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Australia On Trial -

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Good evening. Virginia Haussegger

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news in an hour. Gentlemen, what is the verdict? MAN: I'm innocent! Order! Order! Order! what I heard isn't true. Just tell me and amount to treason. These actions are seditious NARRATOR: In the 19th century of Australian history. three epic trials changed the course of bad character Even if the girl were that did not entitle her as if she were a beast. to have been outraged for their lives. In each case, men were on trial were guilty of murder, I knew the men hanged for killing a black. but I would never see a white man And, in each courtroom, (Screaming) of Australia in its hands. a jury held the future actual court reports This series is based on of colonial society which show how the very basis was being challenged. the wealth in this colony, It is landowners who generate as I damn well see fit! and I shall do still resonate today. The court's decisions God help you to repent for these crimes. is one of the most celebrated battles The Eureka Stockade in Australian history. But the meaning of this bloodshed on the Ballarat goldfields. was not settled in the courts of Victoria It was settled that galvanised the colony in a series of trials and transformed a miners' protest against tyranny. into a fight of the people written not in blood It gave birth to a legend but in the verdict of a jury. (Door squeaks, keys jangle) and charged with high treason The 13 men who were rounded up had come from all over the world on the Victorian goldfields. to make their fortune These Europeans and Americans democratic ideas, had brought with them ideas that had turned to bloodshed. GAOLER: All in, lads. on the end of a rope. Now these men could end up (Groans) Has it been emptied in a month? That foul thing! You want it empty? Be my guest. Hayes. We're going to make you swing first, You know that? be dragged down to that lock-up If any of us for not having a miner's licence, to liberate that man? will 1,000 of you volunteer (Crowd cheers) Will 2,000? And are you prepared to die? had rebelled against the requirement Hayes and the other 12 prisoners on their person at all times - to have one of these costing 30 shillings a month. it's a goldminer's licence, That's about a week's pay in 1854. that had the miners up in arms. But it wasn't just the cost On the diggings around Ballarat, were brutalised ex-convicts - many of the police uniformed thugs. didn't have one of these on him, If a miner could grab him, these officers of the law drag him before a magistrate, and lock him up. became the new Governor of Victoria, In 1853, when Charles Hotham the hope of a fairer deal. the miners saw in him But his government was broke. from mining licenses, It needed the steady flow of cash his men kept tightening the screws and so into armed defiance. until they pushed the miners the men built a stockade. For protection, of 3rd December 1854, But before dawn on the morning stormed the miners' safe haven, Her Majesty's forces guns blazing. 24 miners and 5 soldiers lay dead. By the time the battle was over, brought 13 of the rebels to Melbourne The government to be tried for treason. If found guilty, they would hang. Attorney-General, William Stawell. The prosecutor was the in the future of the colony. He was a passionate believer He'd campaigned of British convicts to Australia, to end the transportation new constitution for self-government. and was a key architect of Victoria's

But he was no democrat. with a substantial income He believed that only men should be allowed to vote. In Stawell's view, that the rebels were advocating the wholesale democracy a dangerous and radical idea. was both was led by Richard Ireland, The rebels' defence recently arrived from Dublin,

who was working pro bono. Keen to attend the trial the new upstart newspaper The Age, were journalists from led by the progressive Ebenezer Syme, David Blair. and his campaigning editor, being turned away, I hear, Ebenezer. Hundreds of people to read about it in The Age, David. Excellent. They'll just have to pay Reverend Smith. Mr Attorney-General. Stawell was determined to convict the prisoners of high treason, rather than the lesser crime of riot and affray.

This was a gamble, but his strategy was clear. Papa! Timothy Hayes was a ringleader of the mutiny. Secure a conviction against him, and the other 12 would surely follow... to execution.

