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The Buckland riot was an anti-Chinese race riot that occurred on 4 July 1857, in the goldfields of the Buckland Valley, Victoria, Australia, near present-day Porepunkah. At the time approximately 2000 Chinese and 700 European migrants were living in the Buckland area.[1]


Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread during the Victorian gold rush.[2][3][4][5][6] This resentment manifested on 4 July 1857 when around 100 European rioters attacked Chinese settlements. The rioters had just left a public meeting at the Buckland Hotel where the riot ringleaders decided they would attempt to expel all the Chinese in the Buckland Valley. Contemporaneous newspaper reports claim that the riot was "led by Americans 'inflamed by liquor'".[7][8][9]

During the riot Chinese miners were beaten and robbed then driven across the Buckland River. At least three Chinese miners died reportedly of ill-health and entire encampments and a recently constructed Joss house were destroyed.[1]

Police arrested thirteen European accused rioters, however the empaneled juries acquitted all of major offences "amid the cheers of bystanders".[1][10] The verdicts of the juries were later criticized in the press.[11]

One of the police involved in the arrests was Robert O'Hara Burke, later of the infamous Burke and Wills expedition.[1]


The Chinese miners were invited to return to the Buckland Valley, however only fifty did so.[1]

The Buckland Riot has been compared to the Eureka Stockade uprising in size and intensity, but is not remembered such.[12]

A commemorative monument was unveiled in July 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of the riot.[13][12]

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  1. ^ a b c d e Myra Willard (1967). History of the White Australia policy to 1920. Routledge. pp. 24–26. ISBN 978-0-7146-1036-8. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  2. ^ Rosemary Van den Berg (2002). Nyoongar people of Australia: perspectives on racism and multiculturalism. Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-90-04-12478-3. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  3. ^ James Jupp (2002). The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, its People and their Origins. Cambridge University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-521-80789-0. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  4. ^ Kevin Baker (2006). Mutiny, Terrorism, Riots and Murder: A History of Sedition in Australia and New Zealand. Rosenberg. pp. 150–151. ISBN 978-1-877058-49-3. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  5. ^ "RIOT AT THE BUCKLAND". The Argus. Melbourne. 9 July 1857. p. 6. Retrieved 8 September 2011 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "CHINESE IMMIGRATION". The Argus. Melbourne. 15 January 1857. p. 4. Retrieved 8 September 2011 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Elizabeth Morrison (2005). Engines of influence: newspapers of country Victoria, 1840-1890. Melbourne University Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-522-85155-7. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  8. ^ The Irish metropolitan magazine. Dublin: W. Robertson. 1858. p. 635. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  9. ^ George Fetherling (1997). The gold crusades: a social history of gold rushes, 1849-1929. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8020-8046-2. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  10. ^ "TRIAL OF THE BUCKLAND RIOTERS". The Argus. Melbourne. 12 August 1857. p. 6. Retrieved 8 September 2011 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "POLICE". The Argus. Melbourne. 18 August 1857. p. 6. Retrieved 8 September 2011 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ a b "Buckland Riots". Monument Australia. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Activities: Buckland memorial". Chinese Australian Family Historians of Victoria. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)