Black man honored for Leadership in Australia Gold Rush

Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, recently recognized John Joseph, a Black man from the United States who moved to Australia, and later became an American gold miner and a leader of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion at Ballarat, Australia, during the Victorian gold rush. 

Other than extensive fields of California, the gold output from Victoria was more significant than in any other country in the world.

The Eureka Rebellion was a series of events involving gold miners who revolted against the British administration of the colony of Victoria. The miners wanted to vote and own land.

Joseph was the first of the leaders of the rebellion to be tried for high treason after shooting a British official. 

The authorities selected Joseph to be tried first because a jury would have no problem convicting a Black man. 

However, Joseph was quickly acquitted by an all-White jury and was carried out of the courthouse and paraded in triumph around the streets of Melbourne by 10,000 supporters.

Joseph died four years later and was buried at White Hills Cemetery in Bendigo, Australia.

In February 2023 Joseph was honored by Kennedy for his contribution to Australian history and for exemplifying the U.S. Government’s “commitment to racial equity and recognizing historical injustice.†Ambassador Kennedy unveiled a new flag and a summary of Joseph’s life.