The honourable court is now in session. On 3rd December 1854, while armed in a warlike manner, the prisoners traitorously assembled together against Our Lady the Queen, and attempted, by force of arms,

to destroy the government constituted by established law. (Murmuring) In an act of treason, they raised a flag other than that of this colony, fired upon and killed loyal subjects of the Queen, in what can only be termed an act of armed insurrection. To answer these charges, Your Honour, I first call upon Timothy John Hayes.

Your Honour, on the part of Timothy Hayes, I must hand in a plea of abatement. On what grounds do you seek deferral? The stated charge omits reference to my client's place of abode. Your Honour, his affidavit is merely an objection. It is not a plea to abate. NARRATOR: The defence was determined to get Hayes' trial postponed,

as if they knew exactly who they wanted to try first. I find the affidavit insufficient. Your Honour, as we did not expect the case for Timothy Hayes to proceed, I must inform that the witnesses for my client are not present this morning. But the witnesses for Vennick and Phelan are all in court. We could take them now if Your Honour pleases. Your Honour, we must take the accused in the order they stand.

If the court will tolerate a small delay... The court will not. Remand Hayes. Next? Your Honour... Next! I am, Your Honour, Signior Raffaello Carboni... Oh, silence. Your Honour, we make similar application for abatement in the case of Raffaello Carboni, on the grounds of three material witnesses being absent.

Your Honour, I saw one of these witnesses outside the court, not ten minutes ago. Well, call the witnesses. (Hushed chatter) John Plant! John O'Brien!

Reverend Patricius Smith! None present, Your Honour. Reverend Smith? Reverend Smith!

Next? John Manning, Your Honour. Your Honour, Mr Manning's counsel is, well, unwell. Oh, Your Honour! Your Honour. Mr Chapman? If the learned Attorney-General would allow, we could proceed in order with the next case. I act as counsel for John Joseph. My assistant, Mr Aspinall and I, have everything we need to proceed. That is, unless the Attorney-General has an objection. I have no objection, Your Honour. The Attorney-General was certain he could convict an Irish rebel like Hayes. But a runaway slave was an unknown quantity. The defence had cleverly made sure that Joseph was the first to be tried, and they had a plan of attack. But even though Stawell had been outplayed, he was determined to turn the situation to his advantage. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? I do. Government spy number one. Indeed. Won't be the last. Mr Lynott, you are, I believe, in the 40th Regiment? Yes, I am. Did you go out on the morning of Sunday 3rd December? I did. At about what hour? Between three and four in the morning. And how many of you were there? 160. What happened when you approached From inside the stockade? We were fired upon by the rebels. Yes. And we returned fire. Was there anyone inside the stockade on that morning that you recognise here today? That prisoner there. He had a double-barrelled shotgun. Did you see him fire it? He fired towards Captain Wise... ..and then I saw the Captain lying wounded. Your Honour, by the witness's own admission, there would've been hundreds of bullets flying in all directions.

Captain Wise could have been felled by any of them. Your Honour, the witness has stated a fact. It is for the jury to decide if it's worth attending to, not the counsel for the prisoner. Indeed. Thank you, Mr Lynott. Were there other black men at the stockade that morning? Some. How many, would you say? Five. Maybe more. Ten? There could've been ten. Amid gunfire, men charging left and right, and with as many as ten black men within the stockade, how can you be sure this was the man? I was the one that arrested him. (Courtroom murmurs)

Is there anybody from that morning here today? That coloured man there. I saw him discharge one barrel from a double-barrelled piece. In what direction did he fire? He fired in the direction of myself and Captain Wise. And then Captain Wise fell from his horse. Your Honour, Captain Wise had two wounds. Even if he was struck by a bullet fired by my client, how are we to be sure that was the bullet that killed him? Your Honour, perhaps Mr Aspinall's client shot him twice. (Laughter) What time was it when you saw this coloured man? It was about four o'clock. In the morning? Yeah. And you said you were 50 yards away? Do you see faces distinctly at 50 yards at four o'clock in the morning? (Courtroom murmurs) If I saw a person once, I should know him again. And that's the man I saw. In the confusion of battle, you were able to recognise one black man from the other? At 50 yards? Yes. (Courtroom murmurs)

Mr Amos, you are Commissioner for Lands. Yes. I was specifically appointed to oversee the goldfields. Could you tell us about a meeting you witnessed on the Wednesday before the stockade incident? Hundreds of men, I would say close to 1,000, had gathered to voice their disapproval of the gold licence.

