Red Ribbon Rebellion Re-enactment

Re-enactment of Bendigo’s Red Ribbon Rebellion: Tuesday 27 August, 11:00am from the Bendigo Art Gallery forecourt.

This re-enactment celebrates and remembers what was a critical turning point in Bendigo’s colourful gold rush history, contributing towards making Bendigo the thriving city that it is today.

Held in 1853, this peaceful protest was directed against the payment of what the diggers called a tax – a licence fee for the right to search for gold on Crown Land. The diggers had to pay the licence regardless of whether they found gold or not and were treated harshly by police who used the licences to intimidate the miners.

As a result, diggers took to wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their protest and many thousands of them signed a petition to Joseph La Trobe, the then Governor of Victoria, asking that the fee be reduced to 10 shillings a month. The Governor rejected the petition in early August, which led to thousands of diggers deciding to hold a peaceful protest on 27 August 1853.

The crowd surrounded Camp Hill, and a delegation met with Commissioners Wright and Panton on Camp Hill (in Rosalind Park) to offer them 10 shillings for the September licence. The commissioners rejected the offer, but no licences were collected in September and this marked the end of the licence fee on the goldfields. 

The Red Ribbon Rebellion is a shining example of how democracy can work effectively and result in the will of the majority being heard without the need for violence. 

The Red Ribbon Rebellion Re-enactment is proudly presented by the Bendigo Historical Society.

Come and participate in the re-enactment

  • When: Tuesday 27 August 2019, 11:00am
  • Where: Bendigo Art Gallery forecourt in View Street
  • Dress: Don't forget to attach a red ribbon to your outfit.
  • Food: A free sausage sizzle will be held at the end of the re-enactment for all participants

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