Independence Day on the Goldfields, 1859


While it would not be true to say that the American Day of Independence was a huge celebration on the Ovens goldfield, it would be true to say that most mining settlements had one hotel willing to cash in on the celebration.  At Chiltern it was Butler's Eagle Hotel, and George Griffith was the band leader for the Grand Ball and Supper laid on. 

Monday, 4th July, 1859.


HAS much pleasure in announcing to the  inhabitants of New Ballarat [ie, Chiltern] and its vicinity, that he intends giving a GRAND BALL and SUPPER, at the above mentioned  place on the 4th of July, to commemorate the American Declaration of Independence. He hopes that the liberal patronage which he has hitherto enjoyed will be extended to him on this occasion, and nothing shall be wanting on his part to ensure those who attend of a good evening's amusement.

A Good Band engaged.


Open at half-past 7; Dancing to commence at 8 o'clock.

Ticket to admit a Lady and Gentleman, 10s.6d.

Advertising. (1859, July 4). Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1857 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from

(From our own Correspondent.)


Somewhat of the genuine old Indigo spirit was seen on the New Ballarat Lead, on Monday last. Uncle Sam's son's are not so numerous here as they are on some of the older gold-fields, which may account for the absence of any great public display on the fourth of July; but the few among us had the usual amount of jollification ; and Mr Butler, of the Eagle Hotel, had a grand ball and supper to commemorate the Declaration of American Independence.

This entertainment was well attended, and passed of with considerable eclat. A ball at New Ballarat cannot be compared with one of your Beechworth assemblies. We cannot muster the same amount of satin, and swallow-tails, and therefore may be said to be behind you; but, on the other hand, we are still happily ignorant of the class known as your Beechworth  aristocracy—the class who think the best way of shewing their elevation is to look down on all who may earn their bread by their labour, more especially if the unfortunate individual happens to be one of the softer sex. Here, with all the faults and blemishes of our society, there is a sort of glorious, independent, "Jack's as good as his master" sort of a style of living, which fails to recognise the man or woman who may have the command of money as anything more than what they prove themselves and nothing gives us more amusement than to hear of some exhibitions which your parvenus make of themselves. But I was talking of the ball at Mr. Butler's, which was a success in every sense of the word. The supper, which was under, the superintendence of Mr. Butler; the dancing conducted by Mr Stanley, who officiated as M.C.; and the music under the superintendence of Mr. Griffiths, were all equally deserving of praise, and reflected great credit on all concerned. Dancing was kept up till late in the morning, and the company dispersed highly gratified with themselves and with everybody else.

INDIGO. (1859, July 8). Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1857 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved October 9, 2013, from