Your Honour, there's no evidence to even suggest my client was at the meeting. I would've thought anything to do with gold licences would have something to do with this case. Continue. Did the men at the meeting do anything to their licences? They burnt them. And you saw that? I saw smoke from the licences as they burnt. Is there anything in particular about smoke from a gold licence? I don't believe there is. But the men were there, they were encouraged by placards which read, 'Diggers, bring your licences.' They held what looked like gold licences burning in their hands, and smoke was rising up from each of them. Your Honour, my client wasn't even at the meeting.

When we arrested the prisoner, he didn't have a licence. Your Honour, perhaps it fell from his pocket when he was being shot at! He was being shot at because he had defied the law. Had joined a group of rebels who had openly talked about ignoring the government. Had taken up arms, barricaded himself and fired upon men whose job it is to preserve law and order in this colony.

These actions are seditious and amount to treason. If that concludes the Crown's case, does the defence wish to call its first witness? No, Your Honour. No witnesses? That's correct, Your Honour. NARRATOR: Calling no witnesses, it was a huge gamble.

The defence had decided to exploit the racial prejudice of the day, and they'd briefed John Joseph to play along. There is no offence known to the law as serious as the one with which the prisoner is charged. High treason. But, gentlemen, look at the man at the bar. Do you suppose he was present at the stockade for the purpose of depriving Her Majesty of her royal title and authority over this colony? Gentlemen. Why, when so many prisoners were arrested in the wake of this alleged rebellion, should the Crown offer up a humble Negro, whom any respectful American would scorn to try? (Murmurs of assent from courtroom) He might have objected to being bullied and tortured by police, but he had no more idea of subverting the Constitution of this colony than a fly! Surely he's being set up as some sort of political Uncle Tom. (Murmurs of assent) Our learned counsel's defence suggests

that because the prisoner happens to be a man of colour he is a man utterly without education. A man who did not entertain a single idea in his head. Well, gentlemen, I know of no such thing. And, gentlemen, you know of no such thing. Putting all the evidence together... Evidence from spies, Stawell. Order! Can you conclude that the prisoner was in the midst of that affray in an innocent manner? That he took no part in any movement? That he was not in that stockade with the same object as the rest of the rebels? But if men say they saw this man armed, that they saw him fire and kill another man, you cannot disbelieve it. Now take the evidence adduced before you and discharge your duty faithfully and honestly to the public. Considering all these circumstances, if the prisoner could show he was constrained to be where he was, or if, after the double-barrelled shotgun was discharged, he said, 'I am here by restraint. I am taking no part in this moment,' such action would show some effort to exclude himself from the position he was in. But there is no evidence of this kind. The Crown has shown the character of his act and has proven such. Having discharged my duty, I now discharge you to do yours. Did we upset his apple cart enough, Ebenezer? We did. I think the judge may have righted it again. The jury is returning. Shall we, gentlemen? Order. Have you reached a unanimous decision? We have, Your Honour. What say you? Your Honour, on the charge of treason, we find the defendant, John Joseph, not guilty. (Cheering) Listen to the people, John. Order!

