapable of.I remain, sir, your obedient servantEllen Frances Young.Wills street, 17th April.