A site that held one of colonial Victoria’s first mass protest rallies has been included in the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Monster Meeting Site – near Chewton at Golden Point – is historically significant as the location of the first organised mass protest meeting objecting to the gold licencing system in Colonial Victoria.
When Victoria separated from New South Wales in 1851, gold was discovered in the same week. In an attempt to slow the rush of workers to the gold fields Governor LaTrobe introduced a licence fee. Towards the end of that year he issued a proclamation to greatly increase the licence fee to three pounds.
Shortly after this, notices appeared urging diggers to meet and object to the proposed increase. The Monster Meeting of approximately 10 000 to 15 000 diggers took place on 15 December 1851at the Shepherd’s Hut, Forest Creek. Two days later the Government announced that it had revoked the increase in the licence fee.
The Monster Meeting is recognised as the first time workers had stood united in protest against the government. This meeting was the precursor to the Red Ribbon Rebellion (1853) and the Eureka Stockade (1854) which led to the introduction of the more democratic Miners Right.
More information on the decision to include this site in the Victorian Heritage Register can be found here.