(Cheering continues) NARRATOR: John Joseph, a runaway slave who sold lemonade on the goldfields, was chaired through the streets of Melbourne, cheered on by thousands. The next rebel to stand trial was John Manning, a journalist who'd been caught, armed, inside the stockade. And he too was acquitted. Stawell had been outsmarted. And he was under attack in the court of public opinion. Blair and Syme, the editor and publisher of The Age, sensed that the people had an appetite for democracy. Here's one called Brent. There's none who believe in the Government's gaining a verdict now. If one was guilty, all were guilty. If one innocent, all innocent. It is simply impossible for any jury to convict the rest now. We'll see. Listen to the blasted Age. 'Every manly, honest, and independent heart in Victoria echoes the verdicts. There remains only one course for the government. They should abandon all state prosecutions. We repeat - abandon state prosecutions.' Well, should we? Well, 'Today the Attorney-General was burned in effigy at Ballarat.' Do you want to yield to that? What do we do? Sack the entire jury pool. And start again with a more responsible selection of citizens. Most importantly, the next trial must be Hayes. I'll not take anyone else. It's Hayes or no-one. The way it always should have been. Stawell's decision to sack the entire jury pool was... astonishing manoeuvre. He was able to do it because he was Attorney-General. It took court officials three weeks to assemble a new pool of potential jurors. Blair and Syme exploited that delay to step up their attacks in The Age and at public meetings. I'm not here as editor of The Age. I'm nothing but a plain, humble, modest citizen of Victoria. (All murmur assent) I'm not for revolution or disorder... ALL: No. ..or rebellion in the land. The men who took up arms in Ballarat were incited to do so by injudicious policies of the government. Hear, hear! Will you, gathered here, join cordially in asking the Governor to grant an act of full pardon, general amnesty, and spare the lives of those men now in jail? ALL: Yeah! Three cheers for The Age. (All cheer) Three groans for Governor Hotham. ALL: Booo! 'We ask, who are the traitors? The sets of officials at the heads of our government departments, up to His Excellency, himself, are public servants. And if they turn against society, plot against its liberties, goad it it with a petty and insolent tyranny, we say they are the traitors.' Today, we might think of Stawell's obsession with these prosecutions as reactionary. Even brutal. But imagine if a bunch of backpackers swarmed into the country, ripped the wealth from the ground, refused to pay their taxes, and then shot at our police and our soldiers. Not too many people would be calling them heroes. Especially when they included foreign agitators with their own revolutionary agenda - men like the Irish rebel Timothy Hayes and the Italian Raffaello Carboni. When will my case be heard, Timothy? Will I go after you? Timothy? I demand my day in court! No-one cares about you. And if you shout again... Shut up, Raffaello! Just... shut up. Alright, Hayes, it's your turn.

Stawell was ready for the next phase. He'd honed his arguments, found fresh jurors, and now he had an old friend, Redmond Barry, on the bench, the same man who would later hang Ned Kelly. And this time the accused was his original target, Timothy John Hayes.

The meeting on Wednesday 29th November last year was chaired by the prisoner, the purpose being the immediate abolition of licence fees. The following day they gathered again. Only this time he, like many of the men in attendance, was armed. The prisoner knowingly took an active command, and ordered the men be drilled in military manner. This man then stood with others under a flag of their own making and swore an oath. The meeting concluded with the mass burning of what appeared to be mining licences.

My question to you is this - what construction can we place upon these actions? Thank you, Your Honour. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing... You know what they call this bloke? What? Judas Iscariot. Mr Goodenough. You were a trooper stationed at Ballarat in November last. Yes. Do you remember attending a meeting on 29th November? I do. Was the prisoner, Timothy Hayes, present? He was. Did you see a flag flying on that occasion? I did. Is this it? (Gasping)

