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Gold Stories[ ALL STORIES ]
  License Tax Unpopular !
15 December 1851: Over 10,000 diggers responded to this notice pinned to trees across the Mt Alexander goldfield:

"FELLOW DIGGERS!
The intelligence has just arrived of the resolution of the Government to double the license fee. Will you tamely submit to the imposition or assert your rights as men? You are called upon to pay a tax originated and concocted by the most heartless selfishness, a tax imposed by Legislators for the purpose of detaining you in their workshops, in their stable yards,
and by their flocks and herds.

They have conferred to effect this; they would increase this seven-fold but they are afraid! Fie upon such pusillanimity! and shame upon the men, who save a few paltry pounds for their own pockets, would tax the poor man's hands!

It will be in vain for one or two individuals to tell the Commissioner, or his emissaries, that they have been unsuccessful and that they can't pay the license fee. But remember that union is strength, that though a single twig may be bent or broken, a bundle of them tied together yields not nor breaks.

Ye are Britons! Will you submit to oppression or injustice! Meet - agitate - be unanimous - and if there is injustice in the land, they will, they must, abolish the imposition.
Yours faithfully. A Digger.
"

The Argus reports on the meeting on 18 December 1851:

"I see before me some 10,000 or 12,000 men which any country in the world might be proud to own as her sons. The very cream of Victoria, and the sinews of her strength ... let it be seen this day whether you intend to be slaves or Britons, whether you will basely bow down your neck to the yoke, or whether like true men you will support your rights ... the 30 shillings charged by the government is an illegal taxation, and that His Excellency has no power to tax us ... because a few men think proper to say, you shall pay, that is no reason why a body of men such as I now address, should accede to such extortion."

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