Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Wigmaker of Richmond

I don't know how many times I have driven past this shop and never seen it! Then for some reason last weekend after I had just finished a lovely breakfast at Cheerio (323 Lennox Street - just up from Swan Street) as I walked out I was fascinated by the tatty venetians gracing the front door across the road!
Louis Barnett & Son & Son - I wonder how old the venetians are!
Wandering over to photograph them I was duly informed by my friend that this was THE place to come in the 60's for a wiglet for those extremely bouffed hairdo's that were in fashion in those days (this is dating me!) - she still has hers! Louis Barnett & Son & Son Pty Ltd (the second & Son is not a typo!) has been in the wig-making business since 1900! And some of the fittings looked like the originals. 
Wigs in the basin, wigs on the chair (1900?) here a wig, there a wig, everywhere a wig wig!
There was the odd head with a half-finished wig in the basin - and heads of hair were everywhere! It was rather surreal and I have to say a bit creepy!
Hair rugs for men or..
As the website states - they specialise in first class Natural European Hair-the Rolls Royce of Hair. 
They only use 'virgin' hair! (not previously coloured or permed)
There are ladies wigs and hairpieces, mens wigs and toupees, and theatrical wigs and hairpieces. They even provide 'movember moustaches' - and Santa wigs!
Ho ho ho
So take a wander past 312 Lennox Street and have a peek in the window - then cross the road and enjoy a Cheerio coffee.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Eureka Stockade - 3 December 1854

I'm a bit late - well just a day or three - but whose counting after a mere 159 years.
Eureka Stockade
The Eureka Stockade is a significant part of our history (along with bushranger Ned Kelly) and one in which most Aussies would have at least some knowledge. In the year of the rebellion there were around 25,000 diggers at the Ballarat goldfields. The policing was done by the Gold Commission and enforced by soldiers. And then along came Governor Hotham (you'll find a street names after him in nearby East Melbourne) who instigated twice-weekly licence checks to enforce licensing laws.  As you can imagine the diggers were outraged. (click the link here for the story) They were also concerned about 'official corruption'.

Although most would know about the Eureka Stockade I found the timeline is interesting:
A group of men (including the publican James Bentley) beat to death a drunken Scottish digger. Bentley was a friend of the local magistrate - and surprise, surprise he escaped prosecution. 
17 October - a group of diggers met to bring Bentley and the other 3 men to justice. After the meeting a crowd of diggers burnt Bentleys hotel to the ground.  Not suprisingly 3 of them were arrested and charged with arson
11 November - 10,000 diggers met to demand the release of the 3 diggers (now that's what I call crowd persuasion) and to demand the abolition of the licence and the vote for all males (females came later - see my post 11 September on the Suffragettes here). The Ballarat Reform Leage was formed at the meeting. 
29 November - the diggers publicly burnt their licenses. It was at this meeting that the famous Southern Cross flag, later known as the Eureka Flag, was displayed. Not surprisingly the Gold Commissioner ordered a licence hunt for the following day.  
The remains of the Eureka Flag (Ballarat Art Gallery )
30 November -  Under the leadership of Peter Lalor (more about this Richmondite later) there was another mass burning of licenses. The diggers then marched to the Eureka diggings and constructed the famous stockade. 
3 December - the authorities (with the assistance of the 12th and 40th Regiments supporting the police troopers) launched an attack on the stockade. The 500 diggers were outnumbered and the battle was over in twenty minutes. 22 diggers and 5 troops were killed. The Southern Cross flag was pulled from the flagpole and souvenired by the victors (a piece the size of a matchbox was returned just this week! - see here) Peter Lalor escaped the scene even though his arm had been badly injured (later requiring amputation).
6 December - martial law was declared.13 diggers were committed for trial
February 1855 all were acquitted. Peter Lalor avoided capture.
March 1855 the Gold Fields Commission handed down its report, and the government adopted all of its recommendations. The Commission resulted in all the demands of the diggers being met. 
In 1854 a bill was passed to extend the vote to diggers possessing a miner's right at a cost of one pound. The hated Gold Commission was replaced by a system of mining wardens.
In 1855 Peter Lalor later became the first MLC for the seat of Ballarat. The Ballarat miners were given eight representatives on the Legislative Council.

The one-armed Peter Lalor MLC
And so finally we come to the reason for this post! It's where Richmond comes into the picture! If you wander up Church Street (between Bridge Road and Swan Street) you will come across a rather foreboding home at number 293.  I was thrilled to see the rare sight of the Eureka flag flying proudly when I popped out to photograph it. 
293 Church Street - with the Eureka Flag flying
This is the former home of Peter Lalor (I've heard on the grape-vine that it's still owned by his descendants) - an activist turned politician who rose to fame for his leading role in the Eureka Rebellion, an event often identified with the "birth of democracy" in Australia. He died in Richmond on 9 February 1889. 

Bowen Cottage client comment: We're here in your beautiful cottage (a lot smaller than 293!)