Yes, it was blue with a white cross. I'd say that was the actual one. Do you remember what the prisoner said? He said it was no use to petition the Governor any longer. Anything else? It's a waste of time dealing with Hotham because he refuses to entertain our petition because it uses the words 'demands' instead of 'requests'. And when did you next see the prisoner? On the following day. Was there anything different then? Yes, yes. He was armed with a double-barrelled shotgun. How many persons were present? About 1,000, near as I can guess. And how many had guns? 200 or 300. And what did the prisoner say? (Crowd roars) Gentlemen soldiers, I ask that you come forward as volunteers... stand up and fight... ..for our rights and liberties! And then what happened? They were drilled in military manoeuvres. And the prisoner was present? Aye, he was. (Court mutters) Thank you. (Clears throat) Mr Goodenough... the former trial of John Manning, did you state that Hayes told the men it was necessary to take the law into their own hands? I may have said so. Will you swear to those same words now? I will not swear that he said so, but he said words to that effect. What effect? To stand up for their rights and liberties. But you won't swear to the exact words? Wha... What's the difference? (Muttering) No more questions, Your Honour. (Chattering) Your Honour, the prosecution calls Andrew Peters. When the miners formed into ranks, what did you see the prisoner do? He oversaw the drills. Would you say he was this far from the men he saw being drilled in military manoeuvres? On occasion. What occasion? When he corrected them. So, he was like an officer in front of his company? Yes. What happened the following day? After they were drilled, they marched to Eureka and they built the stockade. What kind of weapons were they carrying when they marched? Pistols, shotguns, swords. Pikes? Yes, there was pikes. How would you describe these pikes? They're long poles with a sharp piece of iron protruding about eight inches through the end. Why would they carry such a weapon? They were made to kill mounted men. You heard they were to use these pikes in such a manner? During the meetin' with the miners, I heard the words said, 'Make sure the steel is long enough to pierce the heart of a tyrant.' And where was the prisoner when that was said? He was standing right beside the man who said it. And nobody disputed the comment? Not at all. The men cheered. Thank you, Mr Peters. You're a police officer, Mr Peters? Yes. How were you dressed when you went to the meeting on Wednesday? As a civilian. A storekeeper? You might take it as a storekeeper. Like you're dressed today? Yes. Anything but like a policeman. Yes. You were spying. (Laughter) I was watching the behaviour of a group. Mm. And you went there because of orders? Yes. And you were dressed as you were because of orders? Yes. Did you hear anything said against the British constitution? I will not swear I did. Mm. Was anything said about establishing a republic? No. No. On the Thursday, was there a search for licences? There was. And did you go out? No. Do you know that there were shots fired by the troopers during this licence hunt? Your Honour, I object to the use of the words 'licence hunt'. The authorities were not hunting for licences, but checking if the miners were abiding by the law. Mr Ireland? During this 'licence-checking' activity... ..can you confirm that shots were fired by the troopers? Not by the troopers, no. By the ground police. I heard 'em speak of it. If a man should state his licence is in his tent, what do you do with him? I'd escort him back to his tent. Will you swear that such is a general practice? I will not swear to it. Is it reasonable to say that most men without licences are locked up? It is expressly stated on the licence it must be carried on the person at all times. That wasn't my question. Some of the miners live two to three miles from where they dig. And what happens to those men if they don't have a licence on them? They might get locked up then. Would they be shot at? Not that I'm aware of. But you previously said you heard shots fired during the licence check. I said I'd heard foot police had fired shots. I didn't say I knew why or what at. (Muttering) The Age is still slandering us, I see. Price of a free press, Excellency. Hmm. Difficult. And, before we know it, elections. The Attorney-General's not having second thoughts? We are not vassals of London. We are freeborn subjects of the Queen. Men like me, I suppose, will soon become creatures of the past. These anarchists... You won't let any more escape? No. Anarchists and democrats could not be more dangerous. Mr Foster, you are the Inspector of Police? Yes. After the events of the stockade, the prisoner at the bar was arrested and searched. Were you present? I was. What was he carrying? A pocketful of bullets and a gold licence. How many bullets? Five. Yes. Had you seen the prisoner before? I'd seen him marching on Saturday 2nd December. Were they marching in military order? Yes, in lines. Were they armed? Yes, you could see their weapons distinctly. Where were they marching to? They were approaching the stockade. And you're sure it was the prisoner? Yes, it was him. Thank you, Mr Foster. (Clears throat) I believe, Mr Foster, what you found on Hayes were the ordinary contents of a digger's pocket? I can't say. Well, before the unrest, is it fair to say that many diggers had guns? Yes. And guns aren't much good without bullets? True. So, most diggers could have bullets in their pockets. I can't say. (Sighs) And you said Hayes had a licence in his possession. Yes, a gold licence. I was led to believe by the learned Attorney-General that Hayes had burnt his licence - evidently he had not. Your Honour, I said that he had incited other miners to burn their licences. What the prisoner actually burnt is irrelevant. You said he burnt his licence. The record will speak for what I said. And what I said is that the prisoner burnt an object that could have been a licence. My point is that the prisoner fooled a great many other miners into believing that he was leading by example, when in fact he was hiding the truth. NARRATOR: Stawell's case for the prosecution was gaining traction. Even though the defence had shown that Hayes had not burnt his licence, Stawell had used this to paint him as a hypocrite, and the jury was listening. Lieutenant Richards, you were in charge of the mounted men? Yes. Did you hear any shots fired before you reached the stockade? Yes. I should think, 40. Up until that point, had soldiers or police fired upon the stockade? There were strict orders not to fire until the bugle sounded, and it hadn't sounded. Then after the bugle sounded you opened fire? We did. When the firing stopped, did you take any prisoners? We took a great number. How many did you take? 117. How many dead and wounded men did you see in the stockade? There were at least 20 dead, and many more wounded. (Courtroom mutters) Were you in command when the prisoner was brought to you? Yes. When you saw him, were there any other miners with him? No. But I did see a woman run toward him. I believe it was his wife. Did she say anything? She was angry. She said if she were a man she would never be taken by the likes of me. (Courtroom mutters) We shall carry this over till tomorrow morning. Ten o'clock. (Irish lament) You'll not be able to see him, but you can write him a note. NARRATOR: The Crown was keen to procure any information that could be used against Hayes - by any means possible. Write it yourself. (Reads list of names) Bloxley, Brown, Beardsell, Bickerdite, Bilton, Bakers... The honourable court is now in session. Your Honour, the defence calls Joseph Turner. Call Joseph Turner! Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? I do. Mr Turner, during the licence search you heard shots being fired? I heard them. And I saw a mounted trooper firing his weapon. What did he fire at? One of the diggers. Are you sure he fired at a digger? He bent down on one knee to take better aim. Did he fire a pistol? No. It was a musket. Thank you. You said you saw the trooper kneel and shoot? Yes. You originally said he was mounted. He got off his horse and he fired. While the digger was running away? Yes. If the trooper was chasing a digger, why would he dismount? So he could shoot him. Call Loftus Gray. Mr Gray. In what capacity do you appear today? I'm a newspaper correspondent in Ballarat. And were you at the meeting on 29th November, last? I was. At that meeting, did you hear Mr Hayes say anything about taking the law into his own hands? Definitely not. Did he use the word 'fight'? No. And were you on the goldfields the following day? I was. Are you aware of the digger hunt? Yes, I am... Your Honour, I object to the words 'digger hunt'. Mr Ireland? Did you see a search for licences, a search that's commonly called, on the goldfields, a 'digger hunt'? Yes, police had their bayonets fixed. Troopers had their swords drawn. Did you see Mr Hayes? I did. Was he carrying a gun of any sort? No. There are a great many witnesses that say Mr Hayes was carrying a shotgun at the meeting on the 29th. I never saw it. (Courtroom murmurs) Thank you. Mr Gray, you're a newspaper correspondent? Yes. Why did you go to the miners' meetings? To see what was happening. Did you take any notes? I did. Have you got them? I wasn't asked to bring them. Do you have them at your home or at your office? No, not anymore. So you don't have any notes about the meetings? No. From memory, then, were licences produced and burnt at this meeting? Oh, papers were burnt. Were these papers the same size as a goldmining licence? Yes, but I cannot swear they were licences. Was the prisoner the chairman at this meeting? He was. Did you see him kneel before a raised flag? I did. Was it the flag of this colony? No, it wasn't. NARRATOR: Ireland knew that Stawell would use the flag to try to condemn Hayes. And now he could set his trap. Mr Gray, can you describe the flag the learned Attorney-General is referring to? It was blue with a white cross. A white cross? Yes. I heard they were sown from ladies' undergarments. (Chuckling) Perhaps she's made herself new ones by now. (Laughter) Your Honour, may I ask the learned Attorney-General if such a flag is familiar to him. Your Honour, it's familiar because it has been described so often in this proceeding. Your Honour, was there not a similar flag that the learned Attorney-General gathered under three years ago? The circumstances have no relevance to this case, Your Honour. Your Honour, the relevance will become apparent if the learned gentleman to my left will tell the court if he was part of a group that gathered under a flag other than that of the colony, for the purpose of supporting the Anti-Transportation Union. Your Honour, I supported the abolition of criminals being transported to this colony. So, Your Honour, it would seem that the Attorney-General met under a flag other than that of the colony. Your Honour, meeting under a flag with positive intentions is not the same as taking up arms and having plans to take the law into your own hands. It has not been proven that my client held a weapon or made such claims. I'll show you a court record that has six witnesses saying otherwise. And I'll show you a court record that suggests that the 12th and 40th Regiments went to the Stockade of the morning of 3rd December with the intention of supporting Gold Commissioner Amos while he read the Riot Act. It's on the court record, because it is a fact. You know the truth to be otherwise! Order! Learned counsel will direct argument through the bench. And not to each other. Apologies, Your Honour. Your Honour, it is my intention to prove that the miners were fired upon during a digger hu... a licence check, which forced them to take up arms and build a stockade to protect themselves - a place where they could not be bashed or shot. But early on the morning of 3rd December, while they were still sleeping, they were surrounded and fired upon without warning. If it pleases the court, I would like to read from a document that came to hand last evening. You don't wish to add that material to evidence? I merely wish to read it, Your Honour. It's a copy of the legislative council message, number 30... Your Honour, I do object to the material being read. Your Honour, it's a copy of the Government Gazette. What date is it? 5th December, Your Honour. Well, the proceedings in question were terminated on 3rd December. The document, although printed on 5th December, reports on events that took place on the 3rd. You still may not read from it. Without reading it, gentlemen, I can tell you what, to the best of my recollection, it says. Your Honour... Early on the second day of December, information was received that the rebels were forming an entrenched camp. 'With backup forces from Melbourne, I determined to attack their camp at daylight the next morning. For this purpose, the troops have been ordered to assemble at 2:30 in the morning.' This gazetted memorandum was penned by none other than Governor Charles Hotham. Your Honour, the prisoner had taken up arms. Hundreds of them had taken up arms. Gentlemen, witnesses have told you that there were 40 shots fired from within the stockade, which is apparently what provoked the soldiers. But here is a copy of a letter written by the Governor of Victoria, outlining his plan to attack the miners at first light. He was reacting to the miners. He designed the attack, and made it real. You always knew it, Stawell. (Muttering) Order! I remind you gentlemen that it is no act of treason merely to fire upon the Queen's troops. These men erected a stockade, in case of another diggers hunt, a place where they would not be shot down like dogs. The learned Attorney-General hopes you will see treason where it is seen by no-one else. I trust that justice is safe with you. (Courtroom murmurs) The goldfields, gentlemen, were in a state of insurrection. The men armed themselves. When the troops advanced on the stockade, they resisted them with well-directed fire. If you accept that Hayes was present at those meetings, if he was present at the stockade, then the law is clear. Timothy Hayes is guilty of high treason. Gentlemen of the jury, from the evidence you have two things to find - not only that treason has been committed, but that the prisoner, Timothy Hayes, was connected with it. If you believe the prisoner has been connected to the acts proven, I think you should say treason has been committed, and by him. I will give an opinion, gentlemen. It is an opinion from which you may differ, but my opinion is not to convict the prisoner. (Gasping, murmuring) I discharge full responsibility to you, gentlemen. NARRATOR: Stawell must have been incredulous. He and Redmond Barry had been friends at university back in Ireland. They'd even travelled in Europe together. And here was Barry siding with anarchists. But Stawell had charged these men with treason. They were on trial for their lives. They were clearly guilty of something. But did their defiance justify their execution? In the case of Timothy Hayes against the Queen on the charge of treason we find the prisoner not guilty. (Uplifting music) NARRATOR: Stawell had lost. The remaining trials became a farce. All the Eureka rebels were acquitted. Governor Hotham was a broken man. He sent his resignation to London, but before his successor arrived he caught pneumonia and died on the last day of 1855. Shortly after, Timothy Hayes left his wife, Anastasia, and went adventuring in Europe. She returned to the goldfields, which had become home to her. The Attorney-General had been humiliated, but the system of law in which he believed so passionately had been vindicated. One year after the trials, men who earned more then ?100 a year voted in the colony's first parliament. Stawell was elected. So too were the defence lawyer Aspinall and the radicals from The Age newspaper, Blair and Syme. Richard Ireland was elected soon after, in 1857. And that first parliament adopted an extraordinary measure. They changed the rules so that in the next Victorian election every man, rich or poor, had the right to vote. Eureka had transformed the hearts and minds of the people. It had made them militant for democracy. Closed Captions by CSI . This Program is Captioned Live.

Good evening, Tony Jones with a

Lateline update. Prime Minister

Gillard has vowed that a deal to cut

'green tape' regulations hampering

big projects will not come at a cost

to the environment. The agreement

came at a meeting between Government

and key business leaders ahead of

tomorrow's COAG summit. Today,

governments have heard the voice of

Australian businesses. Anything

that harmonises and tries to

streamline things in what are

tortuous processes is a good thing

for us. But the clean energy

industry says it's now become the

target of a bitter political debate.

Industry leaders have told Lateline

they fear bipartisan support for

green energy is collapsing, after a

call from the New South Wales

government to scrap the national

renewable energy target. The

suspended Health Services Union boss

Michael Williamson has resigned from

another key position. Late today,

Unions New South Wales accepted his

resignation as vice president of the

organisation. He was expected to be

stripped of the job if he hadn't

quit. Mr Williamson is accused of

corruption but has denied any wrong

doing. And to discuss the challenges

facing the union movement we'll be

joined live by the new ACTU

secretary, Dave Oliver. That's

Lateline, at 10.30pm. NARRATOR: In May 1965, the first Australian troops bound for war in Vietnam left Sydney. They were headed to what would become the longest and most hated conflict in Australian history. (Gunshot) The Vietnam War not only tested Australia's soldiers, it stretched Australia's friendship with America to breaking point. We did it our own way. We didn't do it the American way. It's what they didn't tell us that became important. Because anywhere the Americans went, shit followed. Well, I just don't think Australia could have a better friend. It was cynical and, in the long-term, disastrous. And Australians will go all the way as Americans will go all the way. The Vietnam War was the first test of our alliance with America. It was our first war fought without Britain, our traditional ally. We hoped it would cement us to America, and cement America to Asia. But 10 years of fighting in the jungles of South Vietnam delivered a very different outcome. How this happened is a story of anguish and disillusionment, of misplaced trust and wishful thinking P in the name of which our politicians risked the lives of 50,000 young Australians. After World War Two, Australia watched with mounting alarm as European colonies withdrew from